Tailgating is one of the main causes of rear-end accidents in the United States, which make up one-third of all auto accidents annually. While safe drivers should maintain some distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, tailgating is the act of driving too closely to the car in front of you. Driving so close means that you will not have enough space or time to stop without causing a collision if the car in front of you were to brake unexpectedly. Especially on highways while traveling at fast speeds, vehicles need sometimes hundreds of feet of braking distance. Tailgating is illegal in New York because of the significant danger that it poses to drivers. For assistance with your tailgating ticket or case, an experienced rear-end accident lawyer can help.

rear end tailgating accident

Why Do Drivers Tailgate?

Even knowing that it is illegal and extremely dangerous, tailgating is all too common on New York roadways. People may tailgate for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the following.

  • Road rage is one of the leading causes of tailgating. If a car gets cut off or is in a rush and is annoyed at the speed of the driver in front of them they may use tailgating as a way to reprimand or punish the other driver. They are striving to make the driver uncomfortable or force them to change lanes so they can pass them.
  • Distracted driving can be another culprit. When a driver is not paying attention to the road they may not realize how close they are to the vehicle in front of them or the danger they are putting themselves in by following too closely.
  • Intoxicated driving is dangerous for numerous reasons, tailgating being one. Drugs and alcohol can impair a driver’s vision and ability to perceive depth and distance. An intoxicated driver may tailgate the car ahead of them.
  • Drivers may also be unaware that they are tailgating. They might truly believe that they have plenty of space and are unaware that they need more distance between cars when they are traveling at such speeds.

Is Tailgating Illegal in NY?

Tailgating is considered an illegal traffic violation according to New York state law. Vehicle and Traffic Law §1129(a) states that a driver cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable, considering the speeds, traffic, and road conditions. Although the exact distance is not specified, motorists are required to leave an adequate amount of space between cars, generally at least one or more car lengths.

Tailgating is a serious traffic offense in New York. Penalties for getting caught following too closely can include:

  • Fines of $150 to $450, depending on if it is your first offense or a subsequent offense
  • Four points added to your license
  • State surcharges
  • Increased insurance rates

Getting caught tailgating can result in serious financial implications, but more importantly, it can cause significant bodily injury and even death. Tailgating was made illegal due to the dangers it presents to drivers. For legal assistance in your tailgating case reach out to a skilled attorney for assistance.