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Driving in the United States

New York State Traffic Laws You Must Obey! Avoid Trouble With the Police:

Anyone driving a vehicle in New York State, even someone who has just arrived in the United States for the first time, must obey the following laws:

1. Seat Belt Use: The driver and all passengers in a motor vehicle must always wear their seat belt. Infants and children must be in appropriately sized infant or child car seats.This web link will give you additional information: http://www.dmv.ny.gov/dmvfaqs.htm#carseat

2. Alcohol Consumption: Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are very serious crimes in New York State, and also has serious personal consequences for foreign nationals. All international students need to know the laws on this issue, be sure to read this article on “International Student and DUI”, http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/publications/dwiarrests.html Be sure to note, “… many students do not know that a single arrest for drunk driving, commonly known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) can have serious implications for student visa renewals abroad or an application for a visa in a new category (such as H-1B).”A blood alcohol level of .08 is considered to be DWI or DUI. In addition to the potential consequences for visa renewals, you can be arrested at the time you are stopped by police and lose your driving privileges.

3. Cell Phone Use- Making calls or texting: In New York State, you must have a "hands-free device" to use your cell phone in the car while you are driving. It is also against the law to text while driving. This law is in effect on BU campus and on all roads or highways http://www.dmv.ny.gov/dmvfaqs.htm#cell

If You Are Stopped By the Police:Know what to do if you get pulled over by the police. Visit this weblink for more information: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/enforce/WhatHappensEnglish.pdf

Information about Driver's License: 

International students may drive in the United States using their foreign driver's license. A valid driver license from another country is also valid in NYS. You do not need to apply for a NYS driver license unless you become a
 resident of NYS .

If your driver's license is not written in English you will want to arrange for an International Driving Permit before you leave your home country. The International Driving Permit will be in English, so confusion will be avoided if you are stopped by US law enforcement while driving in the United States.

You can read more about this issue at the links below.

Foreign Driver's Licenses and Driving in New York State
How to Apply for a NYS Driver's License

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Last Updated: 1/8/13