How Traffic Points Affect You

Each state has a Department of Motor Vehicles, but each state sets its own laws and regulations in regard to issuing, suspending, and reinstating driver licenses. Some states have traffic points. Traffic points are a method of controlling drivers who are allowed to be on the road by giving points for bad driving behavior and once a driver has a designated number of points, the driver’s license is suspended for a period of time based on the number of points earned within a certain number of months.

Difference Between States

States vary widely on how the points are accumulated and the time of suspension. Minnesota does not have a point system. In Florida, driving recklessly is 4 points, while in Illinois, the same offense is 55 points. In Florida, a driver who accumulates 12 points within 12 months will have his license suspended for 30 days and in Illinois, a person with 45-74 points will have his license suspended for 3 months. That means that if a driver is charged with driving recklessly in Florida, he still has 8 points before his license is revoked. In Illinois, one charge of reckless driving is enough for a driver license suspension.

Special Case Penalties

All penalties are harsher for repeat offenders. Points are double for repeat offenders in Illinois and in Florida, consequences are greater for drivers who are age 17 or younger. To find the latest information for your state, check with a local attorney or check the Department of Motor Vehicles Website for your state.

Impact on Insurance Cost

Whenever you purchase, renew, or change automobile insurance, an insurance company may check your driving record. Some companies now reward drivers for good driving behavior. All insurance companies increase driver insurance rates for bad behavior. Insurance companies have access to traffic violation records and to point systems in the states that have them. The more points a person has, the more likely they are to be in an accident. The insurance covers that added risk by increasing a driver’s insurance rates.

It is possible to have traffic violations or points without the knowledge of the insurance company. Insurance companies do not receive automatic notice of violations and have to request the driving history of an individual in order to get the violation information. Most companies do not request the information unless a person is applying for, or renewing an insurance policy. If a driver has an increase in his rates due to a traffic violation, he can request to have his record and rates reviewed at any time and if he does not have any more violations after a few years, he may be able to get his insurance rates dropped again.

While some states don’t use a point system, if your state does use a point system, any violation you receive in another state will add you state’s designated points to your total number of points.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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