As drivers, we should be concerned about our driving record. Our licensing state enters accidents, moving violations and other automobile related citation convictions onto our record and keeps tabs to make sure we are not a negligent or habitual offender whose license should be suspended. Our insurance company checks our motor vehicle record to make sure we are not too high of a risk. If as a driver, you get too many offenses on our MVR our insurance company will raise your rates, not renew your policy or just plain old cancel your policy. Both your state's Department of Motor Vehicles and your insurance carrier do not like high-risk drivers. The DMV does not want a high risk, negligent driver on the roadway and in the case of an insurance company; they do not want to cover a high-risk driver that could lead them to covering too many claims due to negligent driving.
Since both the DMV and insurance providers track your driving, record you to should be aware of what is on your driving record. You should find out how long your points and violations stay on your record and thus can affect your ability to drive and be insured. There is not any general period for points or violations to say on a driver's history, all states have their own laws and statutes that determine this so you will need to find out from your state-licensing agency how long points and violations remain on your record.
Below are several examples from a variety of states regarding how long points and violations stay on your driving record. This is just a small illustration of how points systems and moving violation conviction records work across the United States.
In Maryland, traffic violations remain on your driver record until the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) officially expunges them after 3 years. Certain criteria must be met for the automatic expungement of points; if this criterion is not met, you can request manual expungement, after 3 years from the date of the violation.
Points on your driving record are considered public information, and thus can be pulled up by an insurance company, employer, or other public entity, for 3 years from the violation date. However, after 2 years from the violation date, the points are no longer considered "current" by the MVA and thus not counted as part of your accumulated points.
In Pennsylvania, their Department of Transportation (PennDOT) notes that the purpose of the PA point system is to help improve driving habits and ensure safe driving. PennDOT begins to take corrective actions when a person's driving record reaches six or more points. When a person's record reaches 6 points for the first time they will be required to attend an approved driver improvement school. Upon completing the school, 2 points will be removed from the person's record.
PennDOT also allow points to be removed from your driving record for safe driving. You can get 3 points removed from your driving history for every 12 consecutive months (from the date of the last violation) you go without a violation, which results in points, license suspension, or revocation. Once a driving record is reduced to zero and remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any further accumulation of points is treated as the first accumulation of points.
According to the South Carolina Driver's Manual, points one year old are cut in half and after two years, they will be wiped out completely. The violation, however, will remain on your SC driving record for 3 years from the date the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) received notification of the ticket.
The SCDMV allows points to be reduced in this was in hopes that a motorist will improve their driving and get no more points so that their driving record can once again be clear of all points. There is also a provision in the South Carolina law that allows a driver to reduce points on their license by four upon successful completion of an approved defensive driving course. Only one such reduction in a 3-year period is permitted under this provision.
In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles keeps a public record of all your traffic convictions and accidents. Tickets and accidents are assigned points. Each incident is assigned a point. Depending on the type of traffic ticket, you can get from 1 or 2 points for a traffic ticket, 1 point for an accident.
The length of time points (and the violation) 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 36 months (3 years). Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or DUI, stay on your CA record for up to 10 years.
Utah's points system allows for when you drive one full year without a moving traffic violation conviction, for one-half your accumulated points to be removed from your driving record. If you drive two straight years without a conviction, all points are deleted. Otherwise, individual convictions are automatically removed 3 years after the date of the violation.
In New York State the DMV computer system automatically calculates your point total when you are assigned points on your license for a moving violation. Your point total is the total number of driver violation points that you received during the 18 previous months.
Points are counted from the dates of your traffic violations, not from the dates of your traffic convictions. A traffic conviction is required for the points to appear on your driver record. Eighteen (18) months after the date of the violation, the points for that violation are removed from your point total. The convictions remain on your record.
Under Michigan's point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction.
The system used to post points to your driving record is separate from the points assigned by an insurance company to determine your rate. Michigan is like most states in that auto insurance is regulated by state law on a competitive basis.
Michigan state law sets forth the factors that companies use when setting their auto rates. Insurers writing individual policies are required at least annually to provide you with a description of the rating classifications they use in setting rates. This notification must occur with the notice of the renewal of the insurance.
Violations may stay on the same amount of time as points or for a different amount of time; again it will depend upon state laws. For example:
The state of Virginia, like most states, uses a point system to assign points for traffic violations to a driver's state driving record. Virginia DMV though is different in that it can either assign positive or negative points on the driving record.
Negative points or demerit points are received from traffic violations. A Positive point is given by the state to drivers with a valid Virginia driver's license, who maintain a violation free driving record for one full calendar year. You can use positive points to help offset negative points you receive from traffic violations.
