How Many Points Are You Allowed On Your Driver’s License?






“Points” are demerits added to your driving record when you are convicted of speeding, have an accident, or have some other type of moving violation. Almost every state has a “points” system which accumulates and keeps a tally of the number of points you have earned. Some states have a “positive” points system as well; the longer you go without a traffic ticket or accident, the more positive points you earn, offsetting any negative points earned by traffic violations. On the other hand, some states have only “negative” points, and these remain on your license for a certain number of years.

Many people question how many points it takes to lose your license or cause your insurance premiums to go up. While this may seem a simple question, the answer depends largely on which state you live in and how that state totals points against your license, as well as how the state reports these points to interested parties such as insurance companies.

In order to find out your state’s specific point system, you can visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. If you are interested in the point system of several states, you can visit www.dmv.org, which is a clearinghouse of information related to the various states and their insurance and driving laws.

States which operate with a point system generally grade points based on the seriousness of the offense. For example, in Alabama, reckless driving earns you six points on your license, while speeding of less than 25 miles per hour over the posted limit earns only two points. In Alabama, once you accumulate 12 points within a two-year period, your license will be suspended for 60 days.

This example is fairly typical of the type of system most states have. In general, if you accumulate a certain number of points within a certain time period, your license will be suspended.

Even more troublesome is how the states report points to your insurance company. If you accumulate any points at all, you are in danger of your insurance company finding out, although many states do not report minimum points unless you accumulate several small charges in a short period of time. Insurance companies can also sweep public records, looking for traffic violations and unreported accidents; if this happens, and your insurance company finds out about your points, your insurance premiums may increase.

Some states also monitor and tally the points you earn while driving in other states. If you are a Kentucky resident, for example, and you earn four points in Georgia while driving through on vacation from a speeding violation, Kentucky can add those points to your Kentucky driver’s license, and the same penalties will apply as if you had earned the points in your home state.

Many states also make distinctions between various groups of drivers. For example, drivers under 18 who accumulate points may have their licenses revoked or suspended for fewer points than an adult. In most cases, these teen drivers can reinstate their license when they reach majority; in some cases, however, the license suspension can actually be for a longer period of time than an adult. Commercial drivers often earn more points on their license than other drivers for the same offenses, as well, and may lose their commercial licenses for longer periods of time.

Some infractions in some states carry zero points, although they are still considered traffic violations and are fined accordingly. You can often appear in court to pay your fine and ask the judge to remove the points from your license. If it is your first offense, this request will sometimes be granted.

Generally speaking, if you accumulate points for more than two serious traffic violations within a two-year period, your license will be affected and your insurance will go up. In many states, this is the equivalent of ten to twelve points in a two-year period. However, be reminded that you can also accumulate the same number of points for more numerous small violations, as well.


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