DMV Point System in New York
We all want to score points―in games, with the boss, on a credit report― but you don't want to score points on your driving record. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles issues points on your license for certain types of traffic violation convictions, and more is definitely not better.
New York's point system is designed to identify drivers who commit many traffic violations in a short period of time. In other words, dangerous drivers. While we all sometimes make mistakes and a few minor offenses aren't usually enough for the DMV to suspend or revoke your license, several violations raise a red flag indicating that the DMV might need to take action.
And while multiple offenses can result in the DMV suspending or revoking your license, all it takes are a few slip-ups for the department to fine you a hefty annual "driver responsibility" fee of at least $100.
The DMV isn't the only organization to worry about. Not only will you have to pay court fines and DMV assessment fees for moving violations, but insurance companies have their own independent point systems and can increase your premiums based on your driving record.
Insurers check your record when they renew your policy, and sometimes all it takes is one speeding ticket to jack up your rates. In extreme cases, you risk having your insurance canceled outright if the company decides your driving habits put you at greater odds of becoming involved in an accident. At that point it may become difficult for you to find another insurer willing to cover you, and driving without insurance is illegal and carries significant penalties in New York (including losing your license).
Beyond that, if you are dinged 11 points for traffic convictions in a period of 18 months, the New York DMV may suspend or revoke your license. You may be given the option to appear for a hearing with an administrative law judge to argue that someone else committed the offense instead of you, but be careful: The judge may actually increase the period of suspension or revocation originally imposed by the DMV. Points are assessed according to the date of the offense, not the date of the conviction.
- Speeding (1 to 10 MPH over posted limit): 3 points
- Speeding (11 to 20 MPH over posted limit): 4 points
- Speeding (21 to 30 MPH over posted limit): 6 points
- Speeding (31 to 40 MPH over posted limit): 8 points
- Speeding (more than 40 MPH over posted limit): 11 points
- Reckless driving: 5 points
- Failing to stop for a school bus: 5 points
- Following too closely (tailgating): 4 points
- Inadequate brakes: 4 points
- Inadequate brakes while driving an employer's vehicle: 2 points
- Failing to yield right-of-way: 3 points
- Violation involving a traffic signal, stop sign, or yield sign: 3 points
- Railroad-crossing violation: 3 points
- Improper passing, unsafe lane change, driving left of center, or driving in wrong direction: 3 points
- Leaving the scene of an incident involving property damage or injury to a domestic animal: 3 points
- Safety restraint violation involving a person under 16 years old: 3 points
- Texting while driving: 5 points
- Any other moving violation: 2 points
These are some of the most common violation codes. The point system is not the only way to lose your license; there are mandatory suspensions and revocations outside this classification.
While the traffic convictions themselves remain on your record for at least 3 years.
You may also have a point removal option to wipe out four points from your record by completing an accident-prevention course approved by the DMV (read the DMV's Point and Insurance Reduction Program brochure).
The DMV has provided a summary of the state point system, and you might also want to read in detail about other traffic offenses and reasons you might lose your license.
If you accumulate 6 points in an period of 18 months you will be subjected to the driver responsibility assessment, and the monetary dent is significant: $100 a year for 6 points plus $25 a year for each additional point, for 3 years. Alcohol- or drug-related traffic violations cost $250 a year for 3 years. Read more about New York's Driver Responsibility Program.
Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the DMV. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.