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Safety Laws in New York

Helmets

Motorcycles

Helmets are mandatory for all riders.

Bicycles

All riders under the age of 14 are required to wear a helmet.

Headlights

Vehicles

Headlights must be turned on:

  • When visibility is reduced to 1,000 feet or less.
  • One half-hour after sunset until one half-hour before sunrise.
  • Whenever using windshield wipers in rain or snow.

Motorcycles

Headlights must be on during the day.

Bicycles

A white headlight visible up to 500 feet and a red taillight visible up to 300 feet must be used when riding between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise.

Cell Phones and Texting

It is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Hands-free cell phones, however, are legal.

Texting is banned for all drivers while behind the wheel and, as of June 1, 2013, drivers face much stiffer penalties for breaking this law than they have in the past:

  • Probationary License: 60 days license suspension for first conviction and 60 more days for a subsequent conviction within 6 months of license restoration; 5 points on your driver's license.
  • Junior License: 60 days license suspension for first conviction and 60 more days for a subsequent conviction within 6 months of license restoration; 5 points on your driver's license.
  • Full License: 5 points on your driver's license.

Child Car Seat Laws

  • Any child younger than four must ride in a federally approved child safety seat that's properly secured by a safety belt or a universal child restraint anchorage system.
  • All children younger than 8 years old must be secured in a child safety seat restraint system. This includes safety seats, harness vests and booster seats attached via safety belts.
  • Any child younger than 4, but who weighs more than 40 pounds, may be secured in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt.
  • If all safety seats are occupied, a child who would normally require a booster seat should instead be secured by a lap belt.
  • Every rider younger than 16 must use a seat belt.

If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a car seat at any time. When ordering, be sure the car seat matches your child's height, weight and age.

Reporting a Drunk or Dangerous Driver

Dial 911 if you suspect a driver of being drunk and/or dangerous. Provide the vehicle's license plate number, make, model, location and travel direction.

Reporting an Unattended Child Left Inside a Vehicle

If you harbor any reason to believe that an unattended child left inside a vehicle is at risk, do not hesitate to call 911. Remain with the vehicle until authorities arrive.

Reporting an Unattended Pet Left Inside a Vehicle

If you suspect that an unattended pet left inside a vehicle is in danger due to heat or cold, call the local police or animal control unit.

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