By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. Published: 11/4/19
There are 514 law enforcement agencies in New York State. This includes State Troopers, county police, and local (town/village/city) police. Officers for any of these agencies have the authority to cite a driver for a traffic violation. Not all agencies are equally likely to ticket a driver. Which agency is the most aggressive in issuing tickets? In most cases, it depends on the type of ticket. Likewise, some law enforcement agencies issue more tickets in certain counties.
DMV data classifies law enforcement agencies into several categories: State Troopers, county police, and local police (which aggregates data from village-, city-, or town-level agencies). The New York Police Department (NYPD) is categorized separately from other local police due to its jurisdiction over 43% of the state population and five individual counties/boroughs.
Statewide, the NYPD issues the most traffic tickets of any agency. In 2018, tickets written by the NYPD accounted for just short of 30% of all citations. This proportion has been fairly consistent over the past 10 years. State Troopers wrote the next most traffic tickets last year, with 27.7%. However, some years, local law enforcement agencies eclipsed state police. On average, county police write the fewest traffic tickets any given year, ranging from 15% to 17% of all tickets issued.
These figures are averages and some agencies had a greater presence in certain counties than others. For example, State Troopers issued close to 90% of all traffic tickets in Essex County in 2018, but less than 1% of all traffic tickets in Brooklyn. In Erie County, local police wrote 68% of all traffic tickets last year. Suffolk County Police issued almost three-quarters (72%) of traffic tickets within the county in 2018, while Franklin County PD wrote none. It should come as no surprise that tickets in the five boroughs of NYC were almost exclusively written by the NYPD, although State Troopers had a noticeable presence in Staten Island. The NYPD did write one ticket in the jurisdiction of Nassau County just east of Queens.
Agencies That Wrote the Most Traffic Tickets by County
|County||Percent of Tickets Written by State Police|
|County||Percent of Tickets Written by Local Police|
|County||Percent of Tickets Written by County Police|
Police That Wrote the Most Speeding Tickets
This data does not hold true for all types of traffic tickets. Speeding tickets, for example, are most often written by State Troopers. From 2009 to 2018, State Troopers issued just over half of all speeding tickets (51%). By contrast, from 2009 to 2013, NYPD wrote the fewest speeding tickets of any agency category. However, this changed starting in 2014 when Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the Vision Zero initiative. By 2018, NYPD’s share of speeding tickets rose from just over 10% to more than 18%.
County police were responsible for about 9% of speeding tickets statewide in 2018, a proportion that is just below the 10-year average of about 11%. Likewise, speeding tickets written by local law enforcement agencies fell to 22% last year, below the 10-year average of 24%. These declines in proportion (which do not equate to a decline in the quantity of tickets, per se), are partially attributable to the gradual increase in speeding enforcement by NYPD in recent years.
The county-level data for law enforcement agencies is similar to that of traffic tickets at large. For more details on county-level speeding ticket data, visit our NY county speeding ticket data pages.
Police That Wrote the Most Cell Phone and Texting Tickets
When it comes to tickets for using a cell phone while driving, including texting, NYPD is the most aggressive. In 2018, NYPD wrote more than two-thirds (67%) of texting tickets and well over half (57%) of cell phone tickets. The next closest police agency was the NY State Police, which contributed 18% of cell phone and 16% of texting tickets statewide. County police throughout the state produced the fewest cell phone and texting tickets (5% and 8% respectively).
In terms of cell phone tickets in 2018, Greene County saw the highest proportion from State Troopers (87%) while Brooklyn and the Bronx saw the lowest (just one ticket). In Schoharie County, 73% of cell phone tickets were written by local police last year, the greatest proportion of any county. The Bronx had the smallest proportion of local-police-issued tickets, with just 4 tickets (0.05%). Several counties saw no cell phone tickets from county police last year, including four of the five boroughs of NYC (except the Bronx, which saw 2), as well as Franklin County. More than 61% of cell phone tickets in Suffolk County were written by county police.
For texting tickets, all five of Hamilton County’s were written by State Troopers last year. In Tompkins County, 73% were written by local police. Suffolk County once again had the highest proportion of county-police-issue texting tickets (54%).
Police That Wrote the Most Seat Belt Tickets
When it comes to ticketing drivers for not wearing a seat belt, NYPD was the most aggressive law enforcement agency in the state. Approximately half of all seat belt tickets in 2018 were written by NYPD officers. State Troopers contributed the next largest share of seat belt tickets in the state, with 28%, while local cops wrote 15% of tickets and county police handed out just shy of 7%.
Police That Wrote the Most Impaired Driving Tickets
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (also called impaired driving, or DWI/DUI) is a criminal offense in New York State, but it is also a traffic violation and the DMV maintains data on impaired driving much in the same way it does other traffic offenses. Statewide, impaired driving citations were fairly evenly issued by both State Troopers and local agencies, both of which contributed 38%. County police were responsible for 21% of citations. Last year was the first year that NYPD data on impaired driving was included in the DMV database, which showed that just 3% of such charges were issued by the agency.
It’s clear that the NYPD issues the most traffic tickets of any law enforcement agency. Even when taking into account the number of vehicle miles traveled in a particular county, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx still receive the most tickets, which means the NYPD can be officially classified as the most aggressive law enforcement agency in the state. Check out our data pages for more trends and other information about New York State traffic tickets and accidents.