New York

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

DUI/DWI
BAC defined as illegal per se 0.08
Administrative license suspension 1st offense? variable1
Restore driving privileges during suspension? yes2
RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban all drivers
Young drivers all cellphone ban no
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 65
Urban interstates (mph) 65
Other limited access roads (mph) 65
Other roads (mph) 55
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 163
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 50 hours, 15 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 16, 6 months3
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions prohibited at all times in NYC (five boroughs); all times in Nassau and Suffolk Counties except for limited (5 a.m.-9 p.m.) travel to work, school and driver’s education, proof required; otherwise 9 p.m.-5 a.m.
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
no more than 1 passenger younger than 213
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 17 (18 without driver education)3
Passenger restrictions 17 (18 without driver education)3
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 8 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal none
Other provisions none
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 3 and younger unless they weigh more than 40 pounds and are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt; 4 through 7 years unless they are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt
Adult safety belt permissible 8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds or children 4 through 7 years in a seating position where there is no available lap/shoulder belt
Maximum fine 1st offense $1004
Seating preference law states no preference for rear seat
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 12/01/84
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 12/01/84
Who is covered? In what seats? 16+ years in front seat
Maximum fine 1st offense $505
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? yes
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered all riders
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law 1–13 (riding with children younger than 1 prohibited)
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes
Gaps in coverage inapplicable to trips of 5 miles or less; inapplicable to trips of more than 5 miles if one-third or less of the passengers are standing or if suitable seats are securely attached and there are side rails and a tailgate; inapplicable to trips of more than 5 miles if there are less than 5 persons 17 or younger in the cargo area or if at least one person 18 or older is in the cargo area
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? cities of at least 1 million people, up to 150 intersections in each city; Effective 5/28/09: counties of Nassau and Suffolk, the cities of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, by local ordinance, up to 50 intersections; Yonkers, by local ordinance, up to 25 intersections
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? owner
Who is liable? owner
What image is taken? 2 or more images of rear of vehicle and tag in any medium
Traditional enforcement penalty $100 maximum fine/3 points
Auto enforcement penalties/record $50 fine; not a record or conviction offense; may not be used by insurers
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: SPEED CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? New York City school zones
Violations speed
Citations issued to whom? owner
Who is liable? owner
What image is taken? images that do not identify driver, passengers or vehicle contents
Traditional enforcement penalty school zone violations of less than 10mph over the limit, $90 - $300/points; 10 - 30mph over the limit, $180 - $600/points and up to 15 days imprisonment; more than 30mph over the limit, $360 - $1,200/points and up to 30 days imprisonment
Auto enforcement penalties/record $50 fine; no points

1In New York, administrative license suspension lasts until prosecution is complete.

2Drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship to justify restoring privileges during suspension, and then privileges often are restricted.

3In New York, the minimum age for an unrestricted driver's license is 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education). New York has a passenger restriction that applies to permit holders and license holders younger than 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education).

4This state assesses points for violations.

5New York only assesses points when the violation involves a child under 16.