Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Drivers who have too many points

Q. Is the State still imposing fines on drivers who have too many points on their license? And what do they mean by ‘too many points”? My daughter just started driving and we are wondering if her driving will affect us, the parents.

A. Well, we need to get the terminology correct. The State does not impose fines on individuals who have too many points on their license, rather, the Department of Motor Vehicles adds a surcharge to the licenses of driver’s who have too many points. This sur-charge is called a Driver’s Assessment Fee, and is paid yearly for three years to any driver having 6 or more points on their license. The charge is $100 a year for three years for the first 6 points, and the sur-charge goes up for each additional point you have over 6.

Now this is going to be a major issue for folks soon, since the State has increased the number of points for certain moving violations, most notably the use of cell phone or mobile devices while driving. The use of a cell phone, without blue tooth, is increased to 5 points. The new texting law carries with it 5 points. With any other moving violation, the driver charged with these violations will be over 6 points, since the lowest point bearing violation starts at 2.

Remember also that use of a cell phone is presumed if the phone is held ‘in the vicinity of the ear’. So one might argue that they were not using it to carry on a conversation, however, it’s a tough one to prove if you have that phone anywhere up by your face.

Texting is simply NOT allowed under any circumstances. That use has just been determined to be too deadly on the roadway.

Also note that, though there is an accident prevention class that will remove up to four points off of a license, this class will not remove the points for the purpose of the DMV accessing the Driver’s Assessment Fee.

Yes, the actions of the child will affect the parent, especially if the child is on the parents’ car insurance. (And kids, if you try to hide the ticket from your parent, they will find out anyway when they get the notice that the car insurance is going up because of traffic infractions). Keep in mind, as I have stated in other articles, the parents are responsible for the actions of their children who are under the age of 18, and that includes traffic accidents.
As always this is a general answer, to a general question. You should always consult your attorney about the specific issues that surround your specific needs.

If you have a question for Attorney Kukuvka, please forward it to: Cynthia M. Kukuvka, Attorney at Law, 330 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14522.