California’s Traffic Violations Points System

Written By | Doreen Almirol | 20+ years CA DMV Licensed Driving Instructor

Navigating California’s roads requires not only skill but also a keen understanding of traffic laws to ensure the safety of all road users. Unfortunately, not everyone adheres to these rules, and when violations occur, they can have consequences that extend beyond the immediate inconvenience of a ticket.

In California, accumulating points on your driving record due to traffic violations can lead to various repercussions, including potential impacts on your driver’s license. Let’s delve into the intricacies of traffic violations, points, and how they affect your driving privileges in the Golden State.

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The Point System in California

The California DMV Point System is designed to promote safe driving behavior by assigning points for various traffic violations. Each traffic violation is assigned a specific point value, and these points accumulate on your driving record. The severity of the violation determines the number of points assigned. For instance, a minor infraction might result in one point, while a more serious offense can lead to two or more points. Accumulating too many points within a specific timeframe can result in consequences such as license suspension, probation, or the mandatory completion of a traffic school program.

Common Traffic Violations and Point Assignments

1 | Speeding Tickets

Exceeding the speed limit by 1 to 15 mph: 1 point

Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 25 mph: 2 points

2 | Reckless Driving

Reckless driving: 2 points can include, but not limited to: excessive speeding (100mph+), aggressive driving, running red light/stop signs, evading law enforcement and/or street racing)

3 | Failure to Obey Traffic Sign/Signal

Running a red light: 1 point

Running a stop sign: 1 point

4 | Driving Under the Influence (DUI):

Alcohol or Drugs: 2 points (plus additional legal consequences)

5 | Failure to Yield

Failure to yield to a pedestrian: 1 point

Failure to yield to another vehicle: 1 points

6 | At-Fault Accidents

At-fault accident (property damage > $1,000): 1 point

At-fault accident (injury or death): 2 points

Accumulating Points and Consequences

The accumulation of points on your driving record can trigger various consequences, including:

1 | Increased Insurance Premiums

Insurance companies often review driving records when determining insurance premiums. The more points you accumulate, the higher the likelihood of facing increased insurance costs. $$$

2 | License Suspension or Revocation

Accumulating a certain number of points within a specified timeframe can lead to a suspension or revocation of your California driver’s license. The specific threshold varies based on factors such as age and license type.

3 | Traffic School as a Mitigation Measure

In some cases, drivers may be eligible to attend traffic school to mitigate points on their record. However, this option is not available for all violations, and it can only be used once every 18 months.


Steps to Maintain a Clean Driving Record

1 | Drive Responsibly

Adhering to speed limits, traffic signals, and other rules of the road is the most effective way to avoid accumulating points on your driving record.

2 | Attend Traffic School

If eligible, attending traffic school can prevent points from being added to your record.

3 | Check Your Driving Record

Regularly review your driving record to ensure its accuracy and to address any potential issues promptly.

In California, understanding the implications of traffic violations and the point system is crucial for maintaining a clean driving record. Responsible driving not only keeps you and others safe on the road but also helps you avoid the potential consequences of accumulating points on your license. Stay informed, drive safely, and enjoy the freedom of the open road responsibly.

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