By

Tito Bucheli

Updated

March 28, 2024

Edited By

Fausto Bucheli Jr
Image Credit: Pixabay

Driving in Florida comes with the responsibility of following traffic laws. Unfortunately, even the most cautious drivers can encounter situations that lead to traffic citations or accidents. These incidents can impact your driving record, which in turn affects your¬†Florida car insurance¬†rates and driving privileges. In this article,¬†Cheap Insurance¬†answers your questions about Florida’s point system and how points and accidents appear on your driving record.

Key Takeaways:

  • Florida’s point system assigns points to specific traffic violations, and accumulating too many points within a set time frame can lead to license suspension.
  • Your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) is a comprehensive document detailing your driving history, including traffic violations, points, accidents, and license history.
  • You can obtain your MVR online, by mail, or in-person at your local county Clerk of Court office.
  • Maintaining a clean driving record with minimal points and accidents can significantly lower your auto insurance premiums.
  • Regularly reviewing your MVR with your¬† insurance agent helps ensure its accuracy and allows you to address any potential errors.

How Does Florida’s Point System Work?

Florida uses a point system to assess driving behavior. Specific traffic violations carry a designated number of points. Accumulating too many points within a certain time frame can lead to license suspension, or possibly an SR22 or FR44 requirement to maintain your license. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Points Assigned: Each violation comes with a point value assigned by law (e.g., speeding 1-15 mph over the limit = 3 points).
  • Point Accumulation: Points are added to your driving record upon conviction for the violation.
  • License Suspension: Accumulating 12 points within 12 months or 18 points within 18 months can result in license suspension.

What is an MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) and How Can I Obtain It?

Your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), also known as a driving record, is a comprehensive document that details your driving history in Florida. It includes information like:

Your MVR serves as a record of your driving activity in the state. Here’s a breakdown of the key information you’ll find:

  • Driver License Information: This section provides details about your license, including its issuance date, license class, and any restrictions you may have.
  • Traffic Violations and Points: This section lists any traffic violations you’ve been cited for such as¬†speeding tickets, improper lane changes, and failure to yield, along with the associated points assigned for each offense. Remember, not all violations carry points.
  • Driving Accidents: Your MVR will reflect any¬†accidents¬†you’ve been involved in, including whether you were determined to be¬†at fault. This information is crucial for¬†auto insurance companies¬†when assessing your risk profile.
  • License Suspensions or Revocations: If your license has ever been suspended or revoked due to violations or other reasons, this will be documented on your MVR, and might need an¬†SR22.
 

Obtaining Your MVR:

There are several ways to obtain your MVR in Florida:

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Decoding Your MVR: Points vs. Infractions

Understanding the difference between points and infractions on your MVR is crucial.

  • Infractions: These are the specific traffic violations you were cited for such as speeding, or running a red light.
  • Points: Not all violations carry points. Points are assigned only for specific, more serious infractions.
  • Your MVR will list both the infraction and any associated points.

When Do Points Typically Appear on My Driving Record?

The timeframe for points appearing on your driving record depends on how you handle the traffic citation:

  • Paid Fine/No Contest: Points typically appear within 30-60 days of paying the fine or pleading no contest.
  • Contested Ticket: If you contest the ticket and go to court, points won’t appear until the case is decided by a judge.

How Long Do Points Stay on My Florida Driving Record?

Points remain on your driving record for 3 years from the date of the violation’s disposition. After 3 years, the points are automatically removed and no longer impact your record.

At-Fault vs. Not-At-Fault Accidents: Impact on Your Record

Accidents themselves don’t carry points on your driving record. However, the accident report will indicate whether you were deemed at fault for the collision.

  • At-Fault Accidents: At-fault accidents can raise a red flag for insurance companies, potentially leading to higher premiums. While not directly impacting your driving record points-wise, they can indirectly affect your driving privileges through increased insurance costs.
  • Not-At-Fault Accidents: These accidents typically won’t affect your car insurance rates or driving record. However, it’s wise to keep a copy of the accident report, especially if the other driver disputes fault.
  • Contesting a Traffic Ticket and Its Effect on Points:¬† If you choose to contest a speeding ticket, points won’t be added to your record until the case is settled. However, contesting could lead to a harsher penalty if you lose the case.¬† Carefully weigh the risks and benefits before deciding to contest.

The Difference Between a Driving Record and Insurance Reports: 

While similar, there are key differences between your driving record and insurance reports:

Driving Record (MVR): Issued by the FLHSMV, this report details your traffic violations, points, accidents, and license history. It’s a public record accessible upon request.

Insurance Reports: Compiled by car insurance companies, these reports consider a broader range of factors beyond your MVR. This can include years of driving experience, car type, and even your credit score. Insurance reports are not public records and are typically only accessible by you and your Florida auto insurance provider.

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Maintaining a Clean Driving Record in Florida

A clean driving record in Florida offers several benefits:

  • Lower Auto Insurance Rates: Insurance companies reward safe drivers with lower car insurance premiums.
  • Avoiding License Suspension: Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension, causing loss of insurance.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your driving record is clear allows you to drive with confidence.
 

Here are some tips for maintaining a clean driving record:

  • Obey Traffic Laws: This is the most important factor. Always follow the speed limit, use turn signals properly, and avoid distractions while driving.
  • Drive Defensively: Be aware of your surroundings and anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  • Complete Traffic School: Taking a state-approved traffic school course can help remove points from your record for certain violations.
  • Respond Promptly to Citations: Don’t ignore traffic tickets. Pay them on time or contest them if you believe there’s a mistake.
 

By following these tips and staying informed about the point system’s impact on Florida automobile insurance, you can take control of your driving record and enjoy the benefits of safe driving along with cheaper insurance.