New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1129(a) outlines the regulations and penalties for “following too close,” or as many people commonly refer to it, tailgating. Tailgating is a moving traffic violation that is punishable by fines, traffic school and points against your driving record. Following too closely is a huge reason why people get into car accidents in New York. Tailgating is the result of at least one third of all rear-end driving collision in the United States.
There are a few reasons why people tailgate. Intimidation may be a factor; people will follow incredibly close to drivers who they think are going to slow, in an effort to get them to pull into the other lane. Sometimes, drivers just simply do not understand the risk of driving so closely and do not realize that if they rear-end the driver in front of them, it is always their fault. Other reckless drivers will “slip-stream,” or follow close to larger vehicles or trucks in an effort to catch their draft in order to improve their fuel economy.
New York’s Department of Motor Vehicle’s specifically addresses concerns related to tailgating on the state’s highways and city streets. In the state’s DMV Driver’s Manual, it is recommended that drivers allow for as much space between their car and the next as would be accommodated for by providing a distance of at least two seconds between each of the vehicles cars. To do so, the DMV advises drivers to identify an object and then count the seconds between the time at which the vehicle ahead of them passes the chosen object and the time at which the driver passes that same object. As defined in the DMV’s driving manual, allowing for any time less than this two-second period can be considered tailgating, which is illegal according to the New York Vehicle and Transportation Law (N.Y. VLTS).
If you were hit by a driver who was following too close to your vehicle, you may have experienced whiplash, airbag collision or you yourself may have been pushed into another vehicle in front of you. The commonly followed rule is to stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you for every 10MPH you are traveling. If you have been rear-ended because of a tailgater, it is important that you contact Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., as soon as possible. Our professional and reliable staff can fight for your compensation and defend you in a court of law. You have no time to lose, so contact us today!