Will the Department of Motor Vehicles Close due to the Friday February 8th Winter Blizzard Storm?


The National Weather Service posted the following alert on Thursday, February 7th afternoon for the NYC area and Southern NY State:


Major winter storm to impact the Tri-state area Friday into Saturday.
Blizzard Warning in effect from 6 am Friday to 1 pm EST Saturday.
The National Weather Service in Upton has issued a Blizzard Warning, which is in effect from 6 am Friday to 1 pm EST Saturday.
Locations: New York City, Southern Westchester County, and coastal portions of Northeast New Jersey.
Hazard types: Heavy snow and strong winds.
Accumulations: snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches, with localized higher amounts within developing snow bands.
Winds: north 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
Temperatures: falling into the 20s by Friday evening.
Visibilities: one quarter mile or less at times.
Timing: The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur Friday evening into Saturday morning.
Impacts: Heavy snow and winds will make for dangerous driving conditions with visibilities near zero in White-out conditions. In addition, some tree limbs will be downed, causing scattered power outages.
Recommended actions
A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to Whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

So the question becomes will the NY State DMV close down local offices so as to not endanger motorist by forcing them to go to scheduled hearings?  The decision to keep offices open or to close them are made by the DMV Commissioner who decides from Albany.  To tell you the truth, the Commissioner isn't calculating the total amount of snowfall in inches or the danger to the public-- he's calculating how much money will be lost in revenues by not having hearings and salaries that get paid when there is a shutdown.

From my past 13 years of working at the DMV, major snow storms will almost never result in the motor vehicles closing or postponing trials.  What usually happens is that they will keep everyone guessing, never inform the public anything, and just open the Traffic Violations Bureau for trials.  

During the storm, a number of officers won't show up because they live outside the city and sensibly called in sick.  Computers will show officers as being injured and the vast majority of cases will be given a new date to show up (Judges rarely dismiss cases when they see that the officer is "injured" on their computer screen which evokes images of a hero holding onto dear life from bullet wounds of a criminal in the ICU when more likely than not-- the officer is home nice and warm and dry taking a sick day.).  So the joke is on the poor motorists who dragged their butt through a Snowpocalypse only to be told to come back on a later date due to the "injured" officer.

Now another thing that happens quite often is that motor vehicles will announce absolutely nothing, hoping everyone shows up.  Some cops make it in and some motorist show up and the matching trials are conducted bringing in some revenues to the state (and they don't have to pay employees for staying home).  Then, they feel bad about the complaints and all the phone calls they get and decide to give new appointments to all motorists who stayed home and missed their hearings.  Letters get sent out and in 2 or 3 days all the motorists who stayed home get their new appointment dates.  Now you are taking a big risk here because if they don't decide to give motorists a break; the computer system will just kick out thousands of suspension notices to the motorists for having missed their hearings during a Snowpocalypse.



So are you feeling lucky? Should you go into your trial?




One final option is that if your hearing is scheduled for the first time, you can easily reschedule on the internet so long as you do it before midnight on the day prior to your trial.  If you answered your ticket late or already rescheduled it, you've got to show up in person and talk to an administrative judge.




You can ignore all the bureaucratic confusing language and just go to the bottom left of the page and click on, "Go to Transaction" to enter your personal information that then allows you to reschedule from the comfort of your home.