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When a Speeding Ticket Becomes a Civil Lawsuit

Accidents can happen, although we always hope they don’t. Plenty of traffic accidents are relatively minor with few or no injuries, but in our litigious society, even seemingly minor mishaps can lead to multi-million dollar lawsuits. As such, if you have been issued a speeding ticket in connection with an accident it is very important that you do not plead guilty.

Once a guilty plea has been entered into the court system, that admission can be used against you in a civil lawsuit. That’s why other states such as California and Connecticut have the option of pleading nolo contendere, i.e. no contest. In essence, a plea of nolo contendere means you know you can’t prove your innocence, so you accept the consequences of the charges but do not admit guilt. As a result, the plea and the charges cannot be used as evidence in a civil suit since you never found guilty or admitted to committing the crime.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow defendants to plead no contest; you can either accept the charges or fight them in traffic court. It should be noted that being found guilty does not carry quite the same weight in civil court as pleading guilty. However, either one indicates a level of civil liability. If the odds of getting found not-guilty of one or more charges seem slim, the next best bet would be to hire an attorney to help negotiate the charges down to a non-moving violation. In addition to having less of an impact your auto insurance, a non-moving conviction can’t be used in an accident-related civil suit.

Drivers should also be cautious about verbally admitting to traffic violations, especially at the scene of an accident. Off-the-cuff statements such as “I was only going 5mph over the limit” or “I didn’t see her in my mirror” can be used against you in civil court (as well as in traffic court).

It is essential that you contact an attorney if you or someone you love has been given a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation in connection with an accident. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys with extensive experience fighting moving violations and negotiating with prosecutors. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

 

 

How to Avoid a Speeding Double Whammy

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

While the vast majority of New York roads have posted speed limits, the state also has an official maximum limit of 55 mph. Violating the 55-mph limit on a highway (or anywhere else) is actually classified as its own violation. Technically, this means that drivers who exceed 55 mph in New York have committed two violations – speeding and speeding above 55 mph. In that case, could a driver get two tickets?

It’s not common, but it can and does happen. On very rare occasions an officer will issue someone a ticket under VTL 1180-d (your default speeding ticket) and 1180-b (exceeding state limit). The good news is that if you do get two tickets for the same offense, there is a high chance you’ll be able to fight the charges.

Any time you receive two tickets for what is essentially a single violation, that is considered double jeopardy. Federal law makes it illegal for a person to be charged twice for the same crime or violation, and an attorney can help you submit a motion to dismiss the charges. The judge then has the discretion to dismiss either one or both of the tickets.

A ticket for either VTL 1180-d or 1180-b costs at least $150, plus up to $93 in court fees, and carries a minimum of three points on your license. A conviction can also wreak havoc on your auto insurance premiums. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for speeding, exceeding the state limit, imprudent speed, or any other traffic violation in New York, contact a lawyer right away to fight the charges. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for all types of speeding and other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Study: Driving Commutes Are Faster on Streets with Protected Bike Lanes

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

New York City drivers have always been reluctant to share space with bicyclists. For years, they worried that surrendering precious road space would lead to increased congestion and longer commutes. Well, worry no longer: A new study of the traffic patterns over the last seven years found the exact opposite to be true.

The NYC Department of Transportation unveiled a report that showed commute times for the 30 miles of roads that have protected bike lanes. On average, travel time has fallen by as much as 35 percent during rush hour, despite having one or sometimes two lanes taken from cars. For example, on Columbus Ave, it took cars an average of 4.38 minutes to travel from West 96 Street to West 77 Street between 7:00 am and 10:00 am before the new bike lanes were installed. Afterwards, the average travel time shrunk to just three minutes.

According to an analysis by Fast Company,  the designated left-turning lanes are a big part of the reason for the improved speeds. Designed as a safety feature for cyclists, the lanes prevent cars from blocking an entire travel lane as they wait to turn.

