No matter where you live, if you commit a traffic violation, you can expect to see it reflected on your driving record. Most states use a points system to keep up with the amount of times a driver has committed moving offenses, but there are a few which will just maintain the offense itself on your record, and instead count how many times you’ve commited an offense in general. Either way your state does it, too many offenses will likely always result in the suspension (or worse!) of your driver’s license, and knowing how your state operates is a good insight into what your driving record may look like. We’ve covered Alabama through Maine so far in this series; in this installment, we’ll be picking up the list with Maryland.
In the state of Maryland, each traffic violation will earn you a certain amount of points on your driving record, but you must be convicted of said violation before the points go into effect on your driving record. The higher the number of points, the more weight the offense will have against your record, and this number will ultimately decide whether or not you get to keep your license. While most states have a system in which the points fall off your record after time, in Maryland the points you accumulate stay on your record indefinitely, and too many points within a certain amount of time will result in heavier consequences. For example:
- 3-4 points in 2 years: Written caution issued by the Maryland MVA;
- 5-7 points in 2 years: Required sign-up for a Points System Conference and/or completion of a driver improvement or defensive driving program;
- 8-11 points in 2 years: Suspension of your driver’s license;
- 12 points in 2 years: Notice of revocation will be issued, and you will need to relinquish your driver’s license to any MVA office.
The points earned on your record are typically minimal for offenses which do not result in accidents, however more serious offenses will earn you more points, and more immediate harsh punishment. These include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
- Unlawful use of your driver’s license;
- Loaning or borrowing a driver’s license;
The points system in Massachusetts is called “Surchargeable Points”, and is based on the state’s Safe Driver Insurance Program that they put into place. This program allows insurance companies to issue surcharges or discounts on insurance premiums based on your driving record, and a poor driving record will ultimately result in mandated surcharges on your insurance, as well as what’s referred to as “surchargeable events” which will result in suspension of your driver’s license. Surchargeable events are broken down into four categories which will determine what goes onto your driving record:
- Major traffic violations;
- Major at-fault accidents;
- Minor at-fault accidents;
- Minor traffic violations.
As far as the points affecting your license goes, the system in Massachusetts leans more toward the number of violations you’ve committed, rather than the number of points you’ve accumulated. They base suspension on:
- 3 surchargeable events or moving violation within 2 years;
- 5 surchargeable events within 3 years;
- 7 surchargeable events within 3 years.
In the state of Michigan, the points you accumulate for certain offenses depend entirely on the offense itself, and each point stays on your record for two years from the date of the conviction. There are instances in which you may be allowed to take a Basic Driver Improvement Course to reduce the points, but for the most part, they’re there until they’re not.
- 6 Point Violations:
- Vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, or felonies involving the use of a motor vehicle;
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failure to stop and give identification at the scene of an accident;
- Reckless driving;
- Unlawful blood alcohol content (0.08% or more);
- Refusal to take a chemical test;
- Fleeing or eluding an officer.
- 4 Point Violations:
- Drag racing, speed contests, or racing;
- Operating while visibly impaired;
- Any amount of BAC while under the age of 21;
- Speeding 16 mph over the legal limit;
- Failure to yield or show due caution for emergency vehicles.
- 3 Point Violations:
- Careless driving;
- Disobeying a traffic signal or road sign;
- Speeding 11-15 mph over the legal limit;
- Failure to stop or yield at a railroad crossing;
- Failure to stop for a school bus;
- Disobeying a school crossing guard.
- 2 Point Violations:
- Speeding 10 mph or less over the legal limit;
- Open alcohol container in the vehicle;
- All other moving violations;
- Refusal of a breathalyzer test by those under the age of 21.
Rather than enforcing a points system, the state of Minnesota instead bases the revocation or suspension of your license on certain conditions, and the drivers within the state must instead comply with the terms set in place by the Minnesota Safe And Sober Campaign. The traffic safety enforcement programs all fall under this campaign, and it consists of these components:
- The Challenge Program, which recognizes law enforcement agencies that successfully reduce traffic deaths and injuries;
- A Grant Program, which increases traffic enforcement and community outreach for Minnesota law enforcement agencies;
- Other programs such as “enforcement saturations” and the seat belt safety promotion;
- Law enforcement liaisons working with the local agencies on issues within the state’s laws;
- Operation ‘Nighttime Concentrated Alcohol Patrol (NIghtCAP), which is aimed at preventing impaired driving and DUI traffic deaths;
- Saved By The Belt program, which promotes the wear of seat belts and safety harnesses, and educates on the protection they provide.