New York Traffic lawyers have experienced first hand the empty roads and the opportunity to speed and we have seen a decrease in the number of calls from ticketed drivers. Sadly, it appears that the proverbial party is over. During the month of April, the number of traffic tickets issued has dropped from over 85,000 in April 2019 to just over 10,000 during April 2020. Now, the New York State Police has asked that troopers return to normal traffic enforcement duties. In a memo to State Troopers, from their Superiors, Troopers were told that the pause was necessary but that now due to increased awareness about the transmission of the COVID-19 Virus and the issuance of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to Troopers, the time has come to return to normal enforcement.
While the memo refers to an increase in aggressive drivers during the pandemic, New York traffic attorneys know how much revenue is raised by the issuance of traffic tickets and how much the State is surely losing in traffic ticket revenue during the pandemic. The pause in enforcement was scheduled to end today May 1, 2020.
With approximately 90 New York State Troopers testing positive for the Covid-19 virus it may be hard to convince Troopers who may be reluctant to interact with the public if avoidable. Although, apparently both the State Police and the Union have been distributing Personal Protective Equipment to Troopers, the level of enforcement will probably partly depend on the continued availability of PPE. In addition Governor Cuomo has already announced that first responder and particularly State Troopers will receive priority for Covid-19 antibody testing. Obviously, having ample testing available to law enforcement officers such as New York State Troopers may give them more comfort in performing their jobs.
Only time will tell whether or not Troopers feel comfortable enough and feel that they have the equipment necessary to interact with the public. However, it is pretty clear that there will be a push by the State for increased enforcement and that motorists should drive carefully going forward. In particular anyone who got used to empty roads with no enforcement should keep in mind the cost of a New YorK Traffic Ticket and New York’s onerous point system which assesses between 3 and 11 points for speeding depending on the number of miles over the limit. At 6 points, which is just 21 miles over the speed limit or 76 in a 55 zone, a motorist will start being surcharged through the driver responsibility assessment and at 11 points motorists will likely lose their driver’s license. In addition, a driver that is operating at unreasonably high speeds or committing multiple violations can find themselves charged with a misdemeanor such as Reckless Driving.
As always, if you are stopped by the police, cooperate fully, do not admit to anything or make any statement, and do not simply pay the ticket without fully understanding the number of points and all the hidden consequences of pleading guilty. Rather, call a traffic ticket lawyer who is experienced in handling your type of ticket and take advantage of the free consultations that we and many other lawyers offer.