An unsafe lane change is one of the most common causes of car accidents. When a driver changes from one marked lane to another unsafely, the driver could collide with another vehicle or cause another driver to crash. When a driver changes lanes without looking while speeding or in any other unsafe way, a police officer may ticket him or her.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Attorney
Whether you’re facing a traffic ticket for an unsafe lane change or any other traffic violation, The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers are here to help. We will handle your ticket from start to finish, investigate your case, and develop the best defense strategy. Our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully getting traffic tickets dismissed. Contact The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your legal options.
VTL 1128(a) – Unsafe Lane Changes
One of the most common types of traffic violations is a violation for making an unsafe lane change. A driver can violate New York traffic law regarding unsafe lane changes in multiple ways. According to NY VTL 1128(a), drivers must remain in one lane. Changing from that lane isn’t permitted unless the driver ascertains that changing lanes can be completed safely. A driver shouldn’t move out of lane unless he or she can do so in a reasonably safe manner.
VTL 1128(b) requires drivers to pass other vehicles and make a left-hand turn from the center lane only when they can do so safely. Finally, VTL 1128 (c) & (d) requires drivers to carefully obey traffic signs and hazardous road markings. In these conditions, drivers should not change lanes while crossing the special lane markings.
The Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act
The Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act, also called the “Move Over Act,” expanded the requirement for drivers to use care when making lane changes. The Move Over Act requires New York drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency, construction, or other safety vehicle, that is:
- Standing on the shoulder of a road or highway with emergency lights activated
Additionally, the law requires drivers to change lanes on a multi-lane highway to create a safe distance for safety vehicles that are passing them. Violating the Move Over Law will result in a traffic ticket that is a three-point violation. In light of New York’s unsafe lane change law and the Move Over law, drivers should use caution before and during lane changes to avoid getting a ticket.
Penalties for Unsafe Lane Changes
Pleading guilty or being convicted of making an unsafe lane change will result in a fine of up to $150 for the first offense. For the second offense, within 18 months, the fine increases to $300. The fine increases to $450 for a third offense within 18 months. Drivers will also receive three points on their license. When a driver already has points on his or her license, the license can be suspended.
Drivers must pay an additional surcharge of $88 or $93 in addition to the fine. When drivers have six or more driver’s license points within 18 months, they may be required to pay an additional fee called the driver responsibility assessment fee, which costs $300. For every point over six, the driver must pay an additional $75. Traffic ticket convictions can also increase your insurance premium.
When Is a Lane Change Unsafe or Considered Out of Lane?
New York’s unsafe lane change laws may seem straightforward, but they aren’t always enforced fairly by police officers. There is an element of subjectivity regarding what constitutes a safe lane change. For example, a police officer witnessing a driver who moves out of lane may assume that the driver couldn’t ascertain whether he or she could change lanes reasonably safely.
On the other hand, the driver may have checked his or her blind spot carefully and determined the lane change was reasonably safe. The subjective nature of unsafe lane change laws can benefit drivers as they can dispute the police officer’s observations that the lane change was unsafe.
Defenses Against An Unsafe Lane Change Ticket
If you’ve received a ticket for making an unsafe lane change, you should first reach out to a traffic ticket attorney. An attorney may be able to challenge the ticket, resulting in a dismissal of the charges or a reduction in the type of charge. In some cases, an attorney can successfully negotiate eliminating points on your license.
The best legal strategy depends on the facts in your case. One strategy is to provide empirical evidence that you did all you could to move over to another lane safely. You can provide testimony that you checked your mirrors, properly signaled, and moved over slowly. There might be dash cam footage proving that you took steps to make a safe lane change if you had one in use at the time of the traffic stop.
Another option would be to negotiate with a prosecutor for a reduction to a lower point or no point traffic violation. An attorney may convince the prosecutor to give you a parking ticket. At The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers, our attorneys regularly work with prosecutors handling traffic cases. We know how to negotiate the best outcome for a client effectively.
Consult With an Unsafe Lane Change Attorney in New York
If you’ve received a traffic ticket for an unsafe lane change, or any other moving violation, it’s important that you understand how to protect your rights. Many drivers aren’t aware that they can challenge the ticket. Working with an attorney to have your ticket dismissed can help you avoid fines, surcharges, points on your driver’s license, and an increased insurance premium. Reach out to The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers today to schedule a free case evaluation.