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The DMV driver violation point system helps to identify drivers who commit several traffic violations during a specific time period.

Eleven Points:

  • Speed 41+ over the speed limit

Eight Points:

  • Speed 31-40 over the speed limit

Six Points

  • Speed 21-30 over the speed limit

Five Points:

  • Failed to stop for a school bus
  • Reckless Driving
  • NEW:  Cell Phone violations carry FIVE points as of June 2013.

Four Points:

  • Speed 11-20 over the speed limit
  • Following too closely
  • Inadequate brakes

Three Points:

  • 10 mph or less over the speed limit.
  • Unreasonable speed (no exact speed cited)
  • Passing improperly, changing lanes unsafely, driving to the left of center, driving in the wrong direction
  • Failed to obey a traffic signal, a Stop sign, or a Yield sign
  • Railroad crossing violation
  • Failed to yield the right-of-way
  • Seat belt and child safety seat violations for passengers under the age of 16
  • Left the scene of an accident that includes property damage or the injury of a domestic animal
  • Cell Phone violations carry three points if issued between October 2011 and May 2013.

Two Points:

  • Disobey traffic control device
  • Failure to comply with a lawful order
  • Cell phone violations carry two points if issued between February and September 2011
  • Most other violations not specifically mentioned above

Zero Points:

  • Seat belt violations for adults (over age of 16)
  • Cell phone violations carry no points if issued prior to February 2011 

DMV calculates your point total by looking at the violation points you received during the 18 previous months. The points are counted from the dates of your traffic violations, not from the dates of your traffic convictions. Points do not appear on your driver record until you have actually been convicted of the violation. Eighteen months after the date of the violation, the points for that violation are removed from your point total. However, the conviction remains on your record forever. Your driver abstract will always reflect that you were guilty of a particular traffic violation no matter how long ago it was.

Except for Ontario and Quebec, points are not added to your NYS driver record if you commit an out-of-state traffic violation. Points can appear on your NYS driver record if you commit a traffic violation in Ontario or Quebec.

A note on automobile insurance

Insurance companies have their own internal systems of calculating points to determine which drivers are a greater risk to insure. In fact, some insurance companies consider some no point violations (seat belt, for example) evidence that a driver is a greater risk and will potentially raise insurance rates for these no point violations.  From an insurance perspective, consider the severity of the violation to be the important factor, not whether NY State chooses to assess 1, 10 or 100 points for a particular violation.  Insurance companies don’t suddenly consider a cellphone ticket more serious just because NY State made it a two point violation instead of no points in February 2011.  To the insurance company, the violation constitutes the same risk it always did.

New York Driver Responsibility Program

In 2004, New York State started the Driver Responsibility Program. The purpose of the program is to place an additional financial burden on drivers who accumulate a certain number of points from tickets issued in New York. The fees imposed as a result of this program are significant and should be part of your decision making process when determining whether to fight a New York traffic ticket and whether to hire an attorney.

You will be liable for this assessment whether you have a New York license or a license from another state. Anyone who drives in New York is subject to this penalty.


You must pay the driver responsibility assessment if any of the following incidents occur in New York State:

  • You receive six or more points on your NYS driver record during a period of 18 months and the violations occurred on or after November 18, 2004
  • You are convicted of an alcohol-related traffic violation (DUI) and the violation occurred on or after November 18, 2004 (includes boats and snowmobiles)
  • You are convicted of a drug-related traffic violation and the violation occurred on or after November 18, 2004 (includes boats and snowmobiles)
  • A DMV hearing determines that you refused a chemical test and the refusal occurred on or after November 18, 2004 (includes boats and snowmobiles)

If you receive six points on your driver record during a period of 18 months, the annual assessment is $100/yr for three years ($300 total). If you receive more than six points, there is an additional assessment of $25/yr for three years for each point above six ($75 total). As an example, if you accumulate nine points, you will have to pay $300 for the first six points and $225 for the next three points ($75*3) for a total of $525.

If you are convicted of a traffic violation that is alcohol-related or drug-related (DUI), or if you refuse a chemical test, the annual assessment is $250. The minimum amount that you must pay each year is the annual assessment. The total assessment for the three years is $750.