Faster travel times is not an excuse for speeding on NYC streets. Tickets for speeding start at $150 and increase depending on how far over the posted limit you were going. Each ticket also includes up to $93 in court fees and at least three points on your license. A conviction will likely increase your insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars as well. If you or a loved one has been caught speeding, it is imperative that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the consequences associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

5 Possible Signs You Need New Tires

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Tire failure causes around 11,000 car crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of these can be avoided by occasionally checking your tires for signs of wear. In recognition of Vehicle Safety Week (May 22 through May 29), here are some things to look for that could mean it’s time for a tire change.

  1. Bulges. Tires bulge at the sides when they are low on air. The NHTSA estimates that tires lose about one pound-per-square-inch of pressure each month. A bulge or blister can also occur when the sidewall is weakened, which could lead to a sudden blowout.
  2. Cracks in the sidewall. Most tires that have been driven on for any length of time will have small, subtle cracks on the side. These are generally not noticeable unless you are right up on them. However, if the cracks are large and obvious from a distance, it could indicate a slow leak or a potential blowout.
  3. Constant pressure loss. Even if you don’t see cracks or bulges, you may notice that your tires seem to lose pressure frequently. It’s normal to lose about 2 psi per month. If you find your tires are leaking air more often than that, you may have a puncture or crack somewhere you can’t see.
  4. Tread wear. There’s an old-fashioned way of testing for tread wear that still works today: Place a penny into the tread, with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can still see the top of Abe’s head, the tread is too low. Many modern tires also have wear bars — bits of rubber woven into the pattern at a specific depth. If you can see that bar, the tread is worn out.
  5. Vibration. Drivers should be mindful of any kind of vibration or thumping when the car is in motion. This could be a sign that the tires are out of balance, especially if the thumping feels like it’s coming from underneath your seat.

Worn out tires can be a serious safety hazard. In addition to the potential for sudden blowouts, worn tires have less grip on the road, making it harder to stop on time. This is especially dangerous when driving in the rain or snow.

Moreover, driving on worn out tires could lead to a ticket. A ticket for unsafe tires (VTL 375-35-c) applies to any vehicle with tires that are not properly inflated or which have dangerously worn treads. A conviction can cost up $150 plus up to $63 in court fees. However, no points are assigned to this ticket. Even better, the law allows the ticket to be dismissed if the driver can provide proof that it was repaired within the first full business day after the ticket is issued.

It is essential that you contact an attorney if you or someone you love has been ticketed for speeding in New York. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

The Obscure Speeding Ticket You Didn’t Know About

Failing to slow down as you approach a railroad crossing can get you a special kind of speeding ticket above and beyond a citation for going above the limit. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Most drivers realize there are a handful of different kinds of speeding tickets. There’s your basic speeding ticket (1180-d), speeding in a school zone (1180-c), and speeding in a work zone (1180-f). There’s another type of speeding ticket, however, that very few drivers know about — at least until they get a citation for it.

VTL 1180-e, also known as failure to reduce speed (special hazards), is a largely obscure but still occasionally issued ticket. In 2014 (the most recent data available) about 900 tickets for 1180-e were issued, representing well under 1 percent of all speeding tickets. Still, the wide variety of instances where this ticket applies makes it worth knowing about.

An 1180-e ticket can be issued during situations when drivers are expected to slow down momentarily, such as when approaching train tracks, on tight and winding roads, or near the crest of a hill. Another instance would be when approaching an intersection with pedestrians in it (regardless of right of way). The statute also contains restrictions that are redundant to other traffic laws. This includes approaching and passing emergency vehicles (similar to the Move Over law), driving within construction zones (similar to 1180-f), or traveling in hazardous weather conditions (similar to 1180-a/imprudent speed).

The statute actually predates many of the traffic laws (such as speeding in a work zone or the Move Over law) that it shares conditions with, which partially explains why the ticket is so infrequently issued. Officers tend to issue the newer, more specific violations, and use 1180-e when no other statute applies.

