How to Remove Points from Your Record in New York State
Even the best drivers make occasional mistakes behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a few minor mishaps can lead to license restrictions, fines, insurance rate increases, and other major issues. At the heart of all driving issues in New York is the state’s Driver Violation Point System.
If you need a clear explanation of New York’s point system, you’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn the difference between points and violations, how each affects your driving record, what the PIRP system does, how to remove points from a license in NY, and everything else you need to know.
The Difference between Violations and Points
It’s easy to confuse points and violations, two separate concepts that have a shared effect on your driving record.
Violations are illegal acts committed on the road. Some common motor vehicle violations include:
- Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Many minor violations result in a fine, while major violations can result in misdemeanor or criminal charges. Regardless of their severity, most violations remain on your driving record for at least four years, with serious violations remaining longer.
Note that DUI and DWI convictions typically require a special type of insurance for high-risk drivers called SR-22 insurance. Removing points from your record typically isn’t enough to get you back on the road legally.
Points are how the state of New York tracks violations for individual drivers. Each type of violation is assigned a numerical value based on severity. As your point total increases, you face potential restriction, suspension, or even revocation of your driver’s license.
Points are only added after a person is convicted of a violation, not just charged. Your point total is based on the date of the violation, not the date of the conviction. Points influence your driving record for 18 months in the state of New York.
Here’s a rundown of the number of points added for many common violations:
- Improper lane change – 3 points
- Failure to stop at a stop sign – 3 points
- Tailgating – 4 points
- Texting while driving – 5 points
- Speeding – 3 to 11 points depending on the severity
As you’d expect, the points assigned to a violation generally correspond to the severity of the infraction. The more serious the offense, the more points assigned.
What Happens if You Accrue Too Many Points?
The amount of points you acquire, and the rate at which you acquire them influences your driving privileges in the following ways:
- Six or more points in 18 months result in a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee
- 11 or more points in 18 months result in license suspension
Keep in mind a single incident on the road can result in the acquirement of multiple points from several violations.
How Points Influence Your Auto Insurance
Keep in mind that the information above applies to your driving record for the state of New York. Your New York auto insurance company uses a different point system. Generally, insurance point systems are similar to those used by the state, but with slight differences depending on the insurer. Most insurers track point totals for 36 months instead of 18.
It’s important to understand your insurance company’s point system. After all, if you lose your insurance, the state of New York requires you to surrender your vehicle registration and license plates. New York insurance laws mandate a year-long license suspension for anyone caught driving without a license.
Removing Points from Your Driving Record
You don’t want points on your record. Fortunately, you can remove points from licenses in NY by completing what’s called a Point and Insurance Reduction Program course. It allows you to reduce up to four points in an 18-month period.
The state of New York oversees two types of approved PIRP courses:
- In-person classes
- Online classes
Both types of courses require 320 minutes (six hours) of instruction. They emphasize defensive driving, accident prevention, the rules of the road, and driver attitude.
Classroom courses typically last for either a full day or are divided into two evening sessions. They combine both teacher instruction and a test. Generally, you’re required to get 70% of the questions correctly to pass the class. You get two tries.
Another option is the Internet Point and Insurance Reduction Program / Alternate Delivery Method, more commonly referred to as the I-PIRP. Most of these classes are online, although you can also find options for DVD and cable-based lessons.
After registering for the I-PIRP, you have 30 days to complete the course. However, you can complete it at your own pace, using your home computer.
I-PIRP classes have the same general content as in-person classes. Generally, you’ll have instruction plus quizzes and a final exam. Some testing services require you to take the final in-person, while others allow you to take it online.
Finding the Right Course for You
Regardless of the course type you choose, make sure the PIRP course is expressly authorized by the state of New York. Otherwise, you won’t get proper credit on your license in NY for completing the course.
Not all official courses are the same. They vary by materials used, teaching style, and other factors. Along those same lines, PIRP courses have different costs depending on which one you choose. Although costs vary, the average price is typically around $50.
What Happens After You Complete the Class?
It’s important to understand that completing PIRP or I-PIRP classes only reduces point totals. It doesn’t remove violations from your record.
After completing the course, the PIRP administrators have ten weeks to notify the NY DMV. After notification, the DMV reduces your active point total by up to four points. Points are removed from within the background of the NY system, where they help reduce the likelihood of license suspension, revocation, and other problems.
PIRP classes only deduct points from violations that occurred before the class was completed. However, the conviction can occur before the class end date. Additionally, point removal only applies to convictions within 18 months of the class start date.
A few mistakes behind the wheel shouldn’t hang over you for 18 months or more. Fortunately, the PIRP courses make it relatively easy to remove points from licenses in NY. Even if you’ve been found guilty of several violations, you can still keep your license and continue to drive.