What’s the Point?

The proposed cure for the current economic malaise does not seem to provide much for public transportation expansion. Automobiles will continue to persist whether it is for the independence of having your very own chariot or, more important, for necessity. Well, if we need our cars in New York State, we will need our license to drive for sure. This raises the question of why one might be deprived of his or her driving privileges. There are a variety of reasons of course, but the point systems of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles are the most likely causes to be encountered by most drivers.

There are two point systems. The Driver Violation Point System is the more well-known and has to do with suspension or revocation of a license which one already possesses; the lesser known system has to do with preclusion of obtaining a license following an earlier revocation owing to any number of reasons including violations in a past driving record.

The Driver Violation Point System is filled with details as to how many points are assigned by the Department of Motor Vehicles for Vehicle & Traffic Law violations of which one is convicted in traffic court or the administrative tribunal known as the traffic violations bureau (e.g., three points for driving one to ten miles per hour over the posted limit, violation of V&T Section 1180(b)). The complete details of point assignment and calculation by the DMV are posted on-line in the DMV website; the way to find them is as follows:


(on left side panel scroll down and look under “Special and Popular Links”)

click on “Site Map”

(under DMV Services Directory” find the title “Driver Regulation”)

click on “Driver Violation Point System”

While there is a myriad of details to consider, the most salient with respect to points is that the DMV will suspend one’s license to drive with eleven points or more where the violations “occurred within the last 18 months of one another”. From my perspective this could be disconcerting. For, suppose one had accumulated 8 points after January 1, 2007 and then (unfortunately) had a 3 point violation occur on June 30, 2008 but which did not result in conviction until say, December 24, 2008. That circumstance would then constitute eleven points for violations having “occurred within the last 18 months of one another” thereby leading to an automatic suspension for an event which happened six months previous. I note that it would be a suspension—not a revocation. There may be other unusual possibilities. Points beyond the tail end of an 18 month window are not considered in any calculations; yet, they are kept as part of the driver’s permanent record.

The second point system, “Weighing of safety factors”, is related somewhat to the first in violation types but quite different in concept and application. In this circumstance the individual does not have a license and wishes to make an application to secure a ‘new’ license. The sum of certain negative factors associated with the type of violation which had occurred in the past will be a determinant as to whether the DMV will issue a ‘new’ license. The complete details of the negative factor assignment and calculation are posted on-line in the New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR); the way to find them is as follows:


click on “NYCRR” located in the top line of text just under the heading

click on the + sign of Title 15 “Department of Motor Vehicles”

click on the + sign of Chapter I “Regulations of the Commissioner”

click on the + sign of Subchapter J “Driver Rehabilitation Program”

click on the + sign of Part 136 “Licensing or Relicensing after Revocation”

click on §136.6 “Weighing of safety factors”

The first thing to note is that there are two sets of negative factors. Values in the right hand column are associated with violations which occurred during the year immediately preceding the date of the re-license application; the values in the left hand column are associated with violations which occurred during the second and third year periods preceding the application. Examples of how to apply the rules are given below the table of negative factors. Again, while there is a myriad of details to consider, the most salient is that the DMV will not, as a general proposition, issue a license to anyone whose record has a total of minus twenty-five or more (i.e., algebraically: <= -25). Should that happen to be the case, the applicant will likely be obliged to mark time until some of the negative values “fall off” the tail end of the three year period resulting in a total which is algebraically greater than minus twenty-five. The wait could conceivably be lengthy and quite inconvenient.

The point is: if an automobile is a necessity in your daily comings and goings, use an abundance of caution to avoid suspension, revocation or loss of your driver’s license.

3 thoughts on “What’s the Point?

  1. Ignition Interlock Device users should be aware that alcohol readings are not always caused by alcohol in the user’s bloodstream, this is only one of three possible causes. Alcohol readings can also be caused by a malfunction of the interlock device or the device mistaking another substance for ethyl alcohol in the user’s bloodstream. In my practice as a Massachusetts Interlock Device
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