What are license points?

If your driver’s ed teacher didn’t properly familiarize you with the driver’s point system, it’s okay; we’re here to help. Most sixteen-year-old new drivers could not care less about learning the point system and the importance of its effect on car insurance.

The typical teenager likely would sarcastically ask what the maximum points on a driving license are in their state and just try to avoid getting any points altogether. However, driving isn’t just a game, and the more tickets and points you accumulate, the more likely you are to soon be trading in your ticket of freedom for a bus pass.

Will driver points affect me?
The short answer is yes. Even if you live in states like Hawaii, Kansas, or Louisiana where the point system is not used, if you move, take a road trip, or even look for better insurance coverage, the points on your license will matter since the point system is used in the majority of America, North America, most of Europe, and all the way to Trinidad and Tobago.
So next time you think about “innocently” rolling through an illegal right turn, you should stop and reconsider if it’ll be worth the points in the event that you get caught.

Statistically, the average American driver will only get one ticket every ten years during their driving lifetime, so most of us will never have to worry about getting our driving rights revoked.

But paying attention to your record does come in handy. If you’re not yet convinced that your license points matter, let my best friend’s trip to France be your horror story of reference.

My best friend’s sister held an astonishing French destination wedding in June 2019, and if you knew my best friend you’d know that everything was planned to be absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know did indeed hurt them.

After landing from a 12-hour flight with their one-year-old and feeling eager to get to their hotel my friend’s family arrived at the rent-a-car place where they had made preparations to have a vehicle ready. This is where they should’ve been able to take a sigh of relief, but unfortunately, it was only the beginning of a rental car nightmare.

Long story short, my best friend’s husband found out that because of points on his license in the United States, he was not eligible to be a driver in France. Additionally, anyone they were associated with his party would not be allowed to drive off the lot either.

Needless to say, this information threw their entire trip off course and caused a lot of stress.. Don’t be like them; use this cautionary tale to know how to drive safely abroad and as a reminder of the best way to keep your trip going smoothly.

What can I get points for?

Each state has its own set of rules when it comes to exactly how many points a driver can accumulate before there are more serious consequences such as a suspended license. It is best to know the exact guidelines of your state but generally, the breakdown goes like this:

What Actions Equal Points

Most of us are concerned with speeding because most of us know that we do it, and even though we might not be keeping up with the fast and furious, our hearts tend to jump when we realize that we’re going faster than the posted speed limit.

In the state of Georgia, drivers with violations for going 15 mph over are subjected to two points being added to their record and only after getting caught going 24 mph or more are they subjected to getting four or more.

However, the more serious offenses that will cost you the most points are tickets for aggressive driving, unlawfully passing a school bus, and reckless driving which averages between 4-6 points.
Dealing with tickets is already a hassle, but the lesser-known consequence is how these points can affect your insurance coverage.

The more offenses and points you have on your record, the higher your insurance quotes are likely to be. Whenever you're in doubt, slowing down and abiding by road signs will always be your best bet in helping you save time and money.

How Long Points Stay

One speeding ticket won’t exactly get your driving privilege is taken away, but multiple, various offenses in a short period of time definitely will.

For example, in California, if a driver accumulates 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months, they will receive a six-month suspension. On the other hand, in Georgia, a driver that gains 15 or more points within a 24 month period will have their license suspended.

Even though the regulations vary, every state has ways to reduce points from your record so it shouldn’t be hard to keep from getting too far overboard. Many states offer new traffic school options that will reduce points from most traffic violations by just completing the course.

Don’t be shy about asking what you can do to get rid of any points on your driver’s license because all classes are intended to help both you and the state keep the roads safer.

So how do you avoid getting points?

The good news is that you don’t need a fancy high-tech system to keep your driving record clean. Safe driving comes with practice and practicing every time you drive.

The point system can seem unfair because sometimes life just happens or our minds aren’t as focused on the road as they should be, but thankfully the system also comes with a generous portion of forgiveness.

Knowing how the point system works before you actually need to is the best way to be an informed driver. It’s true that we’re human, and we forget things or let bad choices become bad habits.

But sometimes getting pulled over can be the best way to wake us up to those tendencies we have let go unnoticed. Know the rules of the road, stay focused, and drive safely, and you won’t have to worry about license points at all.