VTL § 1124 Limitations on Overtaking on the Left

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

This is a statute concerning the limitations of passing in oncoming traffic. The statute is usually described as “Unsafe Passing” or “Interfered With Safe Operation” (sometimes Interfered W/ Safe Operation”).

The setting of this violation is a highway with one lane in each direction. Motorists can pass slower vehicles in front of them, depending on the dividing line of the lanes. However even where passing is theoretically permitted, it still must be done in a safe manner. Most importantly there cannot be cars coming in the opposite lane. A prima facie violation is where the passing motorist comes within 200 feet of a vehicle coming in the opposite direction. This is not the only criteria and one can be charged with VTL 1124 in any circumstance where the passing vehicle “interfered with the operation” of the vehicle approaching in the opposite diction.

The wording of the statute is as follows:

"No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this chapter and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.  In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle."

The exact fine for the violation is up to the judge. The maximum fine is $150 + $93 surcharge (total $243). The fine can be higher and there may be an additional driver assessment fee with prior violations. A conviction of this violation will add three points to a New York driving record.

The Benjamin Goldman Law Office has handled this violation. We are typically successful in getting these charges reduced to parking tickets (no points) or dismissed entirely. If you received such a ticket and want to talk about it, feel free to reach out. At the Benjamin Goldman Law Office, consultations are free.

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