New York Tailgating Accident Lawyer

New York tailgating accidents are among the most preventable accidents on the road today. A driver who follows another car too closely without allowing the proper distance puts themselves and others at risk.

If you have been injured in a tailgating accident, it is time to fight back. Cellino Law is ready to help give you the justice you deserve. We have 60 years’ worth of experience and considerable resources at our disposal.

When we take on your case, we will not rest until you get compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (800) 555-5555 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless you win!

What is the Legal Definition of Tailgating in New York?

When operating a vehicle in New York, the law states you must keep a certain amount of distance between you and the car in front of you. While there is no specific amount given, you must give “reasonable and prudent” space to other vehicles to prevent tailgating accidents.

This means when driving, you must consider:

  • The speed of other vehicles on the road
  • The flow of traffic
  • The number of cars on the road
  • Road conditions


While safe and proper distance isn’t measured in feet, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles advises you to give at least 2 seconds’ worth of space. This is the bare minimum in decent weather conditions.

If the roads are bad or you are around large trucks, that number grows to 4 seconds. This is proper defensive driving etiquette as outlined by the DMV. Drivers who follow other cars too closely and cause a tailgating accident can face fines and criminal charges.

How Much Space Do Commercial Vehicles Need?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study which found that 5 percent of truck accidents were the result of commercial drivers following too closely.

At 40 mph, a truck will need one second for every 10 feet of its length. The minimum space between the average commercial vehicle and the car in front of it is 4 seconds. If it is traveling over 40 mph, 1 second’s worth of space should be added.

If you have been injured by a commercial vehicle that was following too close, call a car accident attorney today. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and damage to your property. Talk to Cellino Law in a free consultation session to find out.

What Fines and Penalties Can Tailgaters Receive in New York?

Tailgating in New York is a crime. It is one of the many aggressive driving behaviors that can cause an accident. Drivers must always maintain a safe distance from the car ahead. If they don’t, they can face fines and penalties.


For a first offense, a person convicted of tailgating can be fined up to $150. If he or she does it a second time within 18 months, the fine is raised to $300. It is raised again to $450 for a third offense.

Points on their license

New York takes tailgating violations seriously. If a driver is caught, he or she will incur a 4-point offense. This is one of the highest point traffic violations in the state.

State surcharge

Depending on the location where the driver was ticketed, he or she may pay an extra surcharge for tailgating violations of either $88 or $93.

Driver Responsibility Assessment fee

Any driver in New York who racks up 6 points or more in driving violations will have to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee. Once the 6-point mark is hit, it is an automatic $300 fine, plus an additional $75 for every point over that. Considering the vehicle and traffic law states a tailgating accident is worth 4 points, any other violation could result in a DRA fee.

Increase in auto insurance

If someone gets a ticket for violating the law, it is common for his or her insurance company to hike the rate of coverage by as much as 30 percent.

What Injuries Are Common After Tailgating Accidents?

Car accident injuries happen due to the brunt force of heavy vehicles slamming into each other at high speeds. Even if you are not moving at all, a tailgating accident can cause lasting severe injuries.

Your body can be thrown forward against your seatbelt, which holds you in place. This motion snaps your head forward then back as you come to rest. This is called whiplash, one common injury in tailgating accidents.

Whiplash symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of motion
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Shoulder pain and tenderness
  • Dizziness


Other injuries to the neck, spine, and brain are also possible depending on where exactly you were hit and how fast the other car was traveling. Broken bones, abrasions, cuts, and internal injuries can happen as well.

If you are involved in a tailgating car accident, it is important to seek medical care even if you feel okay. According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash symptoms do not always show up right away and can take hours to days before they fully set in.

What Causes New York Tailgating Accidents?

Tailgating accidents don’t only happen when people are driving too closely but can also be the result of distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of distractions that can cause a car accident, such as:

  • Reaching for loose objects
  • Changing the radio
  • Talking or texting on the phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Chatting with passengers


Any of these situations can take our attention away from what is going on in front of us. Taking your eyes off the road for even 5 seconds can have devastating consequences. Moving at 55 mph is the equivalent of closing your eyes and driving the length of a football field. If the car in front of you slows down or stops, you are likely to rear-end the vehicle.

Other potential causes of tailgating accidents are reckless and aggressive driving. If a driver is simply failing to follow the speed limit, give enough space, and indicate switching lanes, a car accident is likely. Someone may also drive close to another person’s car out of road rage or when trying to get the other party to move out of the way.

Can You Receive Compensation After a Tailgating Car Accident?

If you were hit by someone who was tailgating you, you may have sustained minor or severe injuries. Most kinds of injuries can wreak havoc on your life, as you well know.

You may:

  • Miss time at work
  • Rack up massive hospital bills
  • Endure pain, suffering, and mental anguish
  • Become permanently disabled


If you have been injured in a tailgating accident, please reach out to the personal injury attorneys at Cellino Law. You deserve to be compensated and our New York team has the experience you need along with the proven results to reassure you.

We are attorneys New Yorkers you can trust because we go the extra mile to make a difference in our clients’ lives. Our firm has collected over $2 billion in settlements over the years!

No matter your circumstances, we can come to you. Do not hesitate to call Cellino Law today at (800) 555-5555. Our attorneys are standing by 24/7 to assist you with a free consultation.



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