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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Bill that would allow New York towns to set their own speed limits making its way through Assembly

With the Fourth of July weekend officially underway, motorists all over the state of New York will be driving to cabins, resorts or the homes of family and friends to celebrate the long holiday. However, with this influx of motorists will undoubtedly come an increase in the number of law enforcement officials looking to hand out tickets for speeding or other traffic violations.

In fact, if you find yourself pulled over for speeding in an unfamiliar area, you may begin to wonder how local officials arrived at the posted speed limit.

As it turns out, local officials may not have set the speed limit at all. Rather, the speed limit was likely decided by the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Under current New York traffic law, only villages, towns with populations exceeding 50,000, suburban class towns and cities can set their own speed limits. All other towns and municipalities must first seek approval from the DOT.

"We have to submit requests to the county, then they give it to the DOT, which does traffic counts and analysis," said Art Johnson, a supervisor in Wilton, New York.

Unfortunately, this process can prove to be time-consuming and fail to produce the results that local residents desire.

However, this situation may soon change with the passing of Senate Bill 547 (S. 547), which would allow towns to set their own speed limits so long as the proposed speed limit is certified by a licensed professional engineer who specializes in traffic control/operations.

(Those towns that do not wish to set their own speed limits could simply continue to defer to the state DOT.)

Thus far, S. 547 has passed the state Senate and was sent to the state Assembly.

"This legislation addresses a simple issue and I'm hopeful it will pass the Assembly and receive the governor's approval," said Sen. Elizabeth Little (R-Queensbury), the bill's sponsor.

Stay tuned for further updates from our New York traffic law blog ...

A speeding ticket can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

New York state Senate passes bill allowing towns to set speed limits (The Saratogian)

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