When a police officer hands you a traffic ticket, you might think that fighting it in court is not a worthwhile endeavor. You want to go on with your life and contesting a traffic ticket might seem like an annoyance. But you might feel differently if you recognize that traffic violations add points on your driving record that can cause you problems in the future. Too many points may even cost you driving privileges.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation explains that drivers who receive convictions for traffic violations incur points on their driving record. Depending on the offense, a person may acquire anywhere from two to five points for a single violation. For instance, you might gain two points for not obeying a police officer who is directing traffic, but you could incur five points for not stopping when a school bus has its flashing red lights on.
If you accumulate six points on your record, the state will take action. If you gain six points for the first time, the state will send you a written notice directing you to take a written point examination. This exam addresses safe driving practices and departmental sanctions. A failure to take this exam and pass it will result in a loss of your driving privileges.
Complications only get worse as you accumulate traffic points. Should you get six points on your record for the second time, you would receive a notice to attend a Departmental Hearing, where a hearing examiner may recommend you take a special examination, or that your driving privileges suspended for 15 days, or perhaps no action will result. Incurring six points for the third time will also result in a hearing, only this time you might lose driving privileges for 30 days.
Under certain circumstances, you could suffer automatic suspension of your driving privileges. A driving record of 11 points or more triggers a suspension. The length of the suspension will depend on the number of points and how many license suspensions are on your record. A failure to attend a Departmental Hearing will also result in an automatic suspension. Some traffic violations, such as failing to heed railroad crossing gates, also can cause a suspension.
Gaining points on a driving record can cause sorts of headaches. Not only do you risk losing your driving privileges, but your auto insurance rates may increase as well. This is why some drivers decide contesting a traffic violation is worth it so that they do not face these problems in the future.