Author: Mitchell Parks

Change in penalties for bus lane violations in NYC

If you have driven in NYC, particularly in Manhattan, during day time hours week days you may have found your self inadvertantly in a bus lane. Some places the bus lane is half the road or more and in some places the non-bus only lane may only be one lane, and all it takes is one selfish driver to render that lane inaccessible.  Hopefully if that happened and you noticed and could get out of it, you did. In congested city traffic it can be hard to avoid being in a bus lane from time to time, and other times a bus lane must be accessed, if momentarily, to avoid aggressive drivers, or to make a proper turn that can only be from a bus lane occupying the side you are turning from. In some cases that momentary or brief use may even be deemed legal.  Well, NYC had a practical discouragement to staying out of bus lanes if you arent a bus that covered a middle ground, grey area, where perhaps one shouldnt be in the bus lane but the occasion was not severely offensive, and allowed some discretion of the law enforcement authority. Well apparently DMV saw fit within recent history to change that. There were generally two possible offenses one could be written a ticket for. One, for disobeying the signs and pavement markings, which is called Disobeying a Traffic Control Device, which is covered by NYS VTL 1110(a) and though is an apt law that covers all kind of signs and pavement markings, it was cited frequently for bus lane offenders, and carries along with a fine and surcharge, 2 DMV points. For the less eggregious offender a law enforcement officer may have opted to write the alleged offender under a local law, Improper Use of a Bus Lane, which is NYC Traffic Rule section 412M. Up until very recently this charge carried no points, just a fine. Well, that has recently changed, and now in either case whether an alleged offender is written an offense under either the state Vehicle & Traffic Law or the NYC Traffic Rule, a conviction of such a charge in either case will carry 2 points. If you are not a bus you best be extra careful to stay out of the bus lane. This applies only if stopped by law enforcement and issued a ticket personally. It does not apply to camera tickets.