New York’s point system for driving records

In most cases, accumulating points is a good thing. Sports teams want more points so they can win games. Students want all the points possible on tests. Shoppers use rewards programs to earn points on purchases. However, there is one instance where points are not welcome: on a New York driving record. When drivers receive citations for traffic violations in New York, they accumulate points on their records. Drivers should be aware of how the state calculates points on driving records and the consequences that can result from having too many points.

Calculating point totals

Different driving offenses carry different point totals. Speeding tickets can give a driver anywhere from three to 11 points, depending on how much faster than the speed limit the driver was travelling. Other examples of the point values for common traffic violations include:

  • Failure to stop for a school bus: five points
  • Following too closely: four points
  • Failure to obey a traffic signal, stop sign or yield sign: three points
  • Failure to yield right-of-way: three points
  • Passenger safety violations such as seatbelt and child safety seat violations: three points
  • Reckless driving: five points
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage or injury to a domestic animal: three points
  • Inadequate brakes: four points
  • Improper cell phone use: three points
  • Use of a portable electronic device (texting): three points

In order for a driver to get points on his or her record, the driver must be convicted of the offense. The Department of Motor Vehicles looks at point totals for the past 18 months when assessing penalties. The DMV uses the date of the offense when making these calculations, not the date of conviction. The DMV includes points for traffic offenses committed in Ontario or Quebec when tabulating points, but not for other out-of-state offenses.

Effect of accumulating points

Driving record points can have serious consequences. If a driver's point total reaches 11 or more within an 18-month period, the DMV suspends his or her driver's license. The driver may request a hearing with the DMV to prove that a different person committed the offenses - but not to try to show that the driver was not guilty of the offenses or to request a waiver of the suspension.

Drivers who amass six points within an 18-month period will have to pay a "driver responsibility assessment" of $100 each year for three years. The fee increases by $25 each year for each point over six.

Traffic tickets are more than just mild annoyances. Too many citations can lead to steep fines and loss of driving privileges. If you are facing traffic tickets, seek the assistance of a seasoned traffic violation attorney who can help mitigate the damage the tickets do to your driving record.