Unlike many other types of speeding tickets, the fines and points for a VTL 1180-e offense do not increase relative to your speed. A ticket costs $150 plus up to $93 in court fees, and also imposes three points on your license. If you or a loved one has been issued a ticket for VTL 1180-e or any other speeding-related violation, it is urgent that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Cross Bronx Named Most Congested Roadway in U.S.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Traffic Courtesy of Robert Moses.

If going slow is your thing, you might want to spend more time on the Cross Bronx Expressway. A national traffic study released in February confirmed what many New Yorkers have always known: the Cross Bronx has the worst bottlenecks in the country. In particular, the interchange of Bronx River Parkway was ranked the most congested in the U.S., with interchanges at Sheridan Expressway and White Plains Road coming in as third and fourth worst. In total, commuters wasted about 86 hours a year on the Cross Bronx.

Also in the top 10 were the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 120th Street and 40th Street as well as the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel on NJ-495, from the I-95 junction to 12th Avenue. Overall, New York City earned the honor of being the second-most congested municipality in the country; only Los Angeles had worse traffic.

So why is the Cross Bronx so bad? According to the study, the highway has an inordinate amount of trucks, and drivers have few alternative routes. Lack of shoulder areas for broken-down cars, hills that create blind spots, and narrow lanes were also major factors.

The Cross-Bronx Expressway was an engineering nightmare. Its six lanes had to weave over, under, and around a ton of existing infrastructure, including

  • railways
  • sewer pipes
  • utility lines
  • 113 roads
  • a subway line
  • seven other highways

The construction of the expressway was so difficult that it was easier to move the Bronx River 500 feet to accommodate it. A one-mile stretch through East Tremont required the relocation of more than 1,500 families. In total, approximately 50 apartment buildings were demolished and 5,000 families displaced to build the highway.

Getting stuck in traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway is bad enough; getting a traffic ticket while driving on it just adds insult to injury. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for a traffic violation on the Cross Bronx or anywhere else in New York, contact an attorney for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

NYC Traffic Cams Dole Out 1.4 Million Tickets for School Zone Speeding

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lead-footed New Yorkers, be warned: the streets have eyes. New York City is home to about 140 speed cameras in school zones, each of which doled out an average of 10,000 tickets in 2016, according to a report by the New York Post. That’s a 36 percent increase from the 1 million total tickets issued in 2015.

Turns out, however, that those cameras are slacking off. In 2014, the city had only 20 speed cameras, each of which issued 22,000 tickets on average, for a total of 445,000.

The robots won’t be beating out the real police any time soon. Living, breathing cops handed out 137,260 speeding tickets last year, NYPD records show. That’s a 65 percent increase over the 83,202 tickets written in 2013. In total, officers wrote 1,042,703 total tickets for various moving violations, including disobeying traffic signs, seat belt violations, and distracted driving.

In keeping with the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities, in 2016 police also doled out 42,385 tickets for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians — a 185 percent increase over 2013 (the year before the program began). The city also saw the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded last year, with 229 total deaths. Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths ticked up from 139 in 2015 to 144 last and cyclist deaths increased from 14 to 18 over the same period.

A ticket for speeding in a school zone during school hours can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200. It also carries at least three points on your license. Even worse, a conviction for speeding in a school zone can wreak havoc with your auto insurance premiums. If you or a loved one has been ticketed for speeding in a school zone, it is urgent that you consult an attorney to help you avoid the costs associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Which Towns Collect the Most Traffic Ticket Revenue?

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Much to drivers’ chagrin, traffic tickets are big money for towns and villages throughout New York, with the average police officer issuing about $300,000 worth of speeding tickets each year. A recent report from The Buffalo News looked at which villages and towns collected the most revenue from traffic tickets in 2015.

Out of New York State’s more than 1,200 town and village courts, the Town of Wallkill in Orange County ranked Number 1, with more than $3.6 million in revenue. It may seem surprising given the town’s sparse population of just 28,000 residents, but the reason Wallkill rakes in so much money is simple: I-84 runs right through it.

