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The DMV Point System in Texas – Explained

by Stephen Thomas on April 23, 2013

DMV Point System in Texas

If you’re just getting your Texas driver’s license for the first time, you may not yet be familiar with how the points system operates. It can be confusing, particularly if you’ve never been issued a citation. But even the most attentive driver with a perfectly clean Texas driver record should familiarize themselves with the laws—just in case.

Simply put, the DMV point system in Texas is a series of demerits that you can accrue on your license for driving poorly or irresponsibly. If you accrue too many points in a given period of time, you could face fines, or even license suspension.

Driver Responsibility Program

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has created the Driver Responsibility Program in order to further enforce good driving behaviors and patterns. According to the DPS’ website:

“The Driver Responsibility Program establishes a system that authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to assess surcharges to an individual based on certain traffic offenses that have occurred on or after September 1, 2003. Individuals are notified by mail each time a surcharge is added to their driver record. Surcharges are in addition to other fees and do not replace a suspension, revocation, denial, disqualification or cancellation resulting from the same conviction.”

Simply put, traffic violations earn you points on your license. Too many points will result in fines. Here’s a breakdown of how you can amass points on your record:

  • For a moving violation where you are speeding more than 10% faster than the posted speed limit: 2 points
  • For an offense that is related to child passenger safety seat systems: 2 points
  • For a moving violation that results in an accident: 3 points

Points stay on your driver’s record for 3 years, after which time they expire. Compared to other states, the Texas system is pretty harsh. Anyone can slip up and get a citation, just for being momentarily reckless or unlucky, and if you’re habitually unsafe (or just really unlucky) you can get fined pretty heavily. So it pays to be an attentive driver, particularly in Texas.

How Much Are We Talking, Here?

Generally speaking, any serious violation that sends you over your limit will end up costing you thousands of dollars, as those points haunt you for the next three years. Consider this: If you get a citation, you must pay the fine. Then, your insurance can go up. If you accrue too many points, and your license is temporarily suspended, say hello to a whole new list of costs and fees. And on top of all that, if you get 6 points within a year, you have to pay an extra $100 “assessment charge” and an added $25 for each point on top of that. It adds up quick.

Naturally, the best way to navigate the points system is to bypass it entirely, by never getting a citation. Anything you can do to become a better, safer driver is beneficial. If you’re looking to avoid points and become a better driver, consider practicing with a professional, or regularly reading up on all the traffic laws and good driving practices. You could also enroll in an approved online Texas defensive driving course to help keep your skills sharp.

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