What is a Point?
If you don't drive smart and drive safe, your chances of getting a ticket or being involved in a collision increase. You also increase your chances of losing your driver license.
What is a "point" and how does that affect me?
Tickets and accidents are assigned points. Each incident is assigned a point. Depending on the type of traffic ticket, you can get from 1 - 2 points for a traffic ticket, 1 point for an accident.
Examples of points:
- If you get a ticket for speeding, running a red light, making an unsafe lane change, or having an at-fault accident, a point will be placed on your driving record.
- If you are convicted for reckless driving, hit-and-run, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, or driving while suspended or revoked, you will receive two points on your record.
Does DMV monitor my driver record?
DMV keeps a record of all traffic convictions and accidents. Each traffic violation and/or accident is assigned a point on your driver record. Your driving record is public information and anyone, even a parent or guardian, may request a copy by submitting a Request for Record Information (INF 70) form with the appropriate fee. You may request your own driving record on the DMV website.
How To Keep Your Provisional License
The department will be watching your driving record very closely and will take actions based upon the accidents or violations that appear on your driver record. Here is what will happen:
- If you have one "at fault" accident or conviction within 12 months, the DMV will send you a warning letter.
- After a second "at fault" accident or conviction (or combination of both) within 12 months, you cannot drive for 30 days unless accompanied by your parent or other licensed adult who is at least 25 years of age.
- After a third "at fault" accident or conviction (or any combination) within 12 months, you will be suspended for six months and be placed on probation for one year.
- If you have additional "at fault" accidents or point count convictions while your driving privilege is on probation, you will be suspended again. (Traffic law violations resolved in Juvenile court are also reported to DMV.)
- If you are convicted of using alcohol or a controlled substance and you are between the ages of 13 and 21, the court will tell DMV to suspend you for one year. If you don't have a driver license yet, the court will tell DMV to make you wait a year longer before you can apply for a license. You can also be required to go to a DUI program.
Any restriction, suspension or probation will continue past your 18th birthday for its full term.
Other, stronger actions can be taken if your driving record justifies them. Remember, when your driving privilege has been suspended or revoked, you may not drive in California with any license or permit.
How can I avoid getting a point on my driving record?
You can avoid getting a point on your driving record by driving smart and driving safe. You can do this by obeying all traffic laws, following your provisional driving rules, and driving defensively to avoid collisions. Distractions such as these are very dangerous:
- Changing CDs, adjusting the radio, using your cell phone, eating, and being distracted by passengers.
- Driving recklessly, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and a general disregard to weather and road conditions, and having an aggressive attitude toward other drivers.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Drag racing, attempting to evade law enforcement, and other unlawful (and dangerous) acts.
How long does a point stay on my driver record?
The length of time depends on the severity of the offense. Most points (illegal turn, not making a complete stop, driving over the speed limit, etc.) and/or accidents will stay on your driver record for 39 months (3 years, 3 months). Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or a DUI, will stay on your record for 13 years.
Most people like to have "clean" driving records. That means no points on your driving record. Having lots of points on your driving record not only affects your driving privilege, but how much you will pay for car insurance (a lot more than you or your parents do now!) and perhaps the chance of getting or keeping a job you really want.