Massachusetts DMV Point System
The state of Massachusetts has a unique DMV point system which is designed to regulate motorists’ behavior while on the road. The MA driver point system is also known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) under which demerit points are assessed following specific traffic offenses.
The SDIP generally encourages drivers to practice safe driving habits by providing incentives in the event of a clean record, or assessing higher insurance premiums to motorists with bad driving habits. Traffic violations in MA are also referred to as surchargeable events, and they include a certain number of Massachusetts penalty points, depending on their severity.
The amount of driving points or surchargeable points will not affect your driving record, as much as your vehicle insurance premiums. Learn more about the surcharge point system in Massachusetts in the following sections:
- Moving violations and points in Massachusetts
- Penalties in Massachusetts
- How to fix a Massachusetts driving record
- Disputing a Massachusetts moving violation charge
Moving Violations and Points in Massachusetts
Massachusetts penalty points placed against your driving transcript due to specific surchargeable events will have adverse effects on your vehicle insurance premiums. In general, The MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) divides surchargeable events in several categories. The number of moving violation points in MA attached to each of them is outlined in the below list:
- Minor traffic law offenses – 2 points.
- Minor at-fault accidents – 3 points.
- Major at-fault accidents – 4 points.
- Major traffic law violations – 5 points.
Note: Major traffic offenses may include MA DUI points, which are assessed upon convictions of operating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The surcharge or infraction points calculated following a certain violation of state motor vehicle laws will not affect your record as much as your insurance premiums. Your driving report and license are usually affected by the number of traffic tickets you have received within a certain period of time. Traffic violations penalties issued as a result of an out-of-state infraction will also be included in your driving history.
Penalties in Massachusetts
Certain Massachusetts traffic violation penalties will be administered due to the accumulation of too many surcharge points or surchargeable incidents within a specific period of time.
Motorists with an excess of driver violation points under the Safe Driver Insurance Plan may be punished by an increase in their auto insurance rates. Note that not all insurance companies use the SDIP as their merit rating plan. Drivers with MA demerit points on their record due to specific surchargeable events must contact their insurer to verify the consequences of their unsafe driving behavior.
Though the penalty points that drivers receive under the SDIP are not applied toward license suspensions, the number of surchargeable incidents within a set time frame may lead to a suspension of their privilege to drive. Motorists who are convicted of three infractions in two years, for instance, may be handed down a suspended driver’s license. Seven surchargeable events within three years will lead to an automatic 60-day license suspension.
Speeding ticket penalties in Massachusetts may not only include license suspensions, but also large fines and other consequences. The lowest monetary traffic ticket penalty for operating over the speed limit is a fine in the amount of $105 for the first 10 mph.
If you have been caught driving more than 10 mph over the limit, you will be required to pay an extra $10 for each mph you were driving above the first 10. MA DUI penalties generally include mandatory alcohol education programs and other requirements, in addition to temporary license suspensions.
How to Fix a Massachusetts Driving Record
Drivers who wish to improve their behind-the-wheel behavior, thus avoiding MA driving points on their record, may be able to do so by completing an authorized traffic school course. The MA driving safety course, also called the Driver Retraining Course, is mandatory for motorists with three or more surchargeable incidents on their report within two years.
Note that by completing the state driver improvement course, drivers will not be able to remove violations from their record. Such action will simply help them correct their driving behavior and avoid traffic violation penalties in the future.
Note: Prior to enrolling in this course, check whether you are allowed to take online classes.
Under the surcharge Massachusetts driver point system, you may be able to earn a one-point reduction provided you meet the following requirements:
- You have been driving for a minimum of three years.
- The most recent surchargeable incident you have been charged with is more than three years old.
- You have accrued three or less surchargeable events on your driving report in the five years preceding your insurance policy’s effective date.
Disputing a Massachusetts Moving Violation Charge
Motorists have the option to contest traffic ticket penalties by pleading “not guilty” to their offense. The procedure to fight a traffic ticket in Massachusetts will depend on whether drivers were issued a civil or criminal fine.
Drivers who wish to maintain a clean driving record and avoid being penalized must present a successful ticket defense. Otherwise, they may face harsh penalties, such as large face and driving license suspensions.