Traffic Safety Laws in New York



Helmets are mandatory for all riders.


All riders under 14 years old are required to wear a helmet. Children between the ages of 1 to 4 years old must wear certified bicycle helmet and ride in specially designed child safety seats.



Headlights must be turned on:

  • When visibility is reduced to 1,000 feet or less.
  • 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Whenever using windshield wipers in rain or snow.


Headlights must be on during the day.


A white headlight visible up to 500 feet and a red taillight visible up to 300 feet must be used when riding between a 30 minutes after sunset and a 30 minutes 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. Using the phone or texting for drivers with a probationary license, Class DJ, Class MJ or a learner permit carry additional and more sever penalties.

Child Car Seat Laws

  • Any child younger than 4 years old must ride in a federally approved child safety seat that's properly secured by a safety belt or a universal child restraint anchorage system.
  • Children between 4 to 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.
  • 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 years old 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.

Related Products and Services

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review

Number of Organ Donors who registered through DMV.ORG