Driving Too Slow

While most speeding tickets are for going too fast, it is possible to be ticketed in New York for going too slow. When we think of slow drivers, most of us probably imagine senior citizens, student drivers, or out-of-towners trying to figure out where they are or where to turn. Other slow drivers can include those spending too much time on their phone (texting or talking) or who are overcompensating for drug or alcohol impairment.

Driving too slow falls under Article 30 section 1181. There are two subsections for this violation. The first is VTL 1181(a) Driving too slow (impeding traffic). This applies on most roads and is issued when the driver’s speed is disrupting the flow of traffic. The second is VTL 1181(b) Driving below minimum posted speed limit. As the name implies, this applies only on roads that have a posted minimum speed, such as on a highway.

While such tickets are rarely issued, it is important for drivers to be aware of them and their consequences.

What Does the Statute Say?

  • 1181. Minimum speed regulations. (a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b) Whenever a minimum speed limit has been established as authorized in sections sixteen hundred twenty or sixteen hundred forty-two, no person shall drive at a speed less than such minimum speed limit except when entering upon or preparing to exit from the highway upon which such a minimum speed limit has been established, when preparing to stop, or when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

Why Do Police Issue Tickets for Driving Slow?

It may seem counterintuitive to discourage driving slow, but there is sound rationale behind it. Roads are the safest when the majority of drivers are going approximately the same speed. A car moving much slower than the speed of traffic can be at best a nuisance, at worst an accident waiting to happen. VTL 1181(a) emphasizes the former. It’s intended as a deterrent to drivers who are blocking a lane and causing unnecessary congestion.

On major highways, a posted speed minimum serves as a safety precaution. For example, a driver going 35mph on a road where most drivers shoot along at 65mph (or more) is a serious danger. In this case, the slow driver could force others to have to brake hard as they approach from behind, which could lead to an accident.

Police can also use slow driving as probable to cause to investigate impaired driving.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Too Slow?

Unlike speeding, a ticket for going too slow does not vary based on speed. However, that does not mean that the ticket will be cheap. Both VTL 1181(a) and 1181(b) incur a fine of up to $150, plus a mandatory NYS surcharge of $88-$93. Each is also a three-point offense. The base fine goes up to $300 for a second offense in 18 months and $450 for a third offense 18 months. A conviction for going too slow can also impact your auto insurance just like many other kinds of traffic tickets.

What Should You Do If You Are Ticketed for Driving Too Slow?

If you or a loved one has been ticketed for driving too slow or for any other kind speed-related ticket in New York, it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney. Only by fighting the ticket can you avoid steep fines, points or other penalties. Contact the attorneys at Rosenblum Law for a free consultation: 888-434-0406.