2010-05-28Driver’s License Points Systems
State point systems
In most states, when a driver is ticketed for a moving violation such as speeding, running a red light, unsafe lane change, and so on, he or she gains points on their driving record.
In someone isn’t careful and they accumulate points during a short period of time, they can lose their driving privileges.
Points systems vary from state to state but the majority work one of two ways:
System 1: Ordinary moving violations are one point however, some violations such as excessive speed can acquire two points. Typically a driver’s license is suspended when a driver receives four points in a year, six points in two years, or eight in three years.
System 2: Two points are added for minor violations such as an illegal turn or speeding. Three or more points are added for more serious violations such as running a red light. A license can be suspended if the driver accumulates 12 points in three years.
Points can also be assessed for a driver who is found at fault in an accident.
Points and insurance rates
Insurance companies regularly review driving records and can raise premiums if a driver accumulates a certain number of points. Typically, the number of points depends upon a driver’s state and insurance company.
Often an insurer will allow one moving violation every 3 to 5 years. Anything beyond that will most certainly raise premiums and definitely so if the driver is found at fault for an accident.
Rates generally will go up twenty to thirty percent depending upon the number of points and/or the severity of an accident.
Avoiding and removing points
There are several ways to avoid or remove points:
- Contest the ticket One possible way to avoid points is to contest the ticket.
- Traffic school Paying the ticket and attending traffic school means the points will not go on a person’s driving record. While this may seem like a hassle, it is more of a sure thing than trying to contest the ticket.
- Defensive driving classes Defensive driving classes are a good way to have points removed from a license.
This is by far the most difficult method of avoiding points. Most people typically hire law firms which specialize in contesting traffic tickets. These firms typically charge a nominal fee and are becoming a popular way of beating tickets.
Nevertheless, certain restrictions may apply. For example, if the driver has previous moving violations on their record, then contesting a ticket is unlikely to work.
How often one can attend traffic school depends on the jurisdiction. Some only allow attendance once per year. Others have even stricter requirements of once every eighteen months to two years. If someone is ticketed for driving fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, local law may forbid attending traffic school altogether.
Some states allow attending traffic school online while others require signing up with a clerk of the court or appearing before a judge.
Because an insurance company wants to insure good drivers who are low risk, drivers who take defensive driving classes are perceived as safer.