Teen drivers that are learning how to drive in Texas might not be familiar with the point system. In the state of Texas, the point system is utilized to assess how many demerit points remain on one’s driving record for different driving infractions. The type and severity of the violation determines the number of points you receive.
Although this may seem like a foreign topic to you as a student driver, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the point system as early as possible. Not only to avoid the violations that impact your driving record but also to prevent some of the harsh penalties associated with them.
How Many Points You Would Get for Common Driving Violations
The Texas point system is pretty straightforward. There are two calculations for points on a drivers license:
2 Points for moving violations
3 Points for moving violations that result in a collision
Here are a few examples:
Speeding - 2 points
Texting while driving - 2 points
Not wearing a seat belt - 2 points
Rolling through a stop sign - 2 points
Passing in a no-passing zone - 2 points
Running a red light and hitting another car - 3 points
Getting distracted and hitting a parked vehicle - 3 points
Rear ending another vehicle after tailgating - 3 points
This is one instance where you don’t want to rack up a lot of points because there are some pretty serious consequences.
Points on Your Texas Driver Record is Never Good
You might be thinking to yourself, “what’s the harm in having a couple of points assessed to your license for a speeding violation?” Although it might not seem like much, those points add up quickly. And even just a couple of points on your Texas driver record can have an adverse impact.
Insurance Rates Increase
You might not pay for your insurance as a teen driver, but your parents aren’t going to be happy with the premium increase because of your poor driving habits. In the state of Texas (and nearly every US state), insurers often increase premium rates for drivers who are deemed dangerous, or “a high-risk driver.”
Penalties, Fines and Surge Charges
If your insurance premiums don’t take a hit, your wallet might in other ways. For some moving violations, drivers will pay fines from $100 to over $1,000. The more violations and points you get the higher the fines will be. If you have 6+ points on your record you’ll have to pay an annual point surcharge as well.
Suspension of Driving Privileges
Although your first infraction won’t result in suspension, multiple moving violations will because points accumulate. For example, If a driver has 4 moving violations (8+ points), their driving privileges can be suspended for up to 12 months. If you have 7+ violations the penalty can be license suspension for up to 24 months.
What About More Serious Violations?
There are some moving violations that are so serious points aren’t issued. Instead, the Texas DPS issues a conviction that comes with more severe consequences. Serious moving violations include:
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Driving with a suspended license
Driving with no license
Driving with an invalid license
Driving without auto insurance
Hit and run incident
You are very likely to get your license suspended if you’re convicted of any of these moving violations. Plus, you’ll have to pay surcharges for three years in addition to the initial fines. In some cases, such as repeat offenses, you may even face jail time.
Although it doesn’t occur as often as suspensions do, if a certain number of surcharges add up, based on the type of violation (DWI, accidents, etc.) drivers can have their driving privileges permanently revoked.
In the most extreme cases, drivers sometimes receive jail sentences for violations and points on their license. DWI offenses now have a minimum 3-day jail sentence for a first offense. However, drivers found liable for manslaughter as a result of DWI face imprisonment terms of up to 20 years. Hit-and-run convictions can result in imprisonment for a term of up to five years.
Although that may sound severe, it’s important to understand driving is a big responsibility. If drivers don’t take the responsibility seriously people could lose their lives. That’s why Texas has the points system and more serious consequences for the most dangerous moving violations.
How a Defensive Driving Course Can Benefit Your Texas Driving Record
So you got a moving violation and now there are two points on your driving record. Everybody makes mistakes, but it will take 12 consecutive months of driving without a violation for the Texas DPS to remove one point. But there’s another option for reducing points on your driving record.
Drivers can take a TDLR-approved defensive driving course to get points removed from there license. The idea is that a little extra education in addition to driver education programs can help drivers improve their skills and reduce the likelihood that they’ll commit a moving violation again.
A Texas defensive driving course teaches you how to avoid an accident by remaining alert, focusing on obstructions at a distance and staying away from dangerous drivers on the road. Once you successfully complete the course you’ll receive a point reduction on your drivers license.
With our online Texas defensive driving course, you can take each module one at a time or do it all at once. You’ll go through:
What Is Defensive Driving?
The Importance of Attitude & Behavior
A Planned System of Driving
10 Tips to Save Your Life
The goal for all drivers is to drive safely, remain alert and know the rules of the road so you can avoid infractions altogether. However, in some instances, even the safest drivers make mistakes.
For new Texas teen drivers, if you have any points on your license, the first step you should consider is enrolling in a defensive driving course. The proper training will not only help you avoid future violations, but might also wipe those points off your license once you complete the program.
*This article was updated on 7/27/2020.