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Many New York traffic tickets are issued charging the motorist with “Disobey Traffic Control Device”, and many people ask us what this really means.

§ 1110 of the VTL regulates obedience to traffic control devices.  This is the section of law that would be cited on a NY Disobey Traffic Control Device traffic ticket.  § 1110(a) reads as follows:

Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.

Thus, if you fail to follow the directions indicated on any sign, or any traffic signal, or any marking written on the pavement, you are in danger of receiving a traffic ticket for Disobey Traffic Control Device.

In many ways, this section of law is a catch-all.  There are specific violations for red lights, green arrows, stop signs, speed signs, etc, yet in theory any one of these violations could be written under the general traffic control device section. For example, a stop sign is a specific type of traffic device that has its own section of law and an officer who observes a motorist disobey a stop sign could arguably write the ticket for the generic traffic device law (1110(a)) or the more specific stop sign law.   Unfortunately, most officers will issue a ticket for a violation like a stop sign violation under the specific section of law if one exists and these more specific sections often carry more points than the general § 1110(a).  That said, the general disobeying a traffic control device ticket is one of the most commonly written tickets in New York.

What Is a Traffic Control Device?

§ 153 of the VTL defines a traffic control device as follows:

All signs, signals, markings, and devices not inconsistent with this chapter placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic.

Penalties for a Disobey Traffic Control Device Violation

A traffic control device violation in New York carries two points.  It is often preferable to the more specific violations mentioned above because those generally carry three or more NY traffic ticket points. Accruing enough license points in an 18-month period can cause you to be issued an assessment fee and eventually have your license suspended. 

A ticket for disobeying a traffic control device in New York would also come with a fine that can vary depending on your driving record and which court is handling the case.  Of course beyond fines, assessments and points there are potential insurance ramifications as well and/or even job implications for drivers who hold a commercial driver license or drive regularly during the course of your job.  While the points may be slightly lower than they would be for a red light or stop sign or even speeding ticket, the penalties are still very much worth fighting and avoiding.

Fight Your Charge with the Help of a NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer

This section of the NYS VTL is one of the most often cited on traffic tickets.  If you have been issued a traffic ticket for failing to obey a traffic control device, feel free to contact our New York traffic ticket attorneys for a free consultation. We are happy to discuss how we can fight to reduce your penalties or potentially even have your ticket dismissed altogether.

If you are interested in a free case review, call (888) 842-5384 or contact us online.


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