It's easy to take your driving privileges for granted - until you're on the verge of losing them.
New Jersey uses a points system to track traffic violations and penalize drivers who get too many tickets. If you have six or more points against your license within a three-year period, you'll get hit with a surcharge. With twelve or more points, your license will be suspended. Moving violations can also affect your insurance rates.
Losing your license can be a significant inconvenience. Yet if you keep driving without a license, you'll face even harsher penalties. It's far better to avoid accumulating points in the first place.
Seven of the most serious offenses
So what kinds of traffic violations result in points? Everything from speeding to failing to yield to running a red light can rack up points on your driving record. Some violations carry more points than others. The most serious violations include:
- Leaving the scene of an accident: If someone was injured, you'll incur a whopping 8 points.
- Improper passing: You can incur 4 points for passing on the shoulder, failing to signal, failing to observe no-passing zones and other passing violations.
- Reckless driving: In addition to getting 5 points on your record, you could face criminal charges for willfully endangering others. The penalties could include fines, jail time and license suspension.
- Failing to stop for a school bus: It's a criminal violation to pass a school bus with flashing red lights. If convicted, you could end up with 5 points on your record, additional fines, jail time or community service, and possible license suspension.
- Speeding: If you're caught going 15 to 29 mph over the speed limit, you're looking at 4 points. Going 30 mph or more above the limit can result in 5 points.
- Tailgating: If you fail to stay a reasonably safe distance behind the next vehicle, you could get 5 points on your record.
- Failing to stop for an ice cream truck: Similar to a school bus, when an ice cream truck has its stop arm out and its lights are flashing, you must stop before proceeding. Failure to do so can result in 4 points. Unlike with a school bus, however, you can continue driving at a safe speed after stopping.
These are just a few of the many traffic violations that can jeopardize your license. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of points on your record - and to potentially get the points reduced if you challenge the ticket. That's why you should never give in and just pay the fine.