Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian in New York

What Are the Penalties for Failing to Yield Right of Way to a Pedestrian in NY?

Fines: A ticket for Failing to yield right of way to a pedestrian (VTL 1151-a) can cost between $0 and $150 for a first offense. A second offense in 18 months can cost between $0 and $300 and a third offense in 18 months can cost between $0 and $450.

Surcharges: New York State adds a mandatory surcharge of $88 or $93 to each ticket for VTL 1151-a. This is in addition to the fine.

Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRA): Drivers convicted of six or more points worth of violations within an 18-month period will be charged a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee (DRA). This is separate from and in addition to the surcharges and fines. The DRA costs $300 for six points plus an additional $75 for each point after six.

Pedestrian right of way in cross walkPoints: A conviction for failing to yield to a pedestrian in NY can result in 3 points being assessed on one’s license.

Auto insurance increase: Drivers with a failing to yield to a pedestrian conviction on their driving record can see a notable increase in their auto insurance premiums. One study found that a conviction for VTL 1151-a can raise rates by as much as 19%.

Hiring an Attorney 

Failing to yield to a pedestrian is a moving violation in New York State. As such, it can result in points on one’s license, which can increase the risk of a DRA and cause insurance premiums to go up. It will also not be seen favorably by employers who may require driving as part of the job responsibilities. All this makes it important to hire an attorney to help beat a charge of VTL 1151-a.  

How to Fight a NY Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian Tickets

VTL 1151 and 1152 establishes the parameters for pedestrians’ right of way at intersections. For the most part, a driver must yield to a pedestrian exiting a sidewalk at an intersection into a roadway, regardless of whether or not there was a marked crosswalk or pedestrian cross signal. That said, there are situations in which pedestrians are denied the right of way over vehicles and which could be used to defend oneself against a charge of VTL 1151-a. This includes:

  • If the pedestrian exited the curb suddenly and too closely to the vehicle to give it time to yield.
  • If there was a pedestrian overpass or tunnel available at the intersection.
  • If the pedestrian exited the sidewalk somewhere other than the marked/unmarked crosswalk intersection.
  • If the pedestrian crossed the street diagonally (unless traffic control device or officer permitted such action).

With a charge of failing to yield to a pedestrian, the burden of proof will be on the driver to demonstrate innocence. Without solid proof, it will be the word of the driver against the word of the police officer (and possibly one or more pedestrians). The judge will almost always side with the officer in such cases. An attorney can help a driver determine if there is sufficient evidence to win an acquittal and how best to present this evidence. An alternative strategy (where applicable) would be to negotiate the ticket to a lower-point offense which usually carries a lower fine as well.

NY Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian Tickets and Out-of-State Drivers

Different states have different rules regarding right of way for pedestrians and automobiles. Out-of-state drivers can easily get confused and end up getting hit with a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian while driving in New York. It is important that drivers never make the mistake of assuming that just because the ticket occurred out of state that it won’t affect them—most states share information about traffic ticket convictions. That means a conviction is likely to end up on one’s driving record regardless of which state issued the ticket. Since failing to yield to pedestrian is a moving violation, it can also impact one’s out-of-state auto insurance as well.  

Common Questions

Do pedestrians always have the right of way?

No. At intersections with crossing signals, pedestrians must wait for the “walk” signal before entering the intersection. In addition, VTL 1151(b) states that pedestrians in NY are not permitted to cross the street if there is insufficient time for a car to yield. Lastly, according to VTL 1152 (a), cars have right of way at any other part of the road other than the intersection.

What if there is no marked crosswalk?

Pedestrians still have right of way at an intersection, even if there is no marked crosswalk.

Who has right of way when a vehicle is entering or exiting the roadway?

Pedestrians have the right of way whenever a car is about to enter or exit the road via a driveway, parking lot, private road or alleyway.

Is it a crime to not yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk?

It depends. Simply failing to yield—intentionally or otherwise—is not inherently a criminal act. If not yielding results in striking a pedestrian, police may determine that the circumstances constitute criminal negligence.

Is it considered reckless driving to not yield to a pedestrian?

Not necessarily. By itself, failing to yield to a pedestrian is not considered reckless driving. However, disregard for the presence of a pedestrian can be a factor in an officer’s decision to charge a driver with reckless driving.