Pennsylvania Traffic Points System

Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation (PennDOT) maintains a driving record for every licensed motorist within the state. On this record is a vast amount of information regarding various aspects of your driving history - including details about your vehicle(s), the state of your license, collisions, and other relevant information.

Most motorists don't show much concern about their driving record until they start to experience the consequences of having a poor one. The Pennsylvania point system is one of the main culprits for a poor driving record. Motorists who are convicted of traffic citations will have several “points” added on their record. As more points accumulate, the more penalties motorists become exposed to.

Drivers with too many points on their record have been subject to skyrocketing insurance premiums, the loss of driving privileges, and even the loss of their career (in the case of commercial drivers). The state's point system is complex. For the purposes of this article, I will provide an overview of this system and how it can affect you and your driving privileges.

How Does the Pennsylvania Point System Work?

The Pennsylvania point system is essentially a way of identifying, documenting, and updating the records of licensed drivers. It was created with the intention of improving driver safety, and keeping “high risk” drivers accountable for their driving habits. Each time a motorist is convicted of a traffic violation, a series of points are marked on their record. The number of points that are added is dictated by the state's perceived severity of that offense. The failure to stop for a school bus with flashing lights is 5 points. A much more harsh penalty than improper passing, for example, which is only 3 points. As more points accumulate from various traffic convictions, drivers are exposed to more consequences.

Here are some examples of common traffic violations and the points attached to them.

Vehicle Code

Description

Number of Points

3102

Failure to obey law enforcement

2

1512

Violation of restriction on license

2

3112(a)(3)(i) or (ii)

Failure to stop for a red light

3

3323(b)

Failure to stop for a stop sign

3

3342(b)

Failure to stop at railroad crossings

4

3365(b)

Exceeding special speed limit in school zone

3

3345(a)

Failure to stop for school bus with flashing lights

5

3362

Driving 26-30 miles over speed limit

5

1571

Violation concerning license

3

3111.1

Obedience to traffic control devices warning of hazardous conditions

2

3302

Failure to yield half of roadway to oncoming vehicle

3

3303

Improper passing, overtaken driver to maintain speed; passing driver to pull in at safe distance

3

3304

Improper passing on the right

3

3305

Improper passing on the left, clear distance ahead

3

3306(a)(2)

Improper passing at a railroad crossing or intersection

3

3306(a)(1)

Improper passing on a hill

4

3306(a)(3)

Improper passing at a bridge or tunnel

3

3307

Improper passing in a no-passing zone

3

3310

Following too closely

3

3321

Failure to yield to the driver on the right at intersection

3

3322

Failure to yield to oncoming driver when making a left turn

3

3323(c)

Failure to yield at a yield sign

3

3324

Failure to yield when entering or crossing roadway between intersections

3

3332

Improper turning around - illegal U-turns

3

3341(a)

Failure to obey signal indicating approach of train

2

3341(b)

Failure to comply with crossing gate or barrier

4

3342(b) or (e)

Failure to stop at railroad crossings

4

3344

Failure to stop when entering from alley, driveway or building

4

3361

Driving too fast for conditions

5

3362

Exceeding maximum speed (miles over the speed limit):

6-10

2

3362

11 to 15 over the speed limit

3

3362

16 to 25 over the speed limit

4

3362

26 to 30 over the speed limit

5

3362

31 and over the speed limit

5

3365(c)

Exceeding special speed limit for trucks on downgrades

3

3542(a)

Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalk

2

3547(a)

Failure to yield to pedestrians on sidewalk when entering from a driveway or alley

3

3549(a)

Failure to yield to blind pedestrians

3

3702

Improper backing

3

3714(a)

Careless driving

3

3745

Leaving scene of accident involving property damage only

4

Drivers Under 18

The weight of the consequences imposed due to points varies depending on the age of the driver. Unlike many other laws affecting juveniles, drivers under the age of 18 experience harsher penalties than their older counterparts. The license of a person under the age of 18 will be suspended if that person accumulates six or more points or is convicted of driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. The first suspension will be for a period of 90 days, while subsequent occurrences will result in a suspension of 120 days.

Drivers Over 18

For drivers over the age of 18, the rules are slightly different. PennDOT will take corrective action when the points on a driving record amount to at least six points. The more times a motorist accumulates six points, the harsher the repercussions become.

First accumulation of six points

When a driving record reaches six or more points for the first time, a driver will be required to take a written examination. The test will include questions about safe driving practices, administrative penalties, and safety issues. Within 30 days a driver must study for this test, and pass it. If the test is successfully passed within the allocated time period, two points will be removed from an individual's record.

Second accumulation of six points

When a driving record has been reduced by six points, but subsequent traffic convictions have brought the point total to six or more points once more, a motorist will have to attend a departmental hearing. A driver will receive notice of the scheduled date and time of the meeting in the mail.

At this hearing, an examiner will review your driving record. Based on this information, the department has the authority to recommend one of the following orders: (1) a 15-day license suspension, (2) a special on-road driver's examination, or (3) no corrective action.

If one of the former options are recommended, 2 points will be removed from a driving record. The failure to attend this departmental hearing will result in a 60-day license suspension.

Third or more accumulation of six points

If a driving record is reduced below six points, and for the third or subsequent time reaches at least six points one more, a driver will be required to attend yet another departmental hearing. The hearing examiner will thoroughly assess the record once again, and the department will then determine if a 30-day license suspension is warranted. A motorist who fails to attend this departmental hearing will face a license suspension until they are able to attend.

Accumulation of 11 points or more

If a motorist accrues at least 11 points, their driver's license will be automatically suspended. The duration of the suspension depends on a person's driving history. The department will use the following schedule to dictate the length of a license suspension:

  • First suspension: 5 days per point
  • Second suspension: 10 days per point
  • Third suspension: 15 days per point
  • Subsequent suspensions: one year

Point Removal for Safe Driving

Avoiding traffic convictions for long periods of time pays off in Pennsylvania. When a driver has not committed any traffic violations in a 12-month period, three points will be removed from their driving record. Once a driving record is reduced to zero points and remains at zero points for a year, any further accumulation of points will be considered the first accumulation of points.

Pennsylvania Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney

Being convicted of a traffic violation may subject Pennsylvania motorists to serious financial, administrative and legal penalties. Even if you feel that a ticket cannot be conquered, it is recommended that you still attempt to challenge it with the help of a legal professional. The assistance of an attorney is crucial, especially if you can be subjected to the loss of your driving privileges, the installation of an ignition interlock device, insurance rate increases, or a license suspension/revocation. If you're a commercial driver, the help of an attorney is needed even more.

Joseph D. Lento is devoted to helping his clients successfully overcome traffic infractions and the serious consequences they carry. For more questions about his representation, or for a case evaluation, contact him today at 215-535-5353.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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