Traffic Safety Laws in New York

Helmets

Motorcycles

Helmets are mandatory for all riders.

Bicycles

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

Vehicles

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.

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 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.

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