The Ouch Behind Points on Driving Records
Driving record points are kind of like the driving world's version of bad tattoos: As soon as you get them you repeatedly chastise your decision-making skills while doing everything possible to have them removed. Unlike bad tattoos, though, driving record points can cause a driver's license suspension or revocation and prompt a jump in car insurance rates.
Hence, it's in your best interest to reduce or remove points from your driving history.
How to Remove Driver Record Points
Each state governs points differently. Most states have them; some don't. Those that do assess points to traffic violations have different point totals, with different time frames, and with different point removal policies.
To learn about your state's point removal policy, contact your local DMV or other motor vehicle agency. In most instances, you'll find your state offers one of two ways to reduce points from your license record:
- Complete a state-approved driver improvement course.
- Maintain a clean driving record for a designated period of time.
Removing Driver Record Points Via a Driver Safety Course
Depending on your state, you may be given the option to remove points by completing a traffic safety course. Most states offer it as a free-to-choose option, while some states - Illinois, for example - require court approval.
The course or school you choose must be state-approved. The DMV will not remove points from your driving history if you submit a course completion certificate from a non-authorized school, so if you're not sure if the driver improvement school you're eyeing is state-sanctioned, confirm with your DMV.
Maintain a Spotless Driving Record
States employing this option require driving violation-free for a specific period of time to have points removed.
In Massachusetts, for example, provided you have no more than three surchargeable events (Massachusetts-speak for moving traffic violations) on your record over the past five years, the state removes one point from each citation for every three years of safe driving.
Contact Your DMV
When contacting the DMV for your state's policies on removing points from your driving record, be sure to ask:
- About eligibility requirements. Some states limit the number of times you can take advantage of point removal options. In Delaware, for example, you're limited to once every three years.
- For a list of approved driver improvement schools (if applicable).
- How many points will be removed.
- How long points remain on your driving record.
Check License Status
Need help on deciding whether to pursue a point removal plan? Check your license status by ordering a copy of your driving record.