How the Point System Works
When drivers violate traffic laws, they are often dealt consequences. While those consequences can include monetary fines, criminal charges and driver license penalties, they can also cause the driver to accumulate points on his or her driving record. These points are a way for the court to penalize drivers for committing cumulative traffic violations. Here are some ways the point system can affect your license and insurance in South Carolina.
Which Charges Accrue Points?
There are many different driving offenses that can be penalized with points. The most well-known violations include things like speeding, reckless driving, running a red light and failing to signal, but there are several other possible infractions, including the following:
- Failing to obey railroad signs and other traffic devices
- Operating a vehicle with improper lights or brakes
- Passing illegally or failing to signal
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving in unsafe conditions or through a safety zone
- Neglecting to signal for sudden slowing or stopping
Drivers can also be ticketed for failing to dim their lights, reversing or changing lanes improperly, turning illegally and parking dangerously.
How Do Points Affect Drivers?
There are a number of ways that points can affect drivers. One of the most well-known is increases in insurance rates. While a clean record (0-points) can result in insurance discounts, point accrual often leads to premium increases. In addition to this, there are other ways that points can affect a driver monetarily. Many jobseekers don’t realize this, but potential employees can actually access a candidate’s driving record and use the information to make a decision, possibly costing the applicant employment.
In South Carolina, the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) closely monitors points and allows officers to access the information when pulling a driver over to see if the person is a repeat offender or not. The DMV will also issue a letter when a driver reaches six points to alert them of possible consequences of continued bad behavior. At twelve points, the license will be suspended and additional requirements will need to be met for reinstatement.
What Happens to the Points?
For traffic fines in South Carolina, the number of points you accrued for a specific violation will be reduced by half one year after the violation occurred. You may also complete defensive driving courses to remove points. In many cases, drivers can enlist the help of an experienced legal counselor to aid them in fighting their tickets to reduce points and the consequences caused by them.
If you are unsure about the number of points you’ve accrued, you can request your driving record report to evaluate the need for professional help to avoid additional consequences.