Virginia Driver’s License Point System
Most drivers will receive VA demerit points on their driving records at some time in their lives. The point system in Virginia allows for both safe points and penalty points, making it a little easier for you to maintain a good driver’s status and avoid higher insurance premiums. Understanding how the driver point system works in Virginia is paramount to keeping your driving privileges. Learn what types of violations cause penalty point accumulation and how many driver points are too many in the sections outlined below.
How the Point System in Virginia Works
Every new driver in Virginia begins with zero points on license credentials. Over time, driving without any incidents will add positive safe points to your record, while most driving violations will add negative demerit points.
When you are convicted of a traffic violation, you will receive demerit driving points in Virginia. These demerit points will remain on your driving history for two years from the date you committed the offense, unless otherwise required by law. Exactly how long do points stay on your license in VA? It depends on the specific traffic violations of which you have been convicted. Demerit driving points do add up over time. This means that all drivers license points you receive from any traffic or motor vehicle violation will accumulate over a two-year period.
The Virginia demerit point system is designed so that different motor vehicle violations are assigned different driving record points, based on the severity of the infraction. See more information about point designations and violations by downloading our free guide.
From the first day you receive your license, you begin accumulating safe driving points in the state of Virginia. The Virginia driver point system allows you to earn safe drivers license points at a rate of one every year of having a license without incurring any traffic violations or having any incidents. You can also earn safe points on your license by completing a driver improvement clinic. There is a maximum of five safe driving points that you can accumulate at any given time.
Combining Safe and Penalty Points in Virginia
Ideally, you want to maintain a positive number of points on drivers license credentials in VA. The Virginia point system was created with the purpose of allowing the safe points you “earn” to offset the demerit points you “lose” for traffic violations.
For example, if you have had your license for three years without any incidents, you will have accumulated three safe points on your VA license. If you then get speeding ticket points for a violation where the police officer clocked you at going 11 miles over the speed limit, you will receive a violation that puts four demerit points on your record. At this point, you would have one negative point on your license.
How to Accumulate Demerit Points in Virginia
There are several violations and infractions that can lead to the accumulation of careless driving points in Virginia. Within the demerit point system, the DMV divides motor vehicle violations into three categories based on the severity of the infraction. Demerit points for speeding, for example, vary based on the number of miles you were speeding over the designated limit. Below you can find the three categories the Virginia DMV uses to assign demerit points:
Driving Violations of Three Demerit Points
- Speeding 1 to 9 mph above the designated speed limit
- Improper passing on the right
- Changing a lane after signaling
- Failure to give precedence to an overtaking vehicle
- Driving without a drivers license
Driving Violations of Four Driving Points
- Speeding 10 to 14 mph above the designated speed limit
- Passing to the left of an approaching vehicle
- Failure to stop for pedestrians
- Failure to drive to the right and stop for a police, a fire or an emergency vehicle
- Failure to stop at the scene of a crash or incident with minor damage
Driving Violations of Six Demerit Points
- Speeding 20 mph above the designated speed limit
- Passing a school bus (reckless driving)
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Driving on a suspended license
- Failure to stop at the scene of an incident that results in injury, death or major damage
Download our complimentary guide to review more about point accumulation.
What happens if I accumulate too many demerit points in Virginia?
The Virginia state driver point system is meant to prevent problematic drivers from getting behind the wheel by removing their driving privileges, if too many penalty driver points are accumulated. In some cases, when the Virginia DMV notices an increase in your driving record points, you may be contacted about attending a driver treatment clinic so that you can add safe points to your record.
If you accumulate too many driving points in Virginia too quickly, you run the risk of having your license suspended or even revoked. For adults, 12 careless driving points in 12 months or 18 demerit points in 24 months is enough to lose your license. For drivers under the age of 18, the demerit point system is more restrictive – nine penalty points in a 12-month period or 12 driving points in two years is all it takes to lose driving privileges. Read more about the DMV point system by downloading our comprehensive guide.