New York state laws and Fort Drum regulations of special interest to Soldiers and families


Private Weapons

In New York state, it is a criminal offense – punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine – to possess a privately owned handgun in your residence or on your person unless you have been issued a New York state pistol permit. The only exception is for unloaded antique and replica muzzle-loading pistols and cap-and-ball revolvers.

Handguns may be brought to Fort Drum from an overseas assignment if they are shipped with household goods or hold baggage shipment as authorized by Chapter 13, Army Regulation 55-71. However, upon arriving at Fort Drum, handgun owners must contact the Directorate of Emergency Services, Law Enforcement Division at (315) 772-5156 or (315) 772-5157. Let them know handguns are coming. When the shipment arrives, notify the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at (315) 786-2711. Advise them of your weapon information (i.e., type, caliber, serial number) and follow their instructions. Until they are properly registered, handguns must be stored in unit arms rooms.

While there is no requirement to register rifles and shotguns in New York, there is a requirement to register them and other dangerous weapons (i.e., pellet and BB guns and any other weapon that fires a projectile) on Fort Drum.


Traffic Regulations

New York state law requires that all individuals operating a motor vehicle in the state be properly licensed to drive a motor vehicle. However, if an individual has an expired driver's license, certain states do have military extensions for state residents.

Vehicle insurance is required by law for all motor vehicles operating in New York state.

Members of the military are not required to register cars in New York state, as long as they hold a valid registration from another state. New York state does not acknowledge U.S. Army Europe driver's licenses as being valid for motor vehicle operation. Also, drivers have 45 days to obtain New York registration if a car has Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) license plates from overseas.

Personnel assigned to Fort Drum are required to have their vehicles inspected at least annually if the vehicle is registered in a state that requires annual safety inspections. The inspection may be from the state where the vehicle is registered or from an official New York State Inspection Station if the New York State Inspection complies with the state requirements in which the vehicle is registered. This certificate must be displayed in accordance with the state performing the inspection. It is the owner’s/operator’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle has both a current state registration and safety inspection when required.



Parking is prohibited if it impedes the flow of traffic, especially within 20 feet of any entrance of a fire station, crosswalk or intersection. Parking is prohibited on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

As a general rule, there is no parking on grassy or seeded areas, unless specifically authorized by the Directorate of Public Works or the garrison commander.

There is no parking in fire lanes, within 15 feet of any building or fire hydrant, on sidewalks and railroad tracks. There is no parking along the shoulder area of and roadway or highway on Fort Drum, to include housing, from Nov. 1 through April 1, except in paved marked parking areas.


Cell Phones

In New York and on all federal installations, it is illegal to operate cell phones while driving unless you are using a hand-free device. This law applies to cell phone use in privately owned vehicles and military vehicles.


Pet Microchipping

Fort Drum requires mandatory microchipping for all registered privately owned cats and dogs. Registration is mandatory; owners must register their four-legged friends within three days of arrival.

The grain-of-rice-sized microchip is inserted via needle and syringe just under the skin between the animal's shoulder blades. The procedure of inserting the microchip is similar to receiving a vaccination and causes minimal discomfort to the animal.

For more information about the microchip, call the Fort Drum Veterinary Clinic at (315) 772-4262.


Bicycle Helmets

New York state law requires all children younger than 14 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. All personnel riding a bicycle on Fort Drum must wear a bike helmet.  



New York Vehicle and Traffic laws do not have legislation regulating in-line skates, roller skates and skateboards. New York State Police use pedestrian guidelines. Skaters should skate facing traffic and should not interfere with the flow of traffic. Watertown City Police enforce a city code that restricts use of skates on sidewalks.

On Fort Drum, the Directorate of Emergency Services, Law Enforcement Division enforces Regulation 190-5, which restricts use of roller skates and skateboards to unoccupied sidewalks, pathways, outdoor tennis and basketball courts, and unoccupied  parking lots (behind Magrath Gym).

In-line skates are authorized on roadways with the use of proper safety equipment (protective helmet, knee pads and wrist pads).


Recreational Vehicles

Fort Drum Regulation 420-3, Fort Drum Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Camping and Supplement to Army Regulation 210-9, outline the use of snowmobiles, trail bikes, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The use of ATVs is NOT ALLOWED on Fort Drum, except by trappers. Trappers are allowed to use recreational vehicles during the trapping season in training areas. However, trappers must follow check-in / check-out procedures, possess a valid New York State Trapping License and a valid Fort Drum trapping permit. 

Snowmobiles are authorized for recreational riding in training areas 7E, 7F and 7G south of NYS Route 3A. Snowmobile operators will follow all check-in / check-out procedures and possess a valid Fort Drum recreational permit.

All recreational vehicles must have valid liability insurance and New York state registration. Their use in the cantonment area is prohibited.



Before operating any motorcycle, Soldiers will successfully complete appropriate safety training under the Progressive Motorcycle Program. All Soldiers who operate a motorcycle on or off post are required to complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course or state-approved curriculum. All civilian personnel and contracted employees who are properly licensed to ride a motorcycle will not be required to receive service-sponsored training in order to operate on a DoD installation. Military retirees and family members are not permitted to attend Army-sponsored training.

Riders must wear the following equipment: Department of Transportation-approved helmet properly fastened under the chin; eye protection (glasses, goggles or face shield); over-the-ankle footwear; and long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers and full fingered gloves or mittens made of abrasion-resistant material. Riders are encouraged to select PPE that incorporates fluorescent colors and retro-reflective material.

Motorcycles must be registered and insured. Drivers must, at minimum, have a learner's permit or motorcycle license. All motorcycles must be able to pass a New York state inspection.

For the latest information, contact the Command Safety Office at (315) 772-4672/3022.


Additional Information


Driving in Canada

Passport and current United States visa, or a copy of naturalization certificate for foreign-born individuals who have become United States citizens, are required when crossing the United States and Canadian borders. NOTE: Soldiers assigned to Fort Drum need a signed DA Form 31 before going to Canada. Additionally, Soldiers need to have attended a Canadian Country Briefing before traveling. The Installation Security Office provides country briefings monthly on the third Thursday of the month. Civilian employees and family members are encouraged to attend this briefing.

Travelers are required to have a "Non-Resident, Inter-Province Vehicle Liability Identification Card" when driving in Canada. These can be obtained through your insurance company. Anyone who is stopped by Canadian law enforcement must present a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of current liability insurance.

Remove any radar detectors from vehicles before crossing the border. They are strictly illegal in Canada; if found during a check of a vehicle, they will be confiscated and destroyed, and drivers will be subject to a stiff fine. A DoD directive also makes radar detectors illegal on Fort Drum.

Remember that speed limits and distances in Canada are posted in kilometers (1 km = 6/10 of a mile).


Temporary Passes

Vehicles without decals must apply for a temporary pass at the Visitors Center located in Bldg. 11008. Hours of operation for passes are 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. After hours, passes must be obtained at the Main Gate security building.