In fact, nearly all of the villages and towns in the top 20 have major thruways that provide a steady stream of revenue from drivers. For example, Southampton and East Hampton, which take the second and third spot for ticket revenue, are both situated around NY Rte-24 (Montauk Highway). The Town of Harrison, fifth on the list, is striped with stretches of I-95, I-287, and the Hutchinson River Parkway.

Below is a list of the Top 20 revenue-generating village and town courts, as compiled by The Buffalo News:

Town of Wallkill $3.62 million
Town of Southampton $3.20 million
Town of East Hampton $3.10 million
Town of Amherst $3.05 million
Town of Harrison $2.82 million
Village of Port Chester  $2.81 million
Village of Hempstead $2.65 million
Town of Greenburgh  $2.57 million
Town of Colonie  $2.48 million
Village of Freeport $2.40 million
Village of Lynbrook $2.24 million
Town of Tonawanda $2.14 million
Town of Cheektowaga $2.06 million
Village of Valley Stream $2.01 million
Town of Clarkstown $1.85 million
Village of Mineola $1.78 million
Town of Newburgh $1.75 million
Town of Poughkeepsie $1.75 million
Town of Ulster $1.67 million
Village of Garden City $1.66 million

A speeding ticket in New York costs at least $150, plus up to $93 in court fees, and incurs three points on your license. A conviction for speeding can also increase your auto insurance rates substantially. If you or a loved one has been given a speeding ticket in New York, contact an attorney right away. Hiring an attorney can only help you avoid the most serious consequences of a ticket, but it can also save you a trip to the courthouse.  The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who can help you avoid the costs associated with a ticket speeding and other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

8 Things You Can Do to Reduce Traffic Congestion

traffic-jam-688566_960_720Traffic jams are the worst! Nearly every driver feels there’s nothing he or she can do to avoid them and in most cases, that’s true. However, there are things that every driver can do to avoid contributing to congestion on the roads.

  1. Lay off the brakes. Hitting your brakes too frequently forces the drivers behind you to slow down as well. Each time this happens it creates a ripple effect that, in some cases, can last for miles. This is especially relevant on a typical highway with everyday congestion, where traffic can easily snarl, but it also comes into play in stop-and-go traffic. Instead of constantly braking, find a moderate speed that reduces the need to brake, but also doesn’t run the risk of hitting the car in front of you.
  2. Watch the lead foot. The counterpart to easing up on the brakes is to avoid speeding up too much every time there’s a brief break in congestion. This wastes gas (yours and other drivers’) and in heavy traffic, you’re not getting anywhere faster than anyone else.
  3. Give yourself space. Tailgating won’t get you to your destination any faster, either. The rule of thumb is to maintain one car length for every 10 mph. This allows for adequate time to react to traffic ahead and avoid slamming on the brakes or worse, crashing. After all, a car accident is one surefire way to ensure traffic gets worse.
  4. Mind your own beeswax. Rubbernecking is one of the most common causes of traffic jams. New York law requires vehicles to slow down in work zones and to move over for emergency vehicles, both of which will inevitably create some delays. Slowing down too much in order to gawk and stare will only exacerbate the situation.
  5. Put away distractions. It is both illegal and dangerous for drivers to text, make phone calls, or even put on makeup while driving (not to mention play smartphone apps and take selfies). If you need another reason not to do these things, though, know that they also are also major contributors to congestion on the road.
  6. Use the appropriate lane. Ever make it through a traffic jam without any sign of what caused it? Many such slowdowns are caused by inappropriate lane use. For example, if you don’t plan to exit the freeway any time soon, get out of the merge lane and into the thru lane(s). On the flipside, get out of the left-most lane if you can’t or won’t keep up with the other cars. Plus, many states are cracking down on cars camping in the left lane, so you also risk a ticket by staying in the left lane without passing.
  7. Change lanes strategically. Once you’re in the appropriate lane, stay there. A lane change can force the cars behind you in your current lane and the lane you’re entering to slow down, so don’t do it unless you need to. If you plan to exit, make sure to give yourself enough time to avoid sudden lane shifts, which could potentially cause an accident.
  8. Zip it up. Traffic engineers recommend what’s known as the “zipper method” for merging lanes. To employ this method, the driver in the merging lane should continue to the end of the lane at the same speed as the second lane. Drivers in the second lane should alternate, allowing one car in and then advancing. Unfortunately, many drivers race to the end of the merging lane or merge prematurely, both of which are inefficient and increase congestion.

