Car Accident Points

Car Accident Points:

8 Things You Need To Know About Your Driver’s License Points

Car Accident Points 1: 

Auto Insurance Companies Use Their Own Points- they do not use the point system of the state motor vehicle department.

It is true that both state motor vehicle departments and insurance companies use point systems to track driving performance, but they use separate systems to measure your driving.

It is true that both state motor vehicle departments and insurance companies use point systems to track driving performance, but they are separate assessments. DMV points are applied when you are convicted of certain traffic violations. If you accrue too many points within a certain period of time, your license is usually suspended.

Insurers use their own point system when determining how much to raise your rate. Based on the violation, your rates rise by a fixed amount at certain categories.

Car Accident Points 2:

Not All States Use Point Systems

Pennsylvania does use a point system to keep track of bad driving.  Points vary by violation, and range from two to five. You could receive two points for failing to obey someone directing traffic, or five points for failing to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights.

There are nine states that don’t use points to keep track of bad drivers, but that doesn’t mean that bad driving will go unpunished. A more personalized approach, these states monitor your driving record to determine if your license should be suspended or taken away.

The following state do not use a point system:

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

 Car Accident Points 3: 

Violation Points Add Up and Can Result in Losing Your License 

Most violations that occur while driving result in points on your record. An example of violation that occur while driving or “moving violations” are reckless driving, speeding, illegal turns, not making a complete stop, drunk driving and at-fault accidents all incur points. Each state assesses points under its own laws and penalties for too many violations or accidents on your record vary greatly from state to state.

Below is specific information regarding the Pennsylvania point violation system:
Traffic Violation Points

The following are examples of offenses that will lead to points in Pennsylvania:

  • Speeding.
  • Illegal passing.
  • Failure to stop at stop signs
First Time Topping Six Points

A first-time accumulation of six points means you’ll have to pass a written exam based on safe driving practices, department sanctions, and related safety issues.

If you do not pass this exam within 30 days, your license will be suspended until you pass the test. If you do pass this test within the designated 30 days, 2 points will be removed from your driving record.

Second Time Topping Six Points

A second-time accumulation of six points means you’ll have to attend a PennDOT department hearing. Don’t test this ultimatum. Failing to appear will result in an immediate 60-day suspension. At the hearing, an examiner will review your driving record.

Based on his or her decision, you will be slapped with a 15-day suspension and be required to pass a special on-road driving examination. Two points will be removed from your driving record if you pass the test within 30 days or after you serve your suspension.

Exorbitant Speeding

Should you get pulled over for excessive speeding (exceeding the posted speed limit by 31 mph or more) you will be alerted of a mandatory hearing. Don’t treat this as optional. Failure to attend warrants an immediate 60-day suspension.

At the hearing a department examiner will either recommend a 15-day suspension or a special on-road test. Suspension will result in a five-point burden on your license with no “good behavior” opportunities to remove it.

Topping 11 Points or More

No hearings on this one. An immediate license suspension is mandatory. The duration will be based on your past suspension record:

  • 1 suspension: 5 days per point
  • 2 suspensions: 10 days per point
  • 4 suspensions: 15 days per point
  • Subsequent suspensions: 1year
Spotless Driving Record

As an incentive of sorts, the state will grant point removal from your record for safe driving habits. If you can manage 12 months without getting a violation that results in points, a suspension, or a revocation, the state will trim 3 points from your record. If you can cut it down to zero points and keep it at zero for 12 consecutive months, the state will reward your conscientious ways by treating any subsequent point totals like they are your first.

Car Accident Points 4:

Some Violations Don’t Trigger Points, but You Still Have to Pay the Ticket–and possible Insurance Increase

In general, non-moving violations and minor offenses will not result in a point assessment. That means parking tickets and fix-it tickets for things like broken lights will not add points, though you still have to pay the fine. In some states, though, serious violations such as DUI mean an automatic license suspension, so no points are given, but your auto insurance rates will certainly go up. For instance, an analysis found that a ticket for DUI means an average rate increase of 19 percent.  Some states systems have a harsher punishment than the insurance system.  In Pennsylvania, failing to stop for at a railroad crossing is 4 points.  Several PA Insurance companies increased the insurance the same as a 3 point improper stop violation.  For more details regarding violations, please see the Pennsylvania point system fact sheet.

Car Accident Points 5:

Texting Tickets Can Ring Up Driving Points

Forty-one states ban texting while driving, but less than half consider texting behind the wheel a moving violation. If you’re ticketed in a state where texting violations add points to your driving record or are considered moving violations, an insurer may raise your premiums upon review of your driving record.

States with a texting law specifying that violations add points and/or is considered a moving violation include:

  • Alabama: two points
  • Colorado: one point
  • District of Columbia: one point and is a moving violation; three points if it is judged to have caused an accident.
  • Florida: three points and moving violation for second ticket within five years; two points if texting ticket received in school safety zone; six points if found that unlawful use of wireless communications device results in a car crash
  • Georgia: one point
  • Kentucky: three points
  • Maryland: one point and a moving violation; three points if the texting contributed to an accident
  • Missouri: two points
  • Nebraska: three points
  • New York: five points
  • New Jersey: three points for third offense
  • North Dakota: moving violation
  • Nevada: first offense not considered a moving violation; repeat offenses add four points
  • Vermont: two points for first offense and five points for a subsequent offenseP
  • Virginia: three points
  • West Virginia: three points for third offense
  • Wisconsin: four points

Car Accident Points 6:

Points Can Stick to Your Record for One to 10 years, Depending on the Violation and Your State Laws

In many states, driving record points can affect you for two to three years for lesser offenses, but there are exceptions.

In Pennsylvania there are two ways to reduce points.  One way is to be forced to, or keep a clean driving record for 12 months.  For these individuals, ordering and monitoring a driving record is especially important for Pennsylvania drivers.

Having a copy of your driving record means:

  • You can keep a watch on your points number; if it’s close to the six-point mark, you can be extra cautious to stay violation-free.
  • Making sure you didn’t receive any points for a not guilty verdict.
  • Making sure you received the correct number of points for a guilty verdict.

Another way is to pass a PennDOT-ordered written or on-road exam, which removes two points. This isn’t voluntary; PennDOT orders these exams when you reach six or more points on your driving record.

Click here to learn more about how to obtain your driver’s license record in Pennsylvania.

Car Accident Points 7:

If You Get a Ticket and Points on Your License, There are Ways to Ease the Insurance Pain

Many states allow you to take a defensive driving course to dismiss a violation before it shows up on your record, with the exception of major offenses such as DUI.  Pennsylvania will not eliminate state drivers license points for taking a course, but your insurance company might.   

Car Accident Points 8:

In Some States, If You’re Busted By a Red-Light Camera, You Get a Ticket but Not Points

Usually, if you get a ticket for running a red light, you also receive driver’s license points. But in some states, if you are caught by a red-light camera, you don’t get points.  New Jersey will only  give you points if you get a traditional ticket from a police officer.  Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, you will get points if a red light camera shows you had an infraction while driving.


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