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Your Guide to Drivers License Points - Everything you need to know

Driver’s License Points

Think of driver’s license points the same way as golf -the lower the number of points, the better. Having several points on your driver’s license suggests that you have numerous traffic violations and are a high-risk driver to insure. These driving license points will also increase your car insurance premiums, and too many may result in your driver’s license being suspended altogether.

In this post, we cover how the driver’s license point system works, the penalties it entails, and what to do with points on your driver’s license.

How Does The Drivers License Points System Work?

Many states, use the driver’s license point system. The driver’s license point system, in turn, enables the vehicle insurance companies to look at any driver’s amount of points to assess how high their risk is as a driver is to insure.

Driving license points are assigned on a per offense basis, with each driving or traffic offense earning you a certain number of points on your driver license. Driving license points add up with each traffic violation, especially when they are in succession in a certain period of time, usually a 12-month period. Note that some offenses may result in more driving license points than others, depending on severity.

Consequences include being labeled as a high-risk driver, from 30-day suspension to up to one-year suspension of your driving license, increased car insurance premiums, and a surcharge of your vehicle insurance policy.

You can obtain driver’s license points through the following traffic violations:

  • Speeding ticket
  • Running lights
  • Reckless driving
  • DUIs or driving under influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while not in possession of a valid commercial driver license
  • Refusing to move over for emergency vehicles
  • Faulty or erratic lane changes
  • Use of an improper lane
  • Unsafe operation or improper operation of motorbikes
  • Not carrying car insurance, not even liability insurance
  • Leaving a scene of accident
  • Ignoring a traffic control device, such as a traffic light, or traffic control signals

What States Don’t Use a Driver’s License Point System?

While most states use a driver’s license point system, there are nine that do not.

These states do not keep track of your driver’s license points, but they do keep track of your traffic violations and accidents to monitor your risk and suspend your driver’s license if need be. These traffic violations will still affect your vehicle insurance premiums.

States that don’t use the driver’s license point system are:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

How Many Driver’s License Points Result in a Suspension?

A driving license suspension because of a certain number of driver’s license points doesn’t last forever, but how long the suspension period will be is determined by the number of driver’s license points you have and how quickly you accumulated them. Every state manages and penalizes driver license points differently, so a certain number of driver’s license points in one state may not be as major as it would in another.

Let’s use California as an example. A six-month license suspension can be due to accumulating four driver’s license points in one year, six driver license points in two years, and eight driving license points in three years. A single violation can add anywhere from one to three points to your drivers license.

How do Drivers License Points Affect Vehicle Insurance Rates?

Car insurance companies have their own drivers license point systems different from the state’s or DMV’s one. It functions the same, wherein your traffic violations will be monitored and car insurance rates adjusted accordingly.

The most common cause for increased vehicle insurance rates is moving violations. These include careless driving, speeding, illegal turns, DUIs, failure to stop, at-fault injuries, and property damage.

Can You Access Your Driving Record?

Yes, you can access your complete driver record, and for free.

Visit your state’s DMV website and enter your driver license details to view your driving record or have your driver record mailed to you. Some states may have fees in order to access your driving records online. You can also ask your vehicle insurance provider to send you a copy when it comes time to renew your car insurance policy.

Are There Traffic Tickets That Don’t Add Points to Drivers License?

Minor offenses and non-moving accidents generally won’t add points to your drivers license. These can be such things as parking tickets or being pulled over by a law enforcement officer due to broken car light. While you will still have to pay a fine, your car insurance premiums will remain the same.

Is Texting While Driving a Traffic Violation That Adds Points to Drivers License?

Texting while behind the wheel is banned in several states and considered a moving violation in some. There are states that add points to your drivers license if you receive texting and driving ticket.

Since it’s considered a moving violation, your car insurance premiums may also increase by an average of 23%. Every state adds a different amount of points to a drivers license for texting and driving violations. New York, for example, adds five points while Wisconsin adds four.

How Long do Points Stay on Your Drivers License?

In most states, points on your driving license from a lesser violation tend to stick around for a two to three-year period.

In some states like California, a major violation like a DUI can stay on your drivers license for ten years. Sometimes, violations as serious as DUIs can result in your driving license being suspended immediately.

How Can You Lower Your Vehicle Insurance Rates After Too Many Drivers License Points?

After any traffic violation or accident, your vehicle insurance premiums will rise. For a lot of people, there is such thing as too high car insurance premiums.

So, here are some ways you can lower your vehicle insurance rates after accumulating too many points on your drivers license:

  • Shop around vehicle insurers - Different car insurance companies price their car insurance policies differently. It helps to gather at least three car insurance quotes from different vehicle insurers. They can be either local or national, but note that local motor vehicle insurers tend to deal with high-risk drivers. You may find a cheaper car insurance policy for the exact same motor vehicle coverage you previously had.
  • Rescore car insurance - Rescoring your motor vehicle insurance means that your insurance provider checks your vehicle insurance credit rating. You may be eligible for a lower car insurance renewal rate if it is satisfactory.
  • Have car accident forgiveness - If your vehicle insurance company offered car accident forgiveness insurance that overlooks your first accident while insured, then your car insurance rates will stay the same. Ask if you can add it to your car insurance policy.
  • Take a defensive driving course - Defensive driving courses can be a penalty for a traffic violation or a way to dismiss it entirely. Taking a course unwarranted can help lower your insurance rates because it shows you are taking steps to be a safer driver.
  • Use Virginia driving points - Drivers in Virginia earn safe driving points, which can be used to counteract the points on your drivers license. These safe driving points are given each year if the driver has gone without traffic violations or license suspensions.
  • Utilize car insurance discounts - Check with your motor vehicle insurance company for any car insurance discounts you qualify for. This can be a safe driver, student, or military discount, for example.
  • Increase car insurance deductible - Your auto insurance deductible, the amount you pay in the event of a vehicle insurance claim, is directly proportional to your car insurance premium -the higher your vehicle insurance deductible then, the lower your car insurance premium will be. This is a wise move for older vehicles where you won’t want to pay a lot to insure them but will need a lot in car insurance coverage.

Can You Get Drivers License Points For Driving Something That Isn’t a Car?

In some states, yes. In Michigan, for example, you can have driver license points added to your driver’s license for reckless driving on an off-road vehicle. Check your state’s point laws to see if this is the case for you.

When Would You Get Points For Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

Not wearing a seatbelt will normally not result in driving license points, but that changes when children are in the car.

The line is drawn at age 16. So, if anyone under 16 is in your car and no one is wearing seat belts, that can add points to your driver license. What’s more, your car insurance premiums will rise by around 3%.

Do Red Light Cameras Give Driver License Points?

This depends on the state. In some states, no points are added to a driving license after the driver runs a red light. If it is a police officer who pulls you over after running a red light, you will most likely receive some points on your driving license.

Have a few bumps in the road on your driving record? No worries, Insurance Navy takes on drivers of all risk levels to get them the coverage they need.

Get an SR22 quote online or phone us at 888-949-6289 to speak with an insurance expert.

Updated: December 2023

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