New York traffic laws are strict compared to many other States and Canadian provinces. If you find yourself in receipt of multiple moving violations in New York, and/or some adjoining territories as described below, you may want to check your driving record and how to sign up for a point reduction program which will also produce an auto insurance reduction. Also, if you are a beginning New York driver, or you are an experienced driver who is new to the area, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the point system for New York licenses. Learn to understand how points are accrued on your driving record and what steps you can take to decrease the impact of points on your license, and how repeated violations can lead to suspension or revocation of your driver license as well as receiving penalties from your insurance company.

NYS Point System

Most common traffic violations in New York lead to the addition of points to your driver license as well as the requirement to answer for your ticket by either paying a fine or appearing in court. It’s important to note that you don’t get points on your driving record until you admit guilt or are convicted of the offense. You must pay or not appearing can lead directly to the suspension of your license regardless of your points status. If you receive a ticket it’s always in your best interest to deal with it promptly and look into a point reduction program or your insurance company may raise your rates.

The table below details the points assigned when you are convicted of a traffic violation:

How many points to suspend license in NY

Speeding Points (MPH over posted limit)
1 to 10 3 points
11 to 20 4 points
21 to 30 6 points
31 to 40 8 points
Over 40 11 points
Reckless driving 5 points
Failed to stop for school bus 5 points
Followed too closely (tailgating) 4 points
Inadequate brakes (private car) 4 points
Inadequate Brakes (employer’s vehicle) 2 points
Failed to yield right-of-way 3 points
Disobeying traffic control signal, STOP sign or YIELD sign 3 points
Railroad crossing violation 5 points
Improper passing, changing lane unsafely 3 points
Driving left of center, in wrong direction 3 points
Leaving scene of property damage incident 3 points
Child safety restraint violation 3 points
Improper cell phone use 5 points
Use of a portable electronic device (“texting”) 5 points
Any other moving violation 2 points
source: NY DMV Tickets

Per the NY seat belt traffc law, a driver will receive 3 points if a passenger under 16 years old is not wearing his belt. In addition to points on your driving record, you may be liable for NYS speeding ticket fines as well as speeding tickets for NY points. A large percentage of points are assigned to those who are not watching the speed limit, will break the traffic law, plead guilty and receive a 3, 4, 6 or 8 point ticket.

New York driver’s license points are not assigned for any bicycle or pedestrian violations. You will also have to pay a driver responsibility assessment to the NY DMV when you accumulate 6 or more points within 18 months.

One interesting note: traffic violations in other States of the United States do not add points to your New York license or driving record, but violations in some parts of Canada do. The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario have reciprocal agreements with New York State for speeding ticket points, so violations there will add the appropriate number of points on license NY, and vice versa for Canadian drivers from those provinces.

Points and License Suspension in New York State

If you get an 11 point total on your license in an 18 month period, your license is suspended. As described below, to get 11 points on your driving record in New York state is not the only situation that can lead to license suspension or revocation. However, repeated minor traffic violations will lead directly to a suspended license.

Of note, the point total is added to your license until you are convicted or are pleading guilty to the offense, but the date of the violation is used for calculation of your point total in a given 18 month window.

If your license is suspended, a notice will be sent to the address on file with the New York DMV. It will contain detailed instructions for how to proceed and information about point reduction. If you are unsure of your license status or whether or not you’ve collected points in the last 18 months, you can check at the portal on the NY DMV web site.

Point Reduction and Suspension Removal

If you get 11 points, or have accumulated points on your license and are near suspension within 18 months or your license has already been suspended, you can remove points through participation in a New York State approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP). This defensive driving course is basically a non-behind-the-wheel driving school, and it can subtract 4 points from your license for purposes of a suspension and reduce your insurance rates by 10%. It’s important to note if you participate in PIRP, all points remain on your license, but four of those points from the last 18 month period will not be counted for purposes of a suspension. The details of this program can be found on the New York DMV website where you can receive a free consultation about the point system and point reduction process.

When Points Don’t Matter

The most severe consequence for a traffic violation is when the consequence is a felony and the points will stay on your driving record for 10 years (and there is no hope of point reduction). There are some offenses that lead directly to the immediate suspension or revocation of your driving license, outside collecting them in the last 18 months, and even if you have no points on your driving record. Offenses that carry this penalty include traffic violations such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to answer or pay a traffic ticket, driving without insurance or being involved in an uninsured motorist accident, or being the driver in a motor vehicle crash that involved a fatality. You can also lose your license for non-traffic violations such as failure to pay child support or accruing excessive debt to the state of New York. If you suspect your license might be suspended or revoked, you can check your status and receive a driver responsibility assessment at the portal on the NYS DMV web site. You will also be able to check which online insurance reduction programs are state-approved.