Each time you commit a traffic offense, DMV adds additional demerit points to your record. Offenses in Virginia are usually assigned three, four, or six demerit points. This can add up to big trouble for some drivers. If you have banked positive points, it can help you though with the accumulation of demerit points.
As mentioned earlier safety driving points 9positive points) are assigned for each full calendar year that you hold a valid Virginia driver's license and drive without any violations or suspensions. In some cases, you may also earn safe driving points by completing a driver improvement clinic. You can accumulate five safe driving points and you may use these safe driving points to offset demerit points.
For example if you for five years you have followed all the safe driving rules and not received any tickets you would accumulate a safe driving point each year, for a total of five points. If then one day you run a red light the VA DMV would assign four demerit points to your driving record. However, since you had earned five safe driving (positive) points, you would end up with one safe driving point left on your record.
In VA, the dates that the points are removed from your driving record are not related to the date that the conviction is removed from your driving history. For instance, a running a red light violation conviction stays on a Virginia motor vehicle record for the 3 years but the demerit points remain on the record for only 2 years from the date that the offense was committed.
In Virginia, the length of time that a conviction stays on your record depends on the severity of the violation. If you receive an order or notice of revocation, suspension, disqualification, or cancellation, your convictions could remain on your record for even longer than most other violations listed on the VA points/convictions schedule. Most minor offenses in VA stay on your MVR for 3 years but as the seriousness of the violation goes up so does the period of time the conviction remains. It goes up to 5 or 11 years for more serious moving violation and then permanently for something like a CDL holder being convicted of a DUI.
In VA, as in most states, your insurance company may also assign points on your insurance record; however, DMV demerit points are not related to insurance company points. Insurance company points are developed by individual companies.
In Florida, the HSMV uses the offense date of all convictions to compute points and suspensions. Points that are placed on your Florida driver's license, due to traffic violations, stay on your record and for insurance purposes; they are counted against you for three years. However, the points are not removed at that point. Points can continue to accumulate on your record beyond those 3 years though so the state can keep track and impose penalties if necessary.
Beyond this 3-year period if you accumulate 3 major offenses or 15 minor offenses for which you receive points for within a 5-year period, your Florida license can be revoked. If you have amassed this amount of points in and offenses within 5 years, you are found by the FL Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) to be a habitual traffic offender (HTO).
The HSMV notes that convictions reflecting point assessments remain on a customer's complete driver history record for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction. However, serious convictions (DUI, DUI/Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, etc.) will remain on the record for 75 years.
Some states have laws about how long an insurance company can look back at items on your driving record while others do not and leave it up to the insurance company. If you have a question about your company's rating system and how long they "look back" at your moving violations discuss it with your agent since rating systems differ from one insurance carrier to another.
Every insurance company has different criteria. In general, a company reviews the last three, either 5 or 7 years of driving history and/or claims report. You can ask the company how long they review your record. Each insurance company will also usually assign a point-value to your state's driving record incidents. This point-value is unrelated to the state's licensing point system, which is used for driving eligibility.
One thing you can do to help yourself is to know what is on your driving record. This way you will know if you are close to being termed a negligent driver or habitual offender and thus may receive any type of suspension of your driver's license from your state. In addition, you will know what violations are on your record that could affect your insurance rates.
If you are unsure, whether points or violations have dropped off your state's motor vehicle record (MVR) or what exactly you have on your driving record contact your state's licensing agency, usually the DMV, to get a copy of your driving record. It usually cost a nominal amount to request the copy. Once you have your record if you see that you do have violations and/or points on it. You may want to see if there is a way to expunge, take a driver improvement, or traffic school class to get violations or points off your record Your DMV can advise you on this and tell you if your state offers such options to clean up your record. A clean driving record is one that is free of accidents, moving violations or points.
Since state laws vary so much on how long points and violation remain on a person's driving record you can also contact the DMV for this information or just look online. Most DMVs have the state's driver handbook posted online and this guidebook normally notes the state's point's schedule. In addition, it includes how long violations will remain on a driving record.
Keep on top of your insurance carrier as well. Ask your agent about your insurance company's rating system and how various moving violations can affect your rates. Know how long their "look back" period is. If your rates are too high due to your driving record then shop around. Most states allow competition among insurance carriers and thus rating systems differ (though all are filed and approved by the state insurance regulator). Due to the different rating systems, out there you can shop around, find different rates with different carriers, and thus search for the best insurance coverage and premiums for your particular situation.