Not using a turn signal or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign are commonplace on every street. Other more egregious actions include:
- speeding excessively
- weaving in and out of lanes
- passing on the shoulder of the road
The infractions mentioned above occur with alarming frequency and create major safety hazards on highways.
To keep roads safe, law enforcement officers pull over drivers committing moving violations and issue them a citation or as the summons is more commonly known, a ticket.
Serious consequences may result as a ticket does more than just levy a fine. A log is made of the illegal action placing “points” on a license. Insurance companies are notified of points and end up adjusting – raising – insurance premiums accordingly.
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The Point System
Penalty points are negative marks on a driving record that allow the state to levy necessary action against someone who simply is too much of a risk for the roads.
Not all tickets issued, however, generate driving record points.
Not wearing a seatbelt might lead to a ticket, but not points depending on the jurisdiction.
Moving violations are at the core of any points. In California, certain violations may carry one point, others may carry two, and those who cause an accident may find even more points added to the total.
Similarly, the log of points within a set timeframe and the accompanying penalties are going to vary in the numerous states.
The goal of all the state rules is to reprimand and dissuade a driver from ever committing an offense on the road. The monetary fines associated with points can do so.
The same is true of the dangers of accumulating too many points in too short of a timeframe.
As the saying goes, driving is a privilege and not a right. An accumulation of too many points within established timeframes could lead to the suspension or outright revocation of driving privileges.
Driving with a revoked or suspended license could lead to even more serious legal troubles.
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The Impact on Insurance
The monetary damage goes beyond the cost of the ticket. Insurance premiums are going to rise. A driver who continually receives moving violation citations is a risk on the road.
- Someone who makes and unsafe lane change has established his/her propensity to raise the chances of causing an accident.
- A person who passes a stopped school bus, ignoring all laws that mandate a complete stop, is a person who could potentially seriously injure a young child.
Upon reviewing the levied points and the specific citation charges, insurance companies are going to adjust rates accordingly.
Points are Not Forever
Points do fall off a driving record after an established amount of time. The amount of time the points remain on a person’s driving record varies among the individual states.
A person living in Maine only has to worry about points appearing on a license for one year, whereas someone living in Ohio has to deal with the points remaining for three years.
Do not confuse the insurance company’s rules with the state’s rules.
An insurance company may increase premiums for two years or more for a speeding ticket even though the state in which the ticket issued the points drop them after one year.
The Driving School Option
All hope might not be lost for a driver hammered with tickets.
A state or locality, such as the District of Columbia, may offer the option of going to driving/traffic school. Doing well on a defensive driving test may set aside the issuance of points.
Removing the points and, possibly, dismissing the ticket may be achieved after attending the school. Insurance rates cannot go up since there are no points on the record.
Relying on driving school as an excuse to drive unsafely would be a bad idea for obvious safety reasons. Additionally, a state may limit how much time must pass between tickets before the school option is available.
A Forgiving Insurance Provider
An auto insurance company may not raise rates for a single traffic ticket that a driver gets. A person who has been with an insurance provider for five years and never received a ticket might be “forgiven” for getting a citation.
A person who gets two tickets in, say, one or two years is likely to receive a premium increase.
In general, citations mean higher rates. Do not count on the insurance company providing any level of forgiveness. Plan on paying a little more.
On Buying Car Insurance
Those in the market for auto insurance with points on their record do need to accept they may receive a higher quote than someone with a clean driving record.
Looking for a significant number of different premium quotes is strongly recommended in this situation because doing so increases the chances of finding a good deal.
The previously mentioned driving school course may be worth enrolling in as a means of saving money. In New York, completing the course could offset some or all of the increases in premiums.
Similar programs are sure to be found in other states as well, but specific rules and requirements vary.
A High-Risk Policy
Persons who have been involved in a serious accident, driving-related crimes, or have accumulated a great many points, might be forced into purchasing a costly high-risk policy. This high-risk policy requirement may be utterly unavoidable due to the driver’s history.
The future, however, is another matter.
Any driver who has been seriously fined — or worse — due to driving habits positively must rethink his/her approach to moving a car on the road. Higher insurance premiums may be the least of such a driver’s worry.
Taking clear steps to improve driving could save people’s lives.
Reviewing Policy Options
Points on a license create obstacles to low-cost insurance policies. This does not mean a competitive policy is out of the reach of a driver who has amassed points.
Looking closely at a variety of policy quotes could lead to acquiring a great policy at a fair rate.
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