Driving Record Points in Massachusetts

March 11, 2020

geese crossing street in front of massachusetts driverWhat are driving record points in Massachusetts?

Driving record points (a.k.a. “insurance points” or “surcharge points”) are designed to punish or reward you, based on how safely you drive. In Massachusetts, the point system is known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP). So, you might also see the term “SDIP points.” Each time you receive a traffic violation or cause an at-fault collision, you receive a set number of driving record points. These points translate into percentage-based additions to your Massachusetts car insurance rate. Example: You receive a speeding ticket, which is considered a “minor traffic violation.” The violation results in TWO driving record points. Consequently, your annual insurance rate goes up by 30%.

Ouch, right?

How many points on license for speeding, traffic ticket, cellphone use, or car accident?

Literally hundreds of different bad driving behaviors exist that could add points on your license. But the main categories are: 1.) minor traffic law violation – TWO points, 2.) major traffic law violation— FIVE points, 3.) minor at-fault collision— THREE points, 4.) major at-fault collision— FOUR points.

What if it’s my first minor incident?

Your first (minor) traffic violation will not cause you to earn any points. Instead, you’ll be taken to the “neutral” step. After that, however, points can accrue.

What is a major traffic violation and a minor traffic violation in Massachusetts?

If you’re curious to know what constitutes a ”major” versus a “minor” violation or accident, here’s the full list of Massachusetts traffic law offenses. Generally speaking, minor violations are the everyday mistakes and bad decisions people make on the road. Speeding, running a red light, failing to stop at a stop sign: these are considered minor. Major violations are serious, criminal actions, like driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, or refusing to pull over for a police officer.

How long do driving record points last?

Usually, your points hang around for six years from the date you earned them. However, you may be able to deduct points sooner… How? Avoid any new points for the next three years. The “Clean in 3 Rule” says the value of your points for each surcharge-able incident can be reduced by 1 point if:

    1. three or fewer offenses in the past five years,
    2. at least three years of driving experience, and
    3. you haven’t gotten any points in the past three years.

    How many points are on my license now? How can I see my MA license points?

    To request a driving record for yourself or someone else, visit the Mass.gov website. As of 2020, MA driving records cost $8 or $20, depending on which version you want (basic or official, with the Registrar’s stamped signature).

    Driving record points for out-of-state tickets and accidents?

    Yep, you could still get points for incidents that occur out of state. These can stay on your driving record for six years. Not every car insurance company will request your out of state riving record, but best to be prepared for this reality.

    How can I lower my insurance rate with points on my license?

    If you’ve made some mistakes on the road and you’re tired of paying for them, there may be ways to reduce your MA car insurance rate. In some cases, raising your deductible can help. Or, you may qualify for an insurance discount. One thing we wouldn’t recommend: shopping for car insurance online (where you might find a better rate, but only after agreeing to less coverage and not-so-great terms). Instead of shopping online, call our local team of experts: 508.339.2951.