A Closer Look at Failure to Yield Right of Way Tickets
Failing to yield was the top 4th driving behavior that resulted in fatal crashes, accounting for 7% of the total fatal crashes in the US, according to a 2018 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Put otherwise, 3,579 drivers and motorcyclists failed to yield the right of way in 2018, and all of these instances resulted in death. As morbid as it sounds, this is the reality of what could happen if you fail to yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians. To “yield” means to give way to other drivers or pedestrians by slowing down or stopping, if necessary.
When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?
You may believe that drivers must always yield to pedestrians, but contrary to popular belief, pedestrians don’t always have the right of way. You may have seen drivers yield to jaywalking pedestrians or may have done so yourself, but know that jaywalkers typically don’t have the right of way, as jaywalking is illegal.
So, when do motorists have to yield the right of way to pedestrians in New York? These instances include:
- When a pedestrian is legally crossing an intersection or any marked crosswalk with or without traffic signals
- Whenever a traffic signal displays “Walk” or a walking person
- When a pedestrian is still crossing while a red light turns green
- If there is a “yield” sign
- When a pedestrian is crossing the road on which they are traveling
- when entering the road from a driveway, alley, or private road
If you hit a pedestrian, you could not only get sued and potentially face criminal charges but also be sentenced to OATH, the Office of Administration Trials and Hearings, which handles summonses issued by city agencies. Accidents involving pedestrians are among the various cases heard by OATH, so if you hit a pedestrian because you failed to yield, prepare to get an OATH ticket in the mail and prepare for other legal and administrative repercussions.
Right-of-Way Laws for Vehicles
The New York DMV reports that most traffic crashes occur at intersections when a driver takes a turn. With this in mind, it will benefit you to learn some examples of right-of-way rules below to better avoid getting a failure to yield ticket, or worse, getting into a collision:
- If drivers approaching from opposite directions reach an intersection at about the same time, a driver that turns left must yield to traffic that moves straight or turns right.
- A driver approaching an intersection must yield the right-of-way to traffic in the intersection.
- At intersections not controlled by signs or signals, or where two or more drivers stop at STOP signs at the same time and they are at right angles, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.
- A vehicle that enters a roadway from a driveway, alley, private road, or another place that is not a roadway, must stop and yield the right-of-way to traffic on the roadway and to pedestrians.
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians who legally use marked or unmarked crosswalks.
- You cannot enter an intersection if traffic is backed up on the other side and you cannot get completely through the intersection. Wait until traffic clears to avoid blocking the intersection.
- Be alert to cross-streets or offset intersections so that you don't cause gridlock by blocking another street
- A driver who enters a traffic circle or rotary (also known as “roundabout”) must yield the right-of-way to drivers already in the circle.
Got a ticket for failing to yield? You’re looking at 3 points on your driving record and a potential fine. If you hit a pedestrian at a crosswalk because you failed to yield you may get fined $150 and be sentenced to 15 days in jail. However, it could be worse if there were injuries or fatalities.
To maximize your chances of resolving your ticket and avoiding penalties, retain our New York City traffic ticket lawyer at Gannes & Musico, LLP today. Contact us at (877) 803-2603!