The ‘Second Car at a Stop Sign’ Conundrum

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Stop signs seem like a simple concept. When you see one, come to a complete stop before proceeding. Got it? Perfect! Except, of course, when you are making a left and another driver at the same intersection is going straight, in which case you must yield to that driver. Or if you and another car arrive at the same time at stop signs that are adjacent and both of you are going straight; then the driver to the right goes first.

OK, maybe it’s not always so simple. In fact, there are a lot of misunderstandings about stop signs. For example, what happens when you are the second car in line at a stop sign? The car in front of you arrives at a stop sign. It comes to a complete stop at the white line, and you come to a complete stop behind it. Since you already stopped when the car in front of you did, is it okay to go when the car in front of you does or do you have to stop again at the sign?

According to New York State law, it doesn’t matter if you are the first, second, or fifth car in line at a given stop sign — you must come to a complete stop again at the white line by the stop sign.

It’s worth emphasizing that the location of white line is your true indication of where to stop, rather than the sign. Your front bumper must be at the line or just before the crosswalk in order for the stop to be considered legal. If there is no line or crosswalk, then you may stop at the point nearest the intersection that gives you a view of intersecting traffic.

Failing to come to a complete stop for one or two full seconds could mean getting hit with a ticket for disobeying a stop sign. While that may sound like a minor infraction, the consequences can be serious. Disobeying a stop sign comes with a fine of $150 and 3 points on your license. You could also face up $93 in court fees and even up to 15 days in jail depending on the circumstances.

Subsequent tickets get costlier. A second stop sign conviction within 18 months of will result in a $300 fine, another 3 points, and up to 45 days in jail. A third raises the stakes to $450 and 90 days in jail, plus an additional 3 points.

And for you new drivers out there, remember this: Stop signs with white borders are NOT optional.

It is essential that you retain an attorney if you or someone you love has been ticketed for disobeying a stop sign or for any other traffic violation in New York. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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