Accumulating DMV points on your license can be costly not only because you can lose your license but it can raise your insurance rates as well. While not every state assesses DMV points it is important to have a basic understanding of them. DMV points can keep you from getting a driving job, or pile up until you get your license suspended. So how do you know when you have DMV points?
DMV points add up each time you get into an at-fault accident. Egregious crimes such as hit-and-run accidents also add points. Speeding tickets and other traffic citations can have an effect on the point total. Every state has the right to set their own regulations regarding DMV points. In California, for instance, if you accumulate four points in a 12 month period, your license will be suspended.
The easiest way to know about DMV points is to keep track of them as they are handed out. Your citation should list any points for reckless driving or any other citation. You can ask the officer writing the citation if it includes points. Sometimes, you can go to court and get points removed because of mitigating factors. Going to court to get DMV points dropped might not save you money immediately, but it could lead to lower insurance rates down the road.
If you want to go back and look at DMV points that have accrued, you’ll need to get a look at your driving record. Every state’s DMV has its own unique system for maintaining and releasing driving records. You’ll probably have to pay a fee: you may be able to order online, or you may need to send a paper order through the mail. You’ll probably be dealing with an office in your state’s capital city, as that’s often where the main DMV office is.
DMV points are used by various states to keep track of driver infractions. Drivers are assessed a number of points for every ticket they receive and if they accumulate a certain number of points within a certain timeframe they may have their license suspended or revoked. Not every state uses the point system and the number of points per offense varies by state.
If you accumulate a certain number of points in a given timeframe it can result in your license being suspended or revoked. Various offenses carry differing point amounts. Using the state of Colorado as an example, speeding 5-9 mph over the limit will result in one point but a DUI (Driving under the influence) will result in 12 points on your license. In Colorado if you accumulate 12 or more points in a year you risk losing your license. Point totals vary by state so it is important to check with your local DMV for your states guidelines.
Points on your license can also affect your insurance rates. Each insurance company gives different weighting to DMV points but the majority of them will raise your rates if you are assessed any points. Read your policy to determine how points can affect your insurance rates.
The best way to avoid getting DMV points is to be a safe driver. Sometimes accidents happen, but there is a direct correlation between recklessness and accidents. Here are a few tips on how to keep any and all DMV points off of your record:
Speeding, reckless driving and failure to obey traffic laws are great ways to increase the number of DMV points on your record. If you follow the speed limit, always be alert and careful when driving and are a defensive driver, you will likely seldom get into an accident, thereby keeping your point total low.
Enrolling in defensive driving school may help to reduce the number of points on your record, but not always. In some states, infractions that automatically add two points to your total can’t be erased by traffic school. Check with the DMV in your state to be sure. Online traffic school may be an option if the infractions are primarily based on inattention to detail.
If you are at fault in an accident, the worst thing you can do is flee the scene. Both for your criminal record and your driving record, a hit-and-run accident is severe. Any points you accrue due to an accident increase if you flee.
Perhaps the best way to avoid DMV points is to be a defensive driver. This doesn’t mean that you must drive under the speed limit. It means you are always aware of your surroundings; you obey traffic laws and are in no way a menace on the road. Safe drivers not only avoid DMV points, but they enjoy lower insurance premiums and seldom get cited for traffic infractions.