Tips From a Traffic Lawyer

Worried About Tickets? Avoid These Ticketing Hot Spots

It’s a dangerous world out there on the busy streets of New York City. Especially if you’re driving a taxi cab, and you’re trying to avoid getting traffic tickets.

Any time a taxi driver gets behind the wheel in New York, he risks getting a ticket. The easiest way to avoid getting tickets is to drive safely, of course. But for taxi drivers, who are on the road for eight to twelve hours a day navigating New York City traffic, it’s different. A ticket threatens your career as a driver. It can cost you thousands of dollars in DMV and TLC fines and fees. And if you get suspended, you’ll lose the ability to work for a month or more.

You can get a ticket anywhere at any time. And many New York traffic cops go out of their way to stop taxis as opposed to passenger vehicles. The NYPD even has a Taxi Enforcement Division, a unit solely for officers who write tickets to taxi drivers.

But some intersections are worse than others. Much worse. If you’ve fought many cases in traffic court, as I have, you’re going to hear a few intersections over and over again. Thus, I present the top five ticketing “hot spots” in Manhattan, where drivers should be extra careful.

Grand and Bowery. Grand Street is one lane heading eastbound. Where it intersects Bowery, there are four signs that say “No Turns.” They are in effect at all times. If you’re on Grand, you can’t turn on Bowery in either direction. You have to keep going east. This is perhaps the most ticketed intersection in New York City. If you’re found guilty, you’ll get 2 points on your license.

37th Street and Second Avenue. On weekday mornings, 37th Street westbound is for buses only. If you’re driving west on 37th, you must turn left on Second Avenue, unless you’re driving a bus. If you continue west of Second, there’s a good chance a traffic cop will be waiting there for you, ticket already in hand.

12th Avenue service road and 57th Street. There’s a stop sign at this location for northbound traffic on 12th Avenue. Cars often disregard it as they exit the West Side Highway, then turn right onto eastbound 57th Street. The officer’s car will be out of your view, a few hundred feet east of the intersection on 57th Street.

23rd Street and 9th Avenue. There are “no turn” signs all over 23rd Street. If you’re driving east or west on 23rd, you might have to go to the FDR or West Side Highway to proceed north or south. The sign at this location prohibits westbound drivers from turning left onto 9th Avenue.

First Avenue tunnel. The tunnel runs from 42nd Street to 48th Street. This is one of the more open stretches of road in Manhattan. It’s also the most infamous speed trap. Police officers station their cars at the north end of the tunnel, by 48th Street, where they use radar guns to track the cars driving northbound. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour here, but cars often drive 40, 50 or more. You might be driving with the speed of traffic, but if a cop clocks you at 46, that could be a whopping 6 points on your license.

There are many more ticketing “hot spots” in New York that could have made this list. But if you’re at one of the above locations, be extra careful.