What's the Point
Take a minute to review Pennsylvania's Point System and become a smarter driver.
A few weeks ago I was at the courthouse in Doylestown getting a subpoena for one of my cases. As I left the Clerk of Courts office I wandered over to the display of brochures against the wall and picked up a few. I’m always looking for information I can use for columns here on Patch. One of the more interesting ones was the Pennsylvania Point System. Little did I know it would come in handy so soon.
Last week, I’m taking my kid out to Western Pennsylvania to attend a mandatory two-day orientation for the college she’ll attend in the fall. We’re in Lebanon County, South Londonderry Township to be precise, going at a pretty good clip. I turn a bend and boom! There’s a state trooper. I instinctively glance down at my speedometer: 85 mph. Oops. Actually, I think I said something a bit stronger than oops but you get the drift.
My kid sat up.
I didn’t answer her but kept checking my rearview mirror. Sure enough, 30 seconds later there are flashing lights behind me. I pulled over and asked my 17 year old to get the white pouch out of the glove compartment. The trooper approached the car and I lowered my window. He asked me where I was going, and I told him IUP and he said, “Wrong college. I’m a Penn State grad.”
“Oh,” I quipped. “Then we’re going to Penn State.”
We laughed, but I knew I wasn’t going to get out of this one.
He took my information and went back to his car. Meanwhile, my 17 year old starts in about how I’m always telling her to slow down. “I think this is hilarious,” she said with a smile. I was less amused.
When the trooper came back he handed me an 8x14 sheet of white paper with all the pertinent information.
“They clocked you...”
“I know,” I said interrupting. “I’m sorry.”
Then he said something amazing. He told me that he had just put down that I had exceeded the speed limit but didn’t say by how much so there wouldn’t be any points. I didn’t even know he could do that. I thanked him sincerely and thought to myself, “I guess he doesn’t know I’m a lawyer.”
So, when I returned home I reviewed that pamphlet more carefully and thought I’d share the highlights with you.
Everyone knows that six is the magic number. You don’t want six points because if you accumulate them you have to take a written point examination. You have 30 days to take and pass that exam or else the license is suspended until the exam is passed. If you do pass the exam, two points will be removed from your driving record.
If you accumulate another six points you have to attend a Departmental hearing. You could end up with a 15-day suspension or be ordered to take a special on-road driver’s examination. If you don’t show up for the hearing you’ll get an automatic 60-day license suspension.
The good news is that three points are removed from a driving record for every 12 consecutive months a person drives without a violation that results in points. Once a driving record is reduced to zero and if it remains at zero for 12 consecutive months, any further accumulation of points is treated as the first accumulation of points.
As a reminder to all you drivers out there, here are some of the violations and their point values:
- Failure to obey a policeman or authorized person
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Exceeding maximum speed limit by 6 - 10 miles per hour
- Failure to stop for a red light
- Improper passing on the right
- Following too closely
- Failure to yield to driver on the right at intersection
- Failure to yield to oncoming driver when making left turn
- Failure to yield at yield sign
- Improper passing at a bridge or tunnel
- Illegal U turns
- Exceeding special speed limit in school zone
- Exceeding maximum speed limit by 11 -1 5 miles per hour
- Improper passing on a hill
- Failure to stop at railroad crossings
- Leaving scene of accident involving property damage only
- Exceeding maximum speed limit by 16 - 25 miles per hour
More than four points
- Failure to stop for school bus with flashing red lights (60 day suspension and 5 points)
- Exceeding maximum speed limit by 26 - 30 miles per hour (5 points)
- Exceeding maximum speed limit by 31 and over (Departmental hearing and sanctions and 5 points)
Also if you speed in an active work zone by more than 11 miles over the limit you get the points and a 15-day suspension.
Knowledge is power, folks. Drive safely.