NY Improper Turn

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Many people question why they were given a ticket for an improper turn when there was no signage prohibiting the turn itself.

An improper turn doesn’t have to do whether the turn itself was legally allowed. The violation has to do with how the turn was executed.

Basically, left and right turns need to be made from as far to the left and right of the roadway as practicable.

A conviction for the traffic violation carries two points.

Here’s the entire relevant section of the NYS VTL.

ยง 1160. Required position and method of turning at intersections. The
driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as
follows:
(a) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn
shall be made as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of
the roadway or, where travel on the shoulder or slope has been
authorized, from the shoulder or slope.
(b) Left turns on two-way roadways. At any intersection where traffic
is permitted to move in both directions on each roadway entering the
intersection, an approach for a left turn shall be made in that portion
of the right half of the roadway nearest the center line thereof and by
passing to the right of such center line where it enters the
intersection and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be
made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line of
the roadway being entered. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be
made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of
the intersection.
(c) Left turns on other than two-way roadways. At any intersection
where traffic is restricted to one direction on one or more of the
roadways, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any such
intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand
lane of the roadway lawfully available to traffic moving in the
direction of travel of such vehicle or, where travel on the shoulder or
slope has been authorized, from the shoulder or slope, and after
entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the
intersection, as nearly as practicable, in the left-hand lane lawfully
available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being
entered.
(d) When markers, buttons, signs, or other markings are placed within
or adjacent to intersections and thereby require and direct that a
different course from that specified in this section be traveled by
vehicles turning at an intersection, no driver of a vehicle shall turn a
vehicle at an intersection other than as directed and required by such
markers, buttons, signs, or other markings.
(e) U-turns. U-turns shall be made from and to that portion of the
highway nearest the marked center line. Where more than one lane of a
highway has been designated for left turns, U-turns shall be made only
from the lane so designated that is adjacent to the marked center line.

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  • A suspension at 11 points is not always mandatory. Some judges have discretion to waive a points-based suspension.