8 Things to Know About Driver’s License Points
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- Not used everywhere
- Not all violations count
- Insurance companies don’t use
- Consequences of too many
- Checking point total
- Removing points
- Cheap insurance
The majority of states use a driver’s license point system, and each state has its own rules and regulations about how many points a certain infraction incurs, and how long the points stay on your record.
Collecting too many points on your license can result in your license being suspended or revoked.
The good news is, insurance companies don’t rely solely on the driver’s license point system to determine your car insurance rates.
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While the point system does vary from state to state, here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind—no matter where you live.
1. Some states don’t use a point system
While the majority of states utilize a driver’s license point system, there are nine states that do not. The states that do not use a point system are:
- Rhode Island
Key Takeaway Not every state uses a point system. However, every state does have a system that keeps track of traffic violations.
2. Not every traffic violation earns points
Not all traffic violations incur points, particularly non-moving violations, such as fix-it tickets or parking tickets. Accidents where you’re not at fault won’t show up as points on your record either.
The incidents that do incur points are mostly moving violations. Each violation carries its own penalty, depending on its severity. These types of violations include at-fault accidents, reckless driving, speeding, and driving under the influence.
Key Takeaway Moving violations tend to show up as points on your record, while non-moving violations may not incur points.
3. Insurance companies don’t really use the point system
While insurance companies don’t use the DMV’s point system when determining your rates, that doesn’t mean that the point system isn’t a factor. Your driver’s license points are still a part of your driving record.
Insurance companies use their own proprietary systems to determine how your rates will be affected by any violations you have committed. Moving violations trigger a chargeable period, a time period when the violation, depending on its severity, can affect your insurance rates. The violation will add points to your license and it will show up on your driving record and your insurance company’s system.
Key Takeaway Insurance companies use their own proprietary systems to determine your insurance rates.
4. Getting too many points can have big consequences
Too many points on your license accumulated in a certain period of time can lead to your license being suspended, or even revoked. There’s also a possibility of probation. While the time period and point total can vary from state to state, the repercussions remain consistently drastic.
If you have a DUI on your record, for example, two points will be added to your license and they will stay on your record for years.
Additionally, two speeding tickets within a few years can cause your license to be revoked. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to keep further points off of your license.
Key Takeaway Try to keep points off your license, as too many points may result in your license being revoked or suspended.
5. Points don’t work the same way everywhere
Each state that uses the point system has its own limits before your driver’s license is suspended.
The following chart is only for states that utilize a point system. If you live in one of the nine states that uses a different system, check out your local DMV website to learn more.
|State||Point Threshold before Licence Suspension||Time Period|
|Arkansas||14||Any given time|
|Illinois||3 moving violations||1 year|
|Indiana||3 major violations||10 years|
|Massachusetts||12||Any given time|
|New Hampshire||12||1 year|
|New Jersey||12||Any given time|
|New Mexico||7||1 year|
|New York||11||1.5 years|
|North Carolina||12||3 years|
|North Dakota||11||Any given time|
|Pennsylvania||6||Any given time|
|South Carolina||12||Any given time|
|South Dakota||15||1 year|
|West Virginia||12||Any given time|
|Washington D.C.||10||Any given time|
Always remember that different states apply different numbers of points to violations. For example, reckless driving in California will put 2 points on your license, but in Utah, it will put 80 points on your license.
It’s also important to remember that if your license is registered in one state, but you commit a violation in a different state, you receive points or demerits based on your home state’s system.
Key Takeaway Every state uses a different point system. If you commit a violation in a state other than where your license is registered, your state of origin’s rules will apply, even if you commit a violation in a state that doesn’t use a point system.
6. Points can stay on your record for a long time
Just like how different states apply different point numbers to violations, they also apply different time frames to how long those violations will stay on your record.
There are some consistencies across the board, but certain violations can have vastly different expiration dates depending on the state. For example, in California, a DUI will stay on your record for 10 years but in Florida, a DUI will stay on your record for up to 75 years.
7. Knowing how to check your point total is worthwhile
If you’re not sure how many points you have on your license, it’s easy to check—all you have to do is request a copy of your driving record from your state DMV. You can view the record online, or have a certified copy mailed to your residence.
There is usually a small fee for access to your driving record, but residents of Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and Iowa can view their driving record free of charge.
8. Removing points should be a priority
For certain violations, like speeding, you can get your points removed from your license.
You can attend traffic school to remove points off of your license. You’ll pay an additional fee on top of the ticket fine, and then attend traffic school via your DMV. Upon completion, the ticket (usually a speeding ticket) will be removed from your record and you won’t incur any points from it.
Traffic school is almost exclusively online now and can be done at your convenience! But there is a limit to how often you can attend traffic school for speeding tickets. In California, for example, traffic school is only offered once every 18 months. Any additional speeding tickets incurred in that time frame will stay on your record.
To obtain a deferral, you must request one from your local court. There is no guarantee that it will be granted, especially if you have a history of incurring tickets. If you’re approved, you’ll pay a fee, typically $100 to $150, and you must stay ticket-free for one year.
If you incur another ticket during this probation period, the deferral will automatically be revoked. You’ll be on the hook for the original ticket and the new ticket will also show up on your driving record.
Contest in court
The last option is the most time-consuming but might be worth looking into: contesting the ticket in court. If you feel that you have a reason as to why you shouldn’t be at fault, you might want to go this route.
Ticketing officers don’t know your circumstances when they write you a ticket, but a judge might be willing to hear you out.
It is possible that you received the ticket while you were dealing with a family emergency, or perhaps there was a mistake with some traffic signage. If the officer who administered the ticket doesn’t show up on the court date, the judge will automatically rule in your favor.
Please bear in mind that major violations, like DUIs and at-fault accidents, can’t be removed with anything other than time. And, as mentioned before, depending on the state, different violations take different lengths of time to be removed from your record.
MORE: 14 Safe Driving Tips
Jerry can help you find cheap car insurance
Even if you can’t remove points from your record, Jerry is still on your side.
Jerry will compare insurance rates from top companies to find you a rate that can save you money, even if your record is far from perfect.
If you want to save money on car insurance, the Jerry app is a good place to start. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.
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Will 3 points affect my insurance?
Yes, but not in the way that you may think. Because states apply different numbers of points to different violations, 3 points can be more severe in some states and less severe in others.
How your insurance is affected is dependent entirely on the violation committed, not the points it incurred. Insurance companies don’t use your point total to determine your rates, but the violations will show up on both the point system and the insurance company’s own system.
How much does 1 point affect insurance?
It depends on the violation, but most violations that incur 1 point are minor. Traffic tickets can be 1-point infractions, but likely won’t affect your insurance rates.
That having been said, at-fault accidents are also 1 point in many states, and they most likely will affect your insurance rates.
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