DMV Point System in Pennsylvania
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In order to monitor dangerous drivers and improve road safety, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) adheres to a point system. Most moving traffic violations carry points―zipping through a stop sign, for example, costs three―and when you accumulate six or more points, the state begins imposing hard-line penalties that whack your wallet and limit your mobility.
In addition, your car insurance company will be notified, almost guaranteeing a significant spike in your insurance premiums. And once you're listed as a dangerous driver by the car insurance industry, you are labeled for life.
Drivers younger than 18 who top the six-point total or are nabbed exceeding the speed limit by 26 mph or more face license suspension for 90 days, and they'll be required to pass a written test dealing mainly with road safety issues.
Get caught a second time the your suspension stretches for 120 days.
A first-time accumulation of six points means you'll have to pass a written exam based on safe driving practices, department sanctions, and related safety issues.
If you do not pass this exam within 30 days, your license will be suspended until you pass the test. If you do pass this test within the designated 30 days, two points will be removed from your driving record.
A second-time accumulation of six points means you'll have to attend a PennDOT department hearing. Don't test this ultimatum. Failing to appear will result in an immediate 60-day suspension. At the hearing, an examiner will review your driving record.
Based on his or her decision, you will be slapped with a 15-day suspension and be required to pass a special on-road driving examination. Two points will be removed from your driving record if you pass the test within 30 days or after you serve your suspension.
A third- or subsequent accumulation of six points means you'll be notified of a mandatory PennDOT department hearing. A hearing examiner will review your record and decide whether or not to impose a 30-day suspension. Failure to appear will result in an immediate suspension that won't be lifted until you attend a hearing.
Should you get pulled over for excessive speeding (exceeding the posted speed limit by 31 mph or more) you will be alerted of a mandatory hearing. Don’t treat this as optional. Failure to attend warrants an immediate 60-day suspension.
At the hearing a department examiner will either recommend a 15-day suspension or a special on-road test. Suspension will result in a five-point burden on your license with no “good behavior” opportunities to remove it.
No hearings on this one. An immediate license suspension is mandatory. The duration will be based on your past suspension record:
- One suspension: five days per point
- Two suspensions: 10 days per point
- Three suspensions: 15 days per point
- Subsequent suspensions: one year
As an incentive of sorts, the state will grant point removal from your record for safe driving habits. If you can manage 12 months without getting a violation that results in points, a suspension, or a revocation, the state will trim three points from your record. If you can cut it down to zero points and keep it at zero for 12 consecutive months, the state will reward your conscientious ways by treating any subsequent point totals like they are your first.
The following are examples of point assignments in Pennsylvania:
- Violating license restrictions (not wearing glasses, for example): 2 points
- Failure to obey an authorized person directing traffic: 2 points
- Not stopping at a red light: 3 points
- Ignoring a flashing red light: 3 points
- Failure to yield half of roadway to oncoming traffic: 3 points
- Improper passing on a hill: 4 points
- All other improper passing: 3 points
- Tailgating: 3 points
- All failures to yield: 3 points
- Ignoring approaching train signals: 2 points
- Circumventing train gates: 4 points and a 30-day suspension
- Not stopping for a school bus with flashing red lights: 5 points and 60-day suspension
- Not stopping when entering from an alley, driveway, or building: 3 points
- Exceeding the speed limit by six to 10 mph: 2 points
- Exceeding the speed limit by 11 to 15 mph: 3 points and a 15-day suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 25 mph: 4 points and a 15-day suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 26 to 30 mph: 5 points and a 15-day suspension if in a work zone
- Exceeding the speed limit by 31 mph or more: 5 points, a 15-day suspension if in a work zone, and possible other penalties as determined by a hearing examiner
- Challenging posted school zone speed limit: 3 points
- Not yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk: 2 points
- Not yielding to blind pedestrian: 3 points
- Improper backing: 3 points
- Careless driving: 3 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage: 4 points
If you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you might want to order a driving record report.
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