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Feifer & Greenberg, LLP
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§ 1111(d) of the NYS VTL is the controlling section regarding red light signals in New York. The general rule of thumb, of course, is that red means stop.

The rules for where to stop are the same as they are for a stop sign. If there’s a crosswalk and a stop line, use the stop line. If there’s just a crosswalk, use the line of the crosswalk that is closest to you/furthest from the intersection. if there’s no stop line and no crosswalk, stop at the point nearest to the intersection without actually entering the intersection of the roadways.

If your intention is to make a right turn at an intersection controlled by a red light, you may do so after coming to a complete stop as long as traffic is clear and there’s no signing indicating you are not permitted to turn right on red. In the bigger cities (one million population or more–basically NYC), no right on red is permitted unless there is a sign specifically allowing it at a particular intersection.

When the red signal is a red arrow instead of a circle or disc, a driver must stop and is prohibited from turning or moving in the direction of the arrow. Much like a green arrow means a driver may only proceed in the direction of the arrow, a red arrow indicates the one direction a driver may not proceed.

In court, the basic elements to a disobey a red signal case include the color of the signal, the “stopping point”, the distance from said stopping point when the light entered it’s red phase, that the motorist continued into the intersection while the light still was in it’s red phase, a description of the various light phases on the traffic signal and when the signal was tested or confirmed to be in proper working order.

A conviction for failure to obey a red signal carries (3) points in NYS.


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