Yes, but not in a good way!
In sports like football, baseball, and basketball, competitors like Tom Brady, Mike Trout, and LeBron James strive to score as many points as they can.
For drivers, though, the playing field is different. As a driver, you don’t want to accumulate any points at all. Why? Because you could wind up losing your driver’s license or paying more money for car insurance.
What are points on your driving record?
As the legal website Nolo.com explains, most states add points to your driving record if you get ticketed for speeding or other traffic violations.
The Department of Motor Vehicles in most states uses these points to punish bad behavior behind the wheel and discourage it from happening again. The more severe your violation, the higher the number of points that will be added to your driving record and if you reach a certain number of points, the state can take action against you like suspending your driver’s license.
What are common reasons for getting points?
According to CarsDirect, an online marketplace for cars, speeding is one of the biggest reasons for getting points on your driver’s license. The number of points for speeding goes up based on how much over the speed limit you were driving.
For 1 to 10 MPH over the limit, you’re likely to have only one point added to your license. However, if you were traveling 40 MPH over the limit, you’ll probably see a minimum of five points added to your license.
Other examples of violations that might cause you to get points on your driving record include but aren’t limited to:
- Non-excessive speeding
- An illegal turn
- Running a stop light
- A motor vehicle accident
- Passing a stopped school bus
Fortunately, you’re not stuck with these points forever. Depending on the state where you’re licensed to drive, the points typically disappear after one to five years — as long as your driving record remains clean during that time.
What are the consequences of driver’s license points?
Every state differs in terms of how its point system works. Generally speaking, the more violations you rack up, the more points you’re going to have on your record.
Nolo.com says that, for example, in some states, you might be required to take a defensive driving course after reaching the nine-point mark and could have your driver’s license temporarily suspended at the 12-point mark.
Will driver’s license points impact my car insurance?
Yes, they likely will. As you accumulate points against your driver’s license, your car insurance rate could go up — it’s a matter of risk. An insurer may consider you a riskier driver if you have more points on your driver’s license. “Risky” drivers often pay more for car insurance than “safe” drivers.
How much your rate increases would depend on your car insurance company as well as the state where you live. One of the toughest states for points penalties is California. If you’re licensed to drive in California, having just one point added to your driving record could cause your car insurance rate to soar.
So, why and how do you check your driving record to see how many points you’ve got on your license? Visit a local DMV office, submit a request on the DMV’s website, or ask for your driving record by mail.
How can I remove points from my driving record?
If you discover that you do have points on your driving record, how can you get rid of them? Basically, you’ve got two options (at least in some states):
- Take a state-approved driving safety course. If you finish the course, you could get points subtracted from your license. In many states, this course is free.
- Go a certain amount of time without any traffic violations, and the points that are on your license will eventually fall off.
When you’re considering how points for traffic violations affect your driving record and your car insurance rate, keep in mind that each state and each insurer handles things differently. In other words, a speeding ticket in Florida will impact your license and your car insurance differently than a speeding ticket in Texas.
Will my car insurance be canceled?
There’s a chance that it could be. Depending on your car insurance company, too many traffic violations and points on your record could lead to a decision to cancel or not renew your auto insurance.
Here at Direct Auto & Life Insurance, we do things differently. We believe everyone deserves affordable auto insurance and we encourage all drivers to apply for coverage — regardless of their driving or insurance history. If you’re worried about points on your driving record, if your current carrier is going to cancel or nonrenew your car insurance, or if your driver’s license has been suspended and you need insurance to get it back it’s time to reach out to us.