Traffic Court Forum: NYS Traffic Point System — A detailed legal overview

Traffic Court Forum: NYS Traffic Point System — A detailed legal overview

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By Shannon L. Malone, Esq.

Earlier in our series with respect to traffic infractions, we discussed proposed legislation that would increase the number of points associated with dangerous driving. These provisions would add point penalties to violations that presently have none. In this article, we will explore the existing Driver Violation Point System and provide readers with a quick reference guide illustrating the number of points associated with speeding violations in New York State. Understanding this system will empower you to make informed decisions about your driving habits and potential consequences. 

It is crucial to remember that if you accumulate 11 points on your driver’s license within 18 months, your driver’s license will be suspended. This is a significant consequence that can obviously disrupt your daily life. Exceptions to this point are rare. Nonetheless, you should consult an experienced attorney if you find yourself in this situation. Additionally, you must pay a Driver Responsibility fee if you accumulate six or more points on your driving record within 18 months.

Once 18 months have passed from the violation date, the points for that violation no longer count toward your total. However, the points do remain on your overall driving record, and your insurance company may use these points to increase your premium.

How Your Point Total is Calculated

Points are added to your driving record based on the date of the traffic violation, not the conviction. The point total is calculated by adding the points for violations occurring within the last 18 months.

Out-of-State Convictions

Suppose you are convicted of a traffic violation in another state, like Connecticut, New Jersey, or Florida. In that case, points are not added to your New York State driving record. Interestingly, however, if the violation occurred in Canada, specifically in Ontario or Quebec points are added because New York State has a reciprocal agreement with these provinces.

Insurance Premiums

Insurance companies have their own point systems and can increase premiums based on your driving records. Insurance companies almost invariably increase your premium if you are convicted of a moving violation such as speeding. Other moving violations that may affect your insurance premium are passing a stop sign, running a red light, and failing to yield the right of way.  For these reasons, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer when you receive a summons for a moving violation, particularly a speeding ticket.

Check Your Points

New York State DMV’s “MyDMV” service allows users to check their points on their New York State driver’s license. Taking a DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course (usually online) will help prevent you from losing your license if you accrue 11 or more points on your driving record. Four points are ‘subtracted’ to calculate a suspension if you have 11 or more points. The tickets/points do not physically come off your driving record, but this system can potentially save you 10 percent on your automobile liability and collision insurance premiums. This offers a glimmer of hope and control in managing your points and insurance premiums.

Shannon L. Malone, Esq. is an Associate Attorney at Glynn Mercep Purcell and Morrison LLP in Setauket. She graduated from Touro Law, where she wrote and served as an editor of the Touro Law Review. Ms. Malone is a proud Stony Brook University alumna.