Have you ever seen a sign that says:
STAY IN LANE
Is this sign enforceable? Meaning, if you do not stay in your lane, can you receive a traffic ticket?
The answer is yes.
STAY IN LANE signs are most commonly positioned on roadways that, for whatever reason, may require a higher degree of caution. They’re often found in tunnels and on bridges, or on stretches of roads with sharp turns or sudden swerves.
In other words, these signs are positioned where they are for a reason.
Section 1110 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits disobeying a traffic control device. The law presumes that a traffic device is posted lawfully and for legitimate reasons. See VTL 1110(d): “Any official traffic-control device placed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.”
In other words, if the sign is there, police officers and courts will presume it was put there for a good reason. For a STAY IN LANE sign, it means that policymakers believe that maintaining one’s lane is in the interest of public safety.
If a motorist changes lanes after passing such a sign, he is at risk of getting a summons for disobeying the sign. Depending on the circumstances, he might also be at risk of a ticket for unsafe lane change in violation of VTL 1128(a): “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.”