Traffic Violation – What’s the Point(s)?

Many, if not most, people have been pulled over and received a traffic ticket at one time or another. However, not many people understand how the traffic points system works in Pennsylvania. 

Failing to understand the traffic points system can lead to unfortunate consequences, such as increased insurance rates and driver’s license suspensions.  Consequently, it is important to understand the points system, how it works, and what violations carry what amount of points.

Types of Violations

In Pennsylvania, there are generally two types of traffic violations, a moving violation involving failure to obey a specific traffic sign, such as a stop sign, a yield sign, or a red light, and a speeding violation.  Each type of violation is assigned a set number of points. The number of points per violation varies depending on the severity of the offense. For very minor violations, no points are assigned.

Most violations carry 2 or 3 points, whereas the most severe offenses carry 5 points.  In addition to the points assigned to each offense, each offense also carries a fine, which generally increases with the severity of the offense.

Points System

There are some violations which don’t carry any points.  The two most common no point violations are speeding up to 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit and what is known as a 3111(a), which is the Section number in the motor vehicle code, more commonly known as the failure to obey a traffic control device. This is a catch-all provision which can encompass failure to obey road signs or even a general failure to obey the speed limit.

Some two point violations include driving 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  Some common 3 point violations include failure to stop at a stop sign or red light and driving 11 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Furthermore, some violations even carry five points. Failure to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights carries a 60-day license suspension in addition to 5 points.  Driving 26 to 30 mph over the speed limit carries 5 points plus a 15-day license suspension if it occurs in an active work zone, and driving 31 miles per hour over the speed limit carries the same sanctions as 26 to 30 mph over plus a departmental hearing.

Accumulation of Points

It is also important to understand what happens when you accumulate a certain number of points. The first time you accumulate six points, you must take a test regarding general driving knowledge.  The test must be passed and if it is not, the driver’s license will be suspended. If six points are accumulated for a second or third time, there are additional penalties that can be imposed, such as a driver’s license suspension or an on the road driving test. 

If a driver accumulates 11 points, their license will be suspended with the length of time being determined by the number of points accumulated and whether the license has been previously suspended.

Read this follow up post on items that can cause you to get a ticket without a moving violation.

If you have a question regarding a traffic issue, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Trinity Law today at 717-843-8046. Our attorneys routinely handle traffic matters in York, Lancaster and surrounding counties.