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The Points System

DMV uses a point system to rate drivers. You receive demerit points for unsafe driving and safe driving points for good driving.

Demerit Points

Demerit points are assigned when you are convicted of a traffic violation, and remain valid for two years from the date you commit the offense.

Demerit points can add up. Each time you commit a traffic offense, DMV adds additional demerit points to your record. This can add up to big trouble for some drivers.

Different violations carry different point assignments, depending on the seriousness of the offense. For example, you will receive 3 demerit points if you make an improper U-turn; however, you will receive 6 demerit points if you speed 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit. For more information, refer to Moving Violations and Point Assessments.

Safe Points

Safe driving points are assigned for each full calendar year that you hold a valid Virginia driver’s license and drive without any violations or suspensions. In some cases, you may also earn safe driving points by completing a driver improvement clinic.

Annual safe driving points are awarded in early April of each year for the previous calendar year.

You can accumulate a total of 5 safe driving points and you may use these safe driving points to offset demerit points, as shown in the following example.

For five years, Molly followed all the safe driving rules and always obeyed the speed limit. She accumulated a safe driving point each year, for a total of 5 points. One day Molly ran a red light, and DMV assigned 4 demerit points to her driving record. However, since she had previously earned 5 safe driving points, she ended up with 1 safe driving point left on her record.

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