It’s a usual occurrence on the streets of NYC during rush hour: roads and intersections become obscenely congested with pedestrians and drivers trying to slowly navigate the crowded streets and make their way home. It is these moments where intersections not only become the most active and crowded spaces in the city, but also a prime location where drivers may be hit with a Blocking the Box ticket.
What is Blocking the box?
A long time ago, the city instituted the Blocking the Box law in an effort to help ease traffic and congestion especially during rush hour. Blocking the Box prohibits drivers from entering an intersection where there is not enough room to smoothly pass the crosswalk and proceed through the intersection without being forced to stop and therefore block the flow of traffic through the intersection. Watch out drivers, If you are caught blocking the box you will be given a summons with a side of a hefty fine.
Is it a parking ticket or moving violation?
It’s both! However, it wasn’t always like that. For years, Blocking the Box violations were only considered moving violations which police gave to offending motorist and carried a maximum fine of $150 as well as 2 points on your license. However, in 2008 the status of blocking the box changed under the Bloomberg Administration and now has the dual status as both a moving violation and parking violation. This means that both police officers and traffic agents can penalize you for this offense. Traffic agents don’t even need to pull you over for them to hit you with a parking ticket, they merely need to witness you violating the law and enter in your license plate number into their system and soon a ticket of $115 dollars will be mailed right to your doorstep. Unlike infractions issued by police offices, a parking ticket for a blocking the box violation does not add points to your license and affect your car insurance rates. Still, we rather you not get hit with any fine, so be patient out there drivers!
As we all know, New Yorkers are always on the go and sometimes get carried away with living life in the fast lane. This is especially true when we’re behind the wheel and approaching a traffic light. We’ve all witnessed it or even done it ourselves: a driver before reaching an intersection puts the pedal to the metal on a yellow traffic light and inevitably blows a red light. Running a red light is one of the most common moving violations in the city because of this. Every New York minute is precious but is our need for speed really worth the possible moving violation for running a red light or worse?
Penalties for Running a Red Light
The penalty for running a red light depends on whether or not you were caught by one of NYC’s many red light cameras or stopped in traffic by an officer. If you are caught running a red light by an officer, this offense is considered a traffic infraction and 3 points will be added to your license in addition to a fine you will receive. Fines are determined by the number of red light violations on your record:
$100-300 for the first offense
$200-$500 for the second offense in 18 months
$500-$1000 for the third offense in 18 months
You may also be subject to an increase in your car insurance premiums as insurance companies consider drivers with many red light infractions more likely to get into a car accident.
Getting caught on candid camera by one of the 200+ red light cameras found around the city is treated a little differently than getting stopped by an officer in traffic. A red light violation from a camera is treated almost like a parking ticket instead of a traffic infraction because it is more difficult for the city to prove who was actually driving. Still, the registered owner of the car is held responsible for the moving violation even if the owner wants the one running a red light and must pay a fine of $50 (plus $4 processing fee if you pay with a credit card). Unlike a traffic infraction, points will not be added to your licenses and the violation will not be reported to your car insurance company and cause an increase in your insurance premiums. However, if the registered owner fails to pay off the ticket, a default conviction with a $25 late fee will be imposed and the owner’s registration may eventually be placed on hold. So take a breather New Yorkers, running a red light may not be worth it and in the end can cost you more time and money!