Committing traffic violations will result in your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Department of Public Safety (DPS) recording them to your driving record. There are states (most states) that will use a point system to record the level of violations you’ve committed. Different points correlate with different levels of traffic violation. States that do not use a point system will, instead, take action against your license depending on the level of severity of the violation.

Check in with you state to see what level or what degree certain violations are defined as in your state.

The purpose of the state’s point system is to keep record of dangerous, high risk or careless drivers. You state’s DMV or DPS website will show you how to track certain points against your driving record.

Please note, the accumulation of points on your driver record can be costly. A high level of points will cause you to be labeled as a high risk driver and, consequently, your auto-insurance companies can and will charge higher premiums. A certain level of points, however, can go further and suspend or revoke your license. You will have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees to get your license reinstated.

Visit your respective state’s DMV or DPS site to learn the level of points administered toward your driving record and which certain driving offenses increase those points. You can also learn how to get a copy of your driving history and who to reach out to if there is an error. There is also instructions on how to maintain a clean driving history.

Most states will have a Defensive Driving course you can attend in order to alleviate fees, penalties or even dismiss a traffic violation. Review your local classes and make sure that the defensive driving class you’re attending has filed with your state’s DMV or DPS.

All states will communicate with violators letting them know that ‘Driving Is Not a Right’

In all states, it is considered a privilege to drive, not a right and it must be earned through education or behavior that demonstrates a sound mind. There are a number of infraction that can cause you to lose your driving privileges. From not paying child support to addiction to drugs or alcohol or failure to pay traffic fines.

Also, if you accrue a high level of points that the state deems maximum or too high, you can lose your driving privileges. There are different point values assigned to different traffic violations and a running record or tally is kept each time you receive a ticket. Those points will remain on your driving history for different periods of time. It all depends on the level of severity of your violations.

If you flee the scene of an accident, also known as a hit and run, if you speed and it results in an accident, if you drive recklessly or if you commit a moving violation that results in an accident, if you exceed the posted speed limit at certain levels (15 to 20 MPH or above could result in suspension, see your state’s website), if you disobey traffic signals or devices, if you drive with an open container (some states allow open containers, again, check with your state) you could incur points against your driving history.

To see a full list of violations and the points incurred for that respective violation, please reference your state’s DMV or DPS website.

If you’ve met the point maximum in your state, your license may be suspended.

For those under the age of 18, the law is even stricter. If you meet the maximum points, your license could be restricted to specific uses (typically for transportation to and from work or to get groceries or medication)

Driving out of state will accrue the same amount of points on your state license for any convictions in any state or federal court.

To check the status of your driver’s license, follow your states license check service. These states will allow you to see whether or not your current license is valid. If you need to get more information on your driving record or see any points that may have been accumulated, you may have to order a driving record report. Services like these are usually filed with third parties that are working with your state’s DMV or DPS. They are able to pull your entire driving record for your review. A driving record is especially helpful in the event that you suspect you may be close to license suspension, or when you take a driving course to offset any potential license points.

As mentioned before, you can opt to take a Defensive Driver or ‘Driver Improvement Course’ (there are both online and in-person classes available). Those who commit criminal violations or who hold a Commercial Driver’s License are unable to use this path to defer points, regardless of what they were driving when the violation was committed.