All but nine states use a driver’s license point system to track traffic violations. The points system values each type of traffic violation as a specific number of points, and if you are guilty of that violation, those points go on your driving record. When a driver has more than a specified number of points on his or her record, their license can be suspended or revoked. Insurance companies also keep track of the license points for their customers and increase rates for those with multiple traffic violations.
Looking up your driving record to see if you have any points can help you avoid a license suspension or an insurance rate hike, and you may be able to take action to have the points removed.
How Driver’s License Points Work
Each state is responsible for assigning points to violations, and there is some regional variance, but for the most part the scale is the same everywhere. Traffic violations that result in points include speeding, driving without insurance, and driving under the influence (DUI). Less severe violations - such as not using a turn signal - earn fewer points, and more severe violations - such as reckless driving - earn more. Commercial drivers often get higher points for the same violation as a passenger car driver, and drivers under 18 years of age usually do not receive points.
Most driver’s license points are automatically removed from a driving record after a specified amount of time. However, with a serious offense such as a DUI, points can stay on a driving record for as long as ten years.
Checking the Points on Your License Online
Most state motor vehicle agencies issuing driver’s licenses have a website for checking points on licenses. This service is free, but you may need to create an account at the site before you can check your points.
Go to the website of your state’s motor vehicle agency and look for a link to the ‘driver’s license check’ or ‘driver’s license status’ page. Enter the information requested, which includes your name and driver’s license number. Then you can gain access to your driving record and view any points on your license.
Other Ways to Check the Points on Your License
If your state does not have a website for running a driver’s license check, you may need to request this information by phone, by mailing in a form, or by visiting a field office in-person.
Third party vendors can also provide you with a driving record report, but you must pay a fee for this service. This is usually quicker than requesting a copy of your driving record by phone or by mail.