New York's speed week crackdown leads to tickets for thousands of motorists
Law enforcement officers in New York are very aggressive when it comes to issuing tickets to motorists observed breaking traffic laws. Many of these citations carry significant penalties and consequences, which include the assessment of points against an individual's license. If a person accumulates too many points in a limited amount of time, the state may revoke his or her driving privileges.
Recently, New York State Police (NYSP) conducted its annual "Speed Week" campaign, which is a statewide initiative to spot motorists committing a wide range of traffic violations, including speeding or texting while driving. Police also stopped drivers who had violated the state's move over law, which means that these motorists failed to move to a different lane when approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the road. The campaign, which is a yearly event, is connected to the NASCAR race that takes place in Watkins Glen.
The NYSP reports that over 22,000 drivers received traffic violations during this year's Speed Week crackdown. The majority of those tickets, over 10,000 were issued for those drivers traveling above posted speed limits. Move over violations accounted for the second-highest number of tickets, with nearly 700 motorists receiving these kinds of citations. Using a handheld cellphone was third on the list, with almost 600 drivers being ticketed, and an additional 279 motorists were ticketed for texting while driving. Over 230 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The totals mark a slight decrease in overall citations from last year's crackdown. In 2013, nearly 25,000 tickets were issued, with over 9,000 of those being for speeding. Distracted driving offenses accounted for nearly 2,300 tickets during the 2013 Speed Week campaign.
While the number of citations issued dropped slightly this year, more drivers were stopped for speeding, which is concerning to officials. The NYSP focuses much of its attention on speeders during the crackdown due to the high number of fatal accidents caused by these drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency responsible for compiling data on auto accidents across the country, nearly one-third of all fatal crashes involve speed as a significant factor.
What happens if you receive a traffic ticket in New York
When drivers receive a traffic citation for speeding or some other type of moving violation, there will be specific instructions located on the back of the ticket. Motorists have a limited amount of time to contest the ticket, and if this time passes, they will be unable to defend themselves against the allegations.
Those who complete the steps to challenge the citation in the specified time frame will be able to have a hearing where they are allowed to present evidence that supports their claims. The hearing will generally be before an administrative law judge employed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, who is able to determine if penalties should be handed down if they are convicted of the offense.
The points that will be assessed against the individual's license will depend upon the offense. Motorists convicted of speeding could be facing a minimum of three points for traveling anywhere from one to ten miles per hour above the speed limit, and the points will only increase along with speeds. Other offenses, such as texting or talking on a handheld cellphone, could result in the driver receiving a penalty of five points. Those who accumulate 11 points in an 18-month period will lose their licenses. These penalties are in addition to the fines that will be connected with these offenses.
There may be opportunities to reduce the points connected with these offenses. Drivers can complete a course approved by the state that may remove some of the points they may have accumulated. The points will disappear 18 months after the offenses occurred; however, the convictions will still appear on their driving records.
Drivers visiting New York from other states may be issued a ticket while traveling through the region. These motorists need to know that they have to respond to the ticket, or there may be consequences that result in their home jurisdictions. If the offense is serious, such as an arrest for drunk driving, it could potentially be counted in other states when trying to determine penalties for subsequent offenses.
What to do if you have received a traffic ticket
Whether you were ticketed before, during or after the speed week crackdown, the penalties that may result from the citation could have a long-lasting impact upon your driving privileges. If you have received multiple violations, you may even be facing the loss of your driver's license if you are convicted of the most recent offense.
It is extremely important that you hire an experienced traffic violations attorney to help you contest any New York traffic tickets that you have received. Each and every ticket carries substantial penalties, and if you simply pay the fine, you could be setting yourself up for serious problems in the future.
Do not make any decisions before you have had an opportunity to discuss all of the various options that may be available in your specific situation. In some circumstances, there may be steps that you can take that could limit the potential penalties that you may be facing.
Your attorney can review the facts connected to your traffic stop, and determine if any defenses could be used to contest the tickets. Law enforcement officers must follow procedures, and if they acted inappropriately, it is possible that the court may refuse to enforce the ticket.
In many cases, your attorney will be able to appear on your behalf at your hearing. This can save you from having to make another trip to the area where you received your ticket. Also, this will prevent you from having to figure out the process in these counties, as they may be substantially different from the way that they are handled in your hometown. Familiarity with these local rules will allow you to know and understand all of the possible choices that are available to you, which can help you protect your driving privileges.