New York drivers receive “points,” or demerits, on their license when they are convicted of certain traffic violations, making it a good idea to work with a New York traffic attorney. The system may seem a little foreign to drivers who aren’t accustomed to it, so here is how the New York driving points system works.
New York’s Driver Violation Point System is designed to streamline the legal process while allowing the state to persecute drivers who consistently engage in risky behavior. Violations each have a number of points attached to them based on the severity of the offense. These points are added to a driver’s record for a period of eighteen months, at which point they are no longer considered in the calculations below.
The eighteen-month period is calculated from the time of the offense, not the time of conviction.
Any driver who accumulates six points in one eighteen-month period is subject to a Driver Reassessment Fee. This fee is payable to the state DMV over three years and costs $100 per year plus another $25 annually for each point beyond the sixth. Alternatively, drivers may elect to pay the entire fee up front instead of breaking it into installments. Failure to pay will result in the suspension of the driver’s New York State license.
Any driver who accumulates eleven points in one eighteen-month period will have their license suspended. A DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course may eliminate up to four points to get the driver back below eleven, or reduce the length of their suspension if they still have too many points. Some insurers also reduce their premiums for drivers who take one of these courses.
Insurance companies operating in New York may use their own point system to determine a customer’s driving skill, but this system is separate from the one above. Notably, insurance companies may continue to count an offense against a driver’s record after an eighteen-month period has elapsed, while the state DMV will not.
Point Values for Common Offenses
Generally speaking, more serious violations will result in more points being assessed. For example, speeding by one to ten mph is worth three points, but exceeding the speed limit by eleven to twenty mph is worth four. The penalty jumps to six points for the twenty-one to thirty mph range, increases to eight between thirty-one and forty mph over, and culminates at eleven for excesses of forty mph or more.
Reckless driving is worth five points, tailgating is worth four, and inadequate brakes on a private vehicle are worth four. Improper cell phone use, such as texting, carries a five-point penalty, and improper passing is worth three.
Not all traffic violations are worth points. For example, failure to insure one’s vehicle, parking violations, and any offenses committed while operating a bicycle have no impact on the individual’s point total. A complete rundown of what offenses put points on a New York State drivers license is available at DMV.NY.gov.
Accumulating points on a New York State drivers license is a bad idea, so avoid doing so whenever possible.