Drivers Say They Are Being Trapped

Bird's eye view of Manhattan, looking down at people and yellow taxi cabs going down 5th Avenue

If you’ve driven in New York City, you know what “Don’t block the box” signs mean. You’ll find them at busy intersections and, if you are like most drivers, you will heed the warning on the sign. Unfortunately, some people in Queens say they can’t avoid breaking the law, and the reason is the police.

Residents in Ridgewood have come forward to say that there are typically four or five police officers on the corner of 60th Street and Metropolitan Avenue. While residents say that the police are doing nothing to help with the heavy traffic, they are quick to ticket any driver found to be in the box when the light turns red.

One person who received a citation says that he knows he shouldn’t have been in the box but he was trapped between crosswalks and was left with nowhere to go. While this may happen to many people in the city, note thought that there is no such defense as getting “trapped”.  The Vehicle and Traffic Law sets forth that a driver may not enter an intersection unless there is room to accommodate the vehicle on the other side of the intersection.  If you proceed and “hope” to make it or proceed because you see a small space that barely fits your vehicle, then you are proceeding at your own risk.  If you don’t make it or that space closes up and you get caught in the “box” you can expect a ticket if there is an enforcement officer nearby.  

Drivers think that they aren’t necessarily breaking the law when they are unable to move and think they are more the “victim” of all the traffic.  Sometimes a car might cut in front of you at the last minute or enter the intersection from a different road than you are on and otherwise occupy the space that would have accommodated your vehicle.  Sometimes it’s the actual officers at the scene who are issuing tickets to other drivers that are causing the congestion in the first place.  If any of this happens, it will still be held against you.  The bottom line is to make sure you can clear the entire intersection before entering.  

If you have received a traffic citation in New York City, reach out to our team. You have the right to fight your ticket and we are here to help answer any questions you have about a Spillback or other traffic violation.