How many times have you been pulled over? Is getting the odd ticket no big deal for you? You might be cool about it, but letting those points add up can mean bad news for your license. Whether you`re frantically trying to correct your driving record, or just want to prevent future tickets from jeopardizing your license, traffic school might be a great avenue.
The Point System
Most states use a point system to monitor your driving infractions. States that don`t use this system include Minnesota, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Kansas, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Even though they don`t use points, there are still repercussions for violations. So first, check out your state`s point guidelines, if applicable.
You`ll notice that states take into account the severity of the violation, as well as a time span in which multiple violations occur. For example, in Florida, you can have your license suspended for a month if you get 12 points in a year. Twelve points can be four minor violations, like going ten miles over the speed limit or littering, or two more serious violations, like causing an accident while speeding.
The points can remain on your record for quite a while, too -- usually three years for minor tickets, or 10 years for serious stuff, like DUIs. If you find yourself getting pulled over for a dead brake light, or collecting a number of parking tickets, relax. These usually don`t add points to your license.
While we`re discussing points, it`s important to note that these don`t always affect your insurance, because companies have their own methods of tracking your record. Therefore, it may be a good idea to ask your insurance provider what their rating system is, and where you stand.
Can Traffic School Help?
If you have an impending hearing for an infraction, ask your court clerk if you can smooth things over when you sign up for online traffic school. To be clear, traffic school won`t affect points that were already there -- it just might prevent recent tickets you`ve gotten from adding points to your license.
Ensure that you get answers from local authorities on whether or not your violation is even eligible for resolution through education. If you`ve had a DUI, were drag racing, or otherwise going at an egregiously high rate of speed, there`s a good chance traffic school won`t do much -- if anything -- for your case.
And unfortunately, you can`t just rest on traffic school to keep your record in good shape. Your state might have a rule in place restricting the number of times you can take courses to clear up a ticket in a single year.
On the plus side of things, if you are eligible for traffic school, you can get it done online. While this is very convenient, be sure to complete your course in the time frame given by the ticketing officer.
If you let your eye wander away from the speedometer, don`t beat yourself up too much. Traffic school not only allows you to prevent those points, but gives you a nice refresher on proper driving. Stay safe on the road -- and stay on the road in general -- with continuing education.