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Traffic Defense Articles

§ 1110 Obedience to and required traffic-control devices

by Seth Azria on 7/17/2018

Practice Commentary

a. CDL Drivers

A charge for "failure to obey a traffic control device", as it is usually called, is under VTL §1110a. As an initial charge, §1110a is usually given to CDL truck drivers for failing to stop at an inspection or weigh station. The charge is for ignoring, or failing to obey, the sign announcing the required station stop. 

b. Roadside Reduction 

It is quite rare to see failure to obey charged to non-commercial drivers except as a "roadside reduction." A roadside reduction is when an officer could have issued a more serious ticket, usually a speeding ticket, but instead gives the driver a break by issuing the less serious §1110a. 

In some places, these roadside reductions, can prevent the a driver from getting the ticket reduced by the prosecutor. Feel free to call us to discover if your roadside reduction might qualify for a further reduction.  

c. Negotiated Settlements

The most common use of §1110a is as a reduction. Many prosecutors around the state offer a plea to §1110a in satisfaction of a more serious charge. For example, a person may be charged with speeding 80mph in a 65mph zone and, upon presentation of good reasons, the prosecutor may reduce the speeding ticket to failure to obey a traffic control device. 

This process is called plea bargaining and prosecutors are empowered to amend an original charge to any other charge they deem just. Keep in mind that the judge must also approve of any reduction agreement. 

Consequences of Conviction

Pleading guilty to VTL §1110a will cause:
  • 2 points on a New York record, 
  • a fine from the court up to $150 + $93 surcharge ($88 in city courts)  

Statutory Text

(a) Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.
  (b) No provision of this title for which signs are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that signs are required, such section shall be effective even though no signs are erected or in place.
  (c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
  (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.
  (e) For purposes of this article, "intersection" shall include the area embracing the juncture of a highway with a private road or driveway and "intersecting roadway" shall include an intersecting private road or driveway.
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/VAT/1110

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