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New York Auto Insurance: Speed Traps and Your Safety

By Insurance.com Posted : 02/19/2007

No one wants to pay a higher car insurance rate because of a speeding ticket. But, no ones's perfect either. Just mentioning speed traps may cause a heart rate to increase and a lead foot to cringe. After all, we all know we're not supposed to speed but do the police have to be so sneaky to catch speeders?

In New York, the answer depends on who you ask.

According to the National Motorists Association (NMA), a non-profit political interest group, many consumers are concerned that speed traps are a dubious means by which New York municipalities generate additional, non-tax revenues to pay for equipment and salaries. The hallmarks of such a speed trap may include:

  • Abrupt speed limit changes
  • Absurdly low speed limits
  • Confusing signage
  • Abrupt changes in terrain
  • A disproportionate number of tickets issued to non-local residents


According to the NMA, speed traps may actually decrease public safety by:

  • Causing motorists to decelerate unexpectedly
  • Adding to gridlock during high-volume traffic hours
  • Reducing the reasonable flow of traffic based on prevailing road and weather conditions


Because fines from speeding tickets effectively lower local taxes, local residents have little incentive to question the wisdom or legality of speed traps in New York. For that reason, the NMA established its "Speedtrap Exchange," a volunteer-driven website that documents the location and nature of speed traps nationwide (see www.speedtrap.org). According to the Exchange, New York has over 1,000 documented speed traps with more being identified every day (http://www.speedtrap.org/speed-traps/show/New York/).

Regardless of such laws, it remains the clear obligation of every New York driver to obey posted speed limits and other state laws regulating the speed of vehicles in relation to emergency vehicles and accident scenes. The best bet to avoid a speeding ticket in New York is to follow the letter of the law by by making sure you:

  • Familiarize yourself with New York state speed limits
  • Obey all posted speed limits in construction and high-traffic zones
  • Slow to reasonable speeds when approaching accident scenes
  • Slow to reasonable speeds and move to the opposite lane when passing a stopped police cruiser


For more information on New York traffic laws, please visit the New York Office of Traffic Safety website at https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/operating/oom/transportation-systems. For more information on how to uncover and challenge unjust speed traps, visit www.speedtrap.org.

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