Increasing the number of points on your driving record is something to worry about since it can seriously impact your auto insurance and even ban you from driving for a certain period of time.
Because of this, it’s best to know how points can be removed from a driving record as well as how long they will remain in your license.
Read carefully the information mentioned next, take the necessary measures to remove or reduce points, or prevent them altogether.
Though the number of points for each traffic offense varies according to the state, the general rule applies to all of them – the more serious the traffic offense, the more points a driver receives. For instance, while running a red light or littering may award 1 to 3 points, more serious offenses such as DUI can add 5 to 11 points to your driving record.
In most states it is fairly simple to find out how many driver’s license points you have – you just need to check your driving history report. To do so, you can enter the information required by your state’s DMV website and access your report. In other states, however, you have to formally request the report in writing.
This depends on the state. Some states such as Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming don’t actually have a point system, even though the government entity in charge keeps a record of infractions to determine when it’s necessary to suspend or revoke a driver’s license.
Consider the following list of the states’ point system validity period:
For some states and in some cases, drivers who commit a traffic offense can take a safe driving course to reduce or remove some points from their driving record. Points for major traffic offenses, like DUI, normally can’t be removed from a driver’s license.
An interesting case is that of Virginia, where drivers can earn both negative and positive points. The latter is awarded when you don’t commit any offenses for a year. Drivers can use these merit points to discount the demerit ones.
Keep in mind: The safe driving course you take must be approved by your state if not, it won’t be valid for your driving license.
This also depends on your state of residence. However, most states have different limits depending on the driver’s age. In Virginia, for example, adult drivers may have their license suspended after accumulating 12 points in a period of up to 12 months, or 18 points in a period of up to 24 months.
When it comes to younger drivers – ages 18 to 19 – traffic offenses may require taking a traffic-driving course. Minor driver infractions carry more drastic consequences: two offenses, regardless of the number of points, can result in a 90-day suspension.
First and foremost, you may not apply for a points discount. In many cases, drivers have to wait for at least a year to return to having a clear record. However, there are a few ways in which you may apply for points clear out:
These courses are usually offered by either the traffic governing agency or by a duly authorized private institute. By attending these classes, you may be able to clear out up to four points off of your driving record.
Despite the benefit this course provides, it doesn’t deduct points from serious traffic offenses and it can only help you reduce the number of points every 18 months or five years, depending on the state.
Note: In some cases, after committing a traffic offense this course is mandatory.
If you consider the ticket you were given and the points that were added to your driving record wrong, you can appeal in court. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure that you have enough evidence to support your claim.
In some cases, authorities are more flexible with new drivers, so it could be possible to have a few points discounted.
In some cases, the officer who notices a traffic infraction may be mistaken. If you are knowledgeable about the law and traffic regulations, you will be able to identify any honest mistake the authority may have made. By doing this you can avoid receiving points on your driving record.
For more information on this subject, read How to Reinstate a Suspended Driver’s License.
To many, driving in the U.S. is as vital as breathing, and having points on the driving record can seriously impact their driving habits. An irresponsible act on the road on your part may automatically prevent you from driving for a period of time. Hence, prevention is the best way to keep a clean record, and your auto insurance rates low.