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Each state has its own system in place for assigning points and penalizing those with too many on their driving record. Across the board, though, there is no maximum amount of points allowed on your driver’s license. You’ll instead be stripped of your driving privileges if you accumulate too many of them within a few years.
Our team has analyzed leading providers to find the best car insurance companies for those with bad driving records. The best way to discover reasonable rates for high-risk drivers comes by comparing free quotes from various options before deciding on one.
Which States Have Point Systems?
Most places across the U.S. follow a point system, but the way that it works varies across state lines. While there’s no maximum amount of points allowed on your driver’s license, there are penalties for accumulating too many.
Point System Rules by State
Each state weighs factors differently when setting up their point systems. While it only takes four points in a year for your driver’s license to be suspended in California, motorists in Utah won’t face that penalty until they reach 200 violation points. This is because the states have extremely different numbers of points attached to each type of traffic offense.
Below are the number of points needed in each state to have your driver’s license suspended. Note that some states set license suspension limits that don’t follow the point system.
|State||Points Needed for License Suspension|
|District of Columbia||10|
Point values vary widely across the U.S., so the maximum number of points allowed on your driver’s license before suspension is likely different in other states. Also, note that those with a commercial driver’s license are likely under an entirely different point system.
Which States Don’t Follow the Point System?
A few states don’t follow the point system and have instead created their own rules for driver’s license suspension. We’ve listed out the places where the point system plays no role below:
- Rhode Island
Note that you’ll still be penalized if a police officer pulls you over for irresponsible driving in these states. You’ll just be under a different system than in places that use points instead.
How To Check on Your Driver’s License Status
Generally, it’s smart to turn to your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) if you have questions on the point system that you’re working with. While outside websites often say they can provide similar details, it’s smart to go straight to the government source.
How To Check the DMV Point System in Your State
The DMV for your state likely lays out the maximum amount of points allowed on your driver’s license before you could face either suspension or revocation. Make sure to check with your state’s agency if you’re wondering about the overall allotment of points.
How To Check the Number of Points on Your License
To check your driving record, turn again to your state’s DMV. There’s likely a spot on its website that lets you check on your current point total. Note that you may need to provide personal details like your license number and social security number to receive the service.
You’ll likely receive context about how far you are from getting a revoked or suspended license when you log into your account. That’s because you’ll be able to find the maximum amount of points allowed on your driver’s license before penalties begin.
How To Reinstate Your Driver’s License
Driver’s license reinstatement typically occurs only after your suspension has ended. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to have your license reinstated before the date set out by your state’s DMV.
To have your license reinstated, you’ll probably need to go through the following steps:
- Pay a license reinstatement fee
- Offer proof of current auto insurance
- Present proof of completing required courses
- Show that your car has an ignition interlock device, if needed
- Resolve relevant criminal charges
Remember that each state has its own system for driver’s license reinstatement. It’s likely that the process will closely mirror the steps outlined above, however.
What Leads to Points on Your Driver’s License?
There are two main types of traffic tickets that motorists can receive: moving violations and nonmoving violations. They’re treated quite differently most of the time, so it’s worth learning about the impact of each one.
What is a Moving Violation?
A moving violation is the more serious type of infraction that you can receive, as it will often lead to points on your driver’s license, steep fines and increased car insurance rates. That’s usually the case even if the moving violation didn’t end up causing an accident. Below are a few examples of moving violations:
- Getting a ticket for exceeding the speed limit
- Running a red light or a stop sign
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Improper passing and careless driving
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Incidents of hit-and-runs
- Failing to give right of way
Moving violations can sometimes be reduced to nonmoving violations, though this isn’t always the case. Another strategy that could decrease the harm of having a moving violation on your license is by getting a point reduction for taking a state-approved defensive driving course.
What is a Nonmoving Violation?
On the other hand, a nonmoving violation won’t put points on your driver’s license and doesn’t always affect auto insurance rates. We’ll list out of a few types of nonmoving violations below:
- Parking illegally
- Improperly maintained vehicles
- Expired or improper licensing
While nonmoving violations seem less important than moving violations, this comes with a disclaimer. Driving without bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, for instance, can get you in serious trouble with law enforcement officials and make you a high-risk driver.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
Whether there’s a maximum amount of points allowed on your driver’s license or not, it’s critical that you buy car insurance that suits your needs and budget. We suggest considering GEICO, USAA and Progressive since they all offer relatively reasonable rates and quality coverage.
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GEICO: Best Discounts
GEICO earns 9.1 out of 10.0 stars in our analysis due to its affordable policies and plethora of discount opportunities. The company offers savings for good drivers, for insuring multiple vehicles, for taking driver’s education courses and for being either a military member or a federal employee.
USAA: Best Military Provider
We give USAA 9.3 out of 10.0 stars overall and name it the best option for military members, veterans and their family members. The company receives stellar reviews for its prices and customer service, though eligibility requirements are strict.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
Progressive earns 8.6 stars out of 10.0 since it’s a top choice for those with DUIs, speeding tickets and at-fault accidents on their driver records. Progressive is relatively likely to accept those with higher-than-average point totals, making it excellent if you’re considered to be a high-risk driver. Read more in our full Progressive insurance review.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long do points stay on your license?
Depending on state laws and the type of traffic violation, driver’s license points can stay for up to 10 years. States usually keep points on your driver’s license for a shorter period of time, typically around two to three years, if they were added for a minor violation.
How many points can a new driver get?
New drivers typically have much stricter limits under the point system than experienced drivers. They tend to be allowed no more than six points, while experienced drivers can often have up to 12 points in the last three years. The logic behind this is that lack of experience and greater instances of reckless driving increase the risk for young drivers.
How many points can you get on your license in California?
California will suspend your license if you earn four points in a 12-month period, six points over a 24-month period or eight points in a 36-month period.
How many points can you get on your license in New York?
New York state traffic laws say that your driver’s license will be suspended if you earn 11 or more points over the course of 18 months.
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