A woman was driving through a school zone when a police officer pulled her over for speeding. As he was giving her the ticket, she said, “How come I always get a ticket and everyone else gets a warning? Is it my face?”
“No, ma’am,” explained the officer, “it’s your foot.”
In truth, getting a speeding ticket is no laughing matter. You could face numerous penalties, fines and other consequences. One of the most confusing is the NJ Motor Vehicle points system.
It’s something many of us do on a regular basis. Rushing, hurrying through life and trying to get to our destination that much sooner, we drive a little (or a lot) over the posted speed limit, betting that we won’t get caught. Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous gamble because being pulled over can add points to your license. Once you understand more about the NJ motor vehicle points system for speeding, you might ease off that accelerator more often.
An explanation of the NJ Motor Vehicle points system for speeding
As you may have heard, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission will add points to your driving record if you are caught speeding. This can also happen for both major and lesser traffic offenses. But what does it all really mean?
When you are found guilty of any kind of motor vehicle moving violation, points are added to your license. The number of points you receive depends on the specific violation. Offenses typically earn you between 2 and 8 points based on the NJ motor vehicle points system.
Minor offenses warrant two points. These include:
- Failure to yield right of way to a pedestrian
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Traveling the wrong way down a one-way street
- Destruction of property
- Blocking traffic by driving too slow
- Not observing traffic lanes
- Driving on a sidewalk
- Speeding 1 to 14 MPH over the posted speed limit
- Running a red light
- Leaving the scene of an accident (where no injuries occurred)
- Disobeying stop or yield signs
- Unlawful use of the median area on roads such as the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike
- Getting a moving violation conviction in any state other than New Jersey. For example, if you get a speeding ticket in Pennsylvania, points will still be added. This includes any moving violation, in addition to speeding. Even if hold a license in a different state, the points you receive for speeding in NJ may transfer over to your home state. The points imposed by your home state could be higher than what you receive from New Jersey. There are 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, that share this information and enforce these points
Violations that merit three points or more include:
- Going against right or left turn laws: 3 points.
- Making an illegal U-turn: 3 points.
- Passing in a no passing zone: 4 points.
- Excessive Speeding:
15- 29 MPH over: 4 points.
30 MPH or more over: 5 points.
- Racing on streets or highways: 5 points.
- Driving recklessly: 5 points.
- Passing or attempting to pass a stopped school bus: 5 points.
- An accident that causes personal injury: 8 points.
What are the consequences of having too many points?
Having points on your driving record is not something you think about every day, but it cannot be ignored. If you accrue too many of them, you may be subject to expensive fines or even have your license suspended. Your license can be suspended for up to 180 days if you accumulate 28 or more points in two years or less.
Those with a commercial driver’s license can face numerous penalties if convicted of a moving violation. Even if you are not operating a commercial vehicle when the traffic offense was committed, you could still be at risk for losing your CDL and not be eligible for its reinstatement.
Just two points can cause your insurance rates to increase. Accumulating more than four points may result in significantly higher rates and make it difficult to obtain insurance at all. You should also be aware that your insurance company could decide to cancel your coverage altogether if you or a family member on your policy receives more than five points. Even if you work to reduce your points, your insurance company may not factor these efforts into your premium costs.
Points are added in an effort to encourage you to improve your driving behaviors. If you collect 6 or more points within three years, you will have to pay an annual surcharge for three years. This does not include the fees and fines you already pay to go to court. Getting more than 12 points will result in the loss of your driving privileges.
What are your options when you have points on your driving record?
Try to keep your record clean from now on – you can have points deducted from your driving record if you avoid any moving violations for 12 months. This will remove three points from your record.
Take proactive steps to improve — if you complete a driver improvement program, you can remove three points from your license. Taking a state-approved defense driving course can eliminate two points.
Dispute the charges – this can be a long and exhaustive process. To fight a speeding ticket, you must go to court, plead not guilty and go through all the steps of a traffic court case. If you can present a successful defense and prove your case, you will avoid points, fines and fees. This option should not be taken lightly.