new york driver information
Welcome to our overview on New York's driving rules and regulations. It's your go-to source for everything from handy licensing info to insightful trends regarding the Empire State.
Info for New York (NY) drivers
Number of licensed drivers: 11,329,000
Registered vehicles: 11,245,000
Licensing and registration authority: New York Department of Motor Vehicles
Toll roads: 567.6 miles of toll roads (3rd-most in the U.S.), 28 toll bridges, and 4 toll tunnels
Average travel time to work: 31.4 minutes (longest average commute in the U.S.)
Clean Pass Vehicle program
To give NY drivers an incentive to be greener, this program rewards drivers of fuel-efficient, low-emission cars by allowing them to use carpool lanes on the Long Island Expressway regardless of the number of passengers.
For a list of eligible cars and more info, visit the Clean Pass website.
Points on your New York driving record
Convictions for traffic violations could add anywhere from 0 to 11 points to your driving record. For instance, excessive speeding tickets can really affect your record: going 31-40 mph over the posted limit will tack 8 points to your driving record while going 40 mph over the limit will get you 11 points.
Your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked if you get:
- 11 points within 18 months
- 3 speeding tickets within 18 months
The Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) gives you a chance to remove up to 4 points from your driving record if you complete a DMV-approved accident prevention course. (And, as a plus, completing an accident prevention course could also score you a nice discount on car insurance.)
Stolen cars in New York
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reveals that the most-stolen cars in 2011 were:
- 2000 Honda Civic
- 1994 Honda Accord
- 2010 Toyota Camry
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 1997 Nissan Maxima
- 1997 Nissan Altima
- 2010 Toyota Corolla
- 2002 Ford Explorer
- 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2008 Ford Econoline E350
Reporting an accident in the state
It's always a good idea to call the police after a car accident. Legally, you aren't required to report one to the New York DMV unless it caused injury or property damage of more than $1,000.
Drivers in the armed forces
If you're on active duty outside of New York when your drivers license expires, it'll be automatically extended if you file form MV-75 (PDF) with the DMV before your license's expiration date. This form makes it possible to renew your license through the mail.
DWAI versus DWI
If you have a BAC of .05 to .07 percent in NY or show evidence of other impairment, you could be charged with a DWAI (driving while alcohol impaired). Drivers with a BAC of .08 percent or more may face a DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge.
NY's distracted driving laws
New York enforces a ban on hand-held devices and text messaging for all drivers. If you're caught, expect a fine up to $150 and 3 points on your driving record.
If you're visiting New York from another country and have a valid license from your country of residence, you can legally drive in New York. You don't need to apply for a license unless you become a New York resident.
Moving to New York
After becoming a New York resident, you have 30 days to register your car and apply for a new drivers license.
New York driving trends at a glance
Factors that lead to car accidents
In 2010, 315,377 accidents happened in New York. And distracted driving was a contributing factor in 19.2 percent of those accidents. Following too closely accounted for another 15.7 percent, failure to yield right of way accounted for 14.7 percent, and speeding led to 10.6 percent of accidents.
Together, these factors accounted for more than 60 percent of all car accidents in New York.
New York City metro area workers use public transit more than residents in any other large metropolitan areas in the U.S. And as of 2009, Ithaca, NY, had a higher percentage of workers who commuted by walking (15 percent) than any other city in the country.
New York had 306 vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities in 2009 (4th-most in the country).
Young drivers in New York
Graduated licensing in NY
- Minimum learners permit age: 16 years old
- Required tests to receive permit: vision screening and written exam
- Minimum permit holding period: 6 months — if you're 17, you can skip this by completing drivers education and filling out DMV form MV-285
- Permit restrictions: must be accompanied by a driver aged 21 or older with a valid license to drive
- Required classroom instruction before road test: completion of a state-approved, 5-hour pre-licensing course or a high school/college drivers education course
- Minimum junior license (the step after your learners permit) age: 16.5 years old
- Required test to receive junior license: road test
- Parent/guardian practice hours required before road test: 50 (15 hours at night)
Junior license driving restrictions
The New York DMV offers plenty of info for young drivers throughout the state.
Getting your license
You can change your junior license to a full drivers license when you turn 17 if you take a high school or college drivers education course and fill out form MV-285 with the DMV. Otherwise, your license will automatically become a full senior license on your 18th birthday.
New York car insurance info
You know the rules of the road. Now make sure you're good to go insurance-wise (so you can get on that road).
New York Department of Motor Vehicles
Your source for more information about NY driving road rules, driving penalties, and other official state information.