This is a topic that I think everyone should know, but as I observe motorists when I'm out on the roadways, it's obvious some don't know or just choose to ignore what is legal and what is not when you are in a motor vehicle in New York State.

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But before I get to these five points, can I also remind motorists of a couple of other things that are illegal that I've witnessed lately while driving on the roadways of the Triple Cities?

One - it's illegal to go through a red light. Twice lately, a vehicle in front of me was stopped at the red light and then proceeded through. Two - In almost all cases, it's illegal to make a left turn on red. Witnessed that a couple of times as well.

Okay, on to the five things that are illegal to do in your vehicle in New York State, and sorry if you think these are obvious (and they are), but for some, it isn't.

Sleep In Your Vehicle While Intoxicated

Asleep In Car

From the DWI Lawyer NY/NJ website, if you are intoxicated, it's illegal to sleep in your car while the engine is running. Now, if the engine is off and there's no evidence you had recently been driving, the prosecutor is unable to prove you intended to move the vehicle or you just turned on the motor just to stay warm, these are the only exceptions.

Drink Alcohol/Have an Open Container

Drinking In Vehicle

Traffic states that for drivers AND passengers, it is indeed illegal to drink from or have an open container of alcohol on public roadways. For the first offense, the maximum is $150, for the second offense within 18 months of the first, $300, and for the third offense, the fine could be up to $450.

Smoke Marijuana (even passengers)

Man driving and smoking joint

According to the website, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of or impaired by any substance, including cannabis (Marijuana.) And that includes even if you are parked. This also applies to your passengers. Being high while driving puts you, any passengers, or others at a high risk of harm or death.

Kids And Pets Riding in the Back of a Pick-Up

Dog on black pick up truck -back view

I found the answer from one of our sister Townsquare stations, 98.3 Lite FM ( thanks Brandi), it is illegal to allow your pet to be in the back of a pickup truck while in motion unless they are in a secured pet carrier. As for children, of course, it is illegal. Children riding in a vehicle with no seatbelts is a big no-no.

Riding In The Cargo Area Of A Vehicle

Child In Back Of Vehicle

You know, a vehicle that has a cargo area like a hatchback, van, or mini-van. states for New York State:

Inapplicable to trips of 5 miles or less; inapplicable to trips of more than 5 miles if one-third or less of the passengers are standing or if suitable seats are securely attached and there are side rails and a tailgate; inapplicable to trips of more than 5 miles if there are less than 5 persons 17 or younger in the cargo area or if at least one person 18 or older is in the cargo area. -

It's interesting to note in the report that there are several states that have no laws for this.

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