Improving Your Driving Record | Traffic Violation
Most states have ways to penalize drivers who have several traffic violations on their records. From parking to speeding tickets, each subsequent offense could mean that you are one step closer to having your license suspended.
In Texas, these violations add up as part of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) driver violation point system. Once a certain number of points is reached within a specific time period, drivers will be assessed additional monetary penalties and could have their licenses suspended or revoked.
When you are convicted of a traffic violation, points are added to your total (based on the date the offense occurred, not the conviction date). Once you reach six points or more within 18 months (from convictions after November 24, the DMV will send you a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA), which means that you have to pay an annual fee for three years. Accruing 11 points within 18 months results in suspension of your driver’s license.
Points add up quickly. For example, a speeding conviction for 12 mph over the speed limit carries 4 points and a conviction for rolling through a stop sign is 3 points. In two simple convictions, you could have enough points to receive a DRA.
How Do I Know How Many Points I Have on My Driving Record?
Thanks to the technology and information age, it is very easy to find out what appears on your driving record. A driver abstract – which has a driver’s basic personal information, license restrictions and endorsements, and any traffic violations, accidents, suspensions or revocations – can be requested from the DMV. By completing an online order form on the DMV’s website (see www.nydmv.state.ny.us/drivreabstract/default.html) and paying a $10 fee, you will receive a copy of your driver abstract in the mail within two weeks.
This abstract will show you exactly how many points you have under the driver violation point system.
How Can I Reduce the Number of Points on My Driving Record?
The easiest way to reduce points on your driving record is, of course, to simply not be convicted of any traffic-related violations, but that is unrealistic for most drivers as mistakes happen. But the good news is that for many drivers, the DMV has a point and insurance reduction program (PIRP) to help drivers who are convicted of speeding or other moving violations keep their point totals down.
Under the PIRP, you can take a DMV-approved driving safety course. Attending a six-hour safety and education course can result in up to four points being deducted from your driving record and can reduce your insurance premiums by 10 percent or more. For many drivers, the cost of the course and time investment in attending is well worth the ability to keep their license and/or prevent additional fees being assessed through a DRA.
To find a DMV-approved course, visit the DMV’s website at www.nydmv.state.us.
It is important to note that completion of a PIRP-approved course will not affect:
Licenses that are already revoked or suspended
Violation hearings that have already been scheduled
Licenses that are automatically suspended because of a DWI or DWAI conviction
License suspensions due to receiving three speeding violations in 18 months
Completing a DMV-approved course to reduce driver’s license points can be done only once every 18 months.
Because the PIRP does not apply to any violation hearings that have already been scheduled, if you are facing a conviction that would affect the status of your license, the best method of protecting your driving privileges is to hire a traffic ticket defense attorney who can help you fight the conviction and keep the points off your record. More on this website