If you or someone you love has been ticketed or arrested for a moving violation in New York, you need a skilled attorney to help fight the charges. The lawyers at the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

Know Your Speeding Tickets

A speeding ticket may seem like a pretty cut-and-dried thing — you go too fast, you get a ticket, and that’s all there is to it. In reality, though, there are lot of different types of speeding tickets. Each applies in different situations and can carry different fines and points. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of speeding tickets you can get in New York.

1180-a: Speed Not Reasonable Prudent. This ticket applies when road conditions require drivers to slow down below the posted limit. Such conditions might include thick fog, heavy rain, or icy roads, and it is ultimately up to the officer to determine what conditions require slowing down and what speed is prudent. Cost: $150. Points: 3.

1180-b: Speed Over State Limit. New York State has established 55mph as the maximum speed that drivers can go on any road in the state, although many roads have lower limits. If you are speeding on a highway, this is the ticket you will probably get. Cost: $150 to $600 depending on speed. Points: 3 to 11 depending on speed.

1180-c: Speed in a School Zone. As the name implies, this a specific ticket for violating the 25mph limit around schools. Fines for this offense are more expensive when school is in session. Cost: $150 to $600 on non-school days or between 7pm and 6am on school days; $300 to $1,500 between 6am and 7pm on school days. Points: 3 to 11 depending on speed (regardless of day/time).

1180-d: Speed in Zone. This is your catch-all speeding ticket. Most speeding tickets issued in New York are 1180-d. Cost: $150 to $600 depending on speed. Points: 3 to 11 depending on speed.

1180-e: Failure to reduce speed (special hazards). A rarely issued ticket, this citation applies to drivers who do not reduce their speed when approaching things like railway crossings, the crest of a hill, or narrow turns. The statute also contains provisions redundant to other tickets, such as slowing down for emergency vehicles (similar to the Move Over law), when approaching construction zones (similar to 1180-f), or in hazardous weather conditions (similar to 1180-a). Cost: $150. Points: 3.

1180-f: Speed in Construction Zone. Nothing difficult here. Note that getting convicted of this violation twice in 18 months will result in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges. Cost: $150 to $600 depending on speed. Points: 3 to 11 depending on speed.

1181-a: Driving too slow (impeding traffic). This is an inverted speeding ticket – it applies if you are driving so slowly that you are holding up traffic. There’s no specific guidance as to how far below the posted limit constitutes too slow; it depends on whether the officer considers your speed to be a disruption or a hazard. Cost: $150. Points: 3.

1181-b: Driving below posted minimum speed. This is also a ticket for going too slow, and applies on highways that have posted minimum speeds. As with 1181-a, there’s no details on how far below the minimum is too slow, so it up to the officer to decide. Cost: $150. Points: 3.

1182-1: Unauthorized speed contest. This is a ticket for racing. There’s no points for this ticket because it is always accompanied by a speeding ticket (and possibly a reckless driving charge as well). Cost: $575. Points: None.

On top of the listed fines and points, a conviction for any of the above tickets can impact your auto insurance rates. In addition, three convictions for speeding within 18 months (or two convictions for speeding in a work zone) will automatically result in a suspended license. If you or a loved one has been issued any kind of speeding ticket in New York, contact a lawyer right away to fight the charges and avoid the points associated with a ticket. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled New York traffic ticket attorneys who are experienced in handling tickets for all types of speeding and other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

 




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