Pennsylvania Drivers: The Point System

Most Pennsylvania drivers know that PennDOT maintains a “point system” of driver education and control.  If you accumulate 6 points for driving infractions you will have to take and pass a written safety examination.  A second accumulation of 6 points earns you a trip to a departmental hearing, which can result in a 15-day license suspension and/or an on-road driver’s examination.  Higher point totals yield progressively higher penalties, with lengthy suspensions possible.

Here is a sampling of the point values for various common driving offenses:

Infraction Points
Red light violation  3
Failure to yield 3
Following too closely 3
Improper passing 3
Improper passing on a hill 4
Illegal U-turn 3
Failure to stop for a school bus  with red lights  5 (and 60-day suspension)
Speeding 6-10 mph over 2
Speeding 11-15 mph over 3
Speeding 16-25 mph over 4
Speeding 26-30 mph over 5

Note that 3 points will be removed from your driving record for every year of safe driving since your last infraction. 

Because of the severity of the consequences if you accumulate 6 or more points against your license, we generally recommend that all traffic violations be challenged in court.  We have seen many cases over the years where the arresting officer has made a mistake or has failed to follow proper procedures.  In some cases the arresting officer might be willing to revise the charges to something less punitive.  Our message is that you should never automatically plead guilty without first having a trained attorney review the matter.

 — Kevin Palmer

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