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Mirror Laws in New York

Posted in New York Law on May 8, 2023

Mirror Laws in New York

There are certain pieces of equipment that New York requires on every vehicle in the state, like windshield wipers. Some of the most important pieces of equipment that must be on every car are side and rearview mirrors.

Mirrors allow you to see other vehicles even when they aren’t directly in your line of sight. When used properly, they reduce the likelihood of car accidents. But each state has different laws regarding the proper use of mirrors. So what do New York laws require?

Positioning Mirrors to Prevent Blind Spots

Mirrors are only effective at preventing accidents when used properly. On a standard vehicle, if you position your side mirrors and rearview mirror the wrong way, you will create several blind spots where cars aren’t visible, even if you are looking in your mirrors.

The New York DMV provides recommendations to minimize the blind spots around your vehicle. You should:

  • Make sure your rearview mirror allows you to see all of the rear window
  • Ensure the entire side of your car is visible in your left mirror
  • Adjust the right mirror so you can just see the edge of the right side of your car
  • Confirm your mirror positions while at a stop and while moving

Keep in mind that mirrors may move around while you are driving. You should regularly re-adjust them to ensure that you are driving safely.

Obstruction of Vision and Rearview Mirrors

One of the least-known laws in New York involves rearview mirrors. According to New York law, it is illegal to hang anything from your rearview mirror that blocks your line of sight.

This may seem like a pretty toothless law, but in practice, it is quite vicious. Many police officers will pull you over for objects as benign as fuzzy dice or air fresheners hanging from your rearview mirror. This is considered to be a primary offense, so a police officer can pull you over for this, even if you aren’t doing anything else illegal.

And while this law is designed to prevent car accidents, many police officers use it as an excuse to investigate other potential crimes. Once they have pulled you over, they may start asking questions about drugs, weapons, or other crimes much more serious than a traffic violation.

If you find yourself in this situation, remember a few things. First, you are not required to answer any questions that aren’t relevant to the reason you were pulled over. Second, you can insist on a lawyer being present before you answer any questions. Furthermore, you can refuse to let them search your car, and in fact, you should.

Penalties for Mirror Violations in New York 

Most mirror violations will result in a fine and points on your license if the police officer gives you a ticket. If your mirrors are missing, your car is unsafe to drive, and it will probably be impounded on the spot.

You can fight mirror violations in court, and many judges will decrease the penalties if you correct the problem. This is particularly easy if your violation is for hanging something from your rearview mirror. You just need to remove the object and show that your view is now clear.

If you have broken or missing equipment, you should get it repaired or replaced before your court date and provide the court with a copy of the receipt for the repair work. This will likely get you leeway.

Avoid Mirror Violations in New York

If you regularly drive in New York, be careful to avoid mirror violations. At best, getting pulled over is an annoyance, and at worst, it could cost you thousands of dollars. Keep your car in good maintenance, and don’t hang anything from your mirrors.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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