The Myth of the 'Flow of Traffic' Defense for Speeding

When it comes to traffic laws, there can be a wide disparity between what people think they know about the law and what is actually true. This is often due to misconceptions that formulate from a kernel of truth, but get wildly more inaccurate the more they’re repeated. The thing is, though, is that the more a falsehood is repeated, the more it can seem like the truth – especially if it sounds reasonable.

What Is the Flow of Traffic?

With regard to traffic law, there might be few more widely spread and believed misconceptions than that of the “flow of traffic.” You probably understand what the flow of traffic implies just by reading the phrase, and that’s certainly a testament to how ubiquitous this myth of the road has become.

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s explain what the “flow of traffic” is (and in case you haven’t heard of this, don’t worry – it’s pretty easy to understand). The flow of traffic is an argument that if someone is driving on a road and getting constantly passed by other drivers, it’s OK for them to speed up and match their pace with other motorists – even if it means going over the posted speed limit.

Sounds reasonable, right? It might be if we were in Germany and the U.S. interstate was the autobahn (where slower drivers are the ones who get tickets). But because neither is the case, though, any driver who is exceeding the speed limit must slow their roll.

Just to be clear, it’s never legal to drive beyond the posted speed limit in New York. Not even when you’re passing another vehicle. The government is very clear about this, so if you’re looking for a sign to never speed again, look no further than New York’s traffic safety website.

The government advises the following in no uncertain terms:

“Always drive at or below the speed limit If you choose to follow the crowd and travel at the same speed as everyone else, you could receive a ticket for speeding. The law does not make exceptions because everyone else is speeding too. You just might be the unlucky one in the one pack who happens to get caught – or the one who has to take an evasive action to prevent a crash.”

We really couldn’t say it better, which is why we wanted to share the whole paragraph here.

What Are the Penalties for Speeding in New York?

Throughout New York, speeding is punished with fines, driver penalty points, and even jail time depending upon the circumstances.

Most drivers will face a fine, which abides by the following schedule:

  • Up to 10 mph over the speed limit: $45-$150 in fines
  • More than 10 mph but less than 30 mph over the speed limit: $90-$300
  • More than 30 mph over the speed limit: $180-$600
  • Inappropriate speed: $45-$150

Actual fines can be affected by a number of factors, such as where the speeding occurred in a school zone, a work zone, or on a restricted highway. Those convicted of speeding can also be sentenced to jail depending upon the circumstances of their offense and if there have multiple prior convictions for a similar offense.

Driver Penalty Points

A speeding conviction will also levy a significant number of driver penalty points against someone:

  • 3 points: Speeding up to 10 mph over the speed limit
  • 4 points: Speeding 11-20 mph over the speed limit
  • 6 points: Speeding 21-30 mph over the speed limit
  • 8 points: Speeding 31-40 mph over the speed limit
  • 11 points: Speeding more than 40 mph over the speed limit

These points are significant because a driver can only incur 10 driver points within an 18-month period. Once the 11th point is received in this span of time, the driver’s license may be suspended. This makes it critically important to seek an attorney to help you with your speeding ticket if you have prior convictions and points that put your license at risk of suspension!

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

If you were pulled over and cited for speeding, fighting this ticket can be worth it if you believe the officer made an error or you are at risk of losing your license. At Stites Law, we can help people like you fight your traffic tickets by mitigating your responsibility for what occurred or eliminating the accusations against you.

For more information about how we can help, please contact us online or call (212) 729-0472">(212) 729-0472 today!