118 E. Council St., Ste 3, Salisbury, NC 28144
Phone: 704.633.8857 | Fax: 704.636.2284

Why a Traffic Attorney

North Carolina has adopted a system whereby every moving violation is assigned a point value under two different systems. The first of these systems is the driver’s license system. This is the point system that the Division of Motor Vehicles follows for determining when driver’s licenses are suspended for an accumulation of points.

The second system is the insurance points system. The insurance points system is part of something known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) which establishes classifications of drivers based on their history of accidents and convictions for violations. The SDIP as approved and modified from time to time sets the basic automobile insurance rates. Each point total has its own surcharge, or percentage increase in insurance premium, which follows a conviction of that offense. I suggest you always check that site for this most current information.

I should stress that both of these points systems apply only to North Carolina licensed drivers. If you are licensed in a different state, the Division of Motor Vehicles in that state determines what, if any, points system applies and what the consequences of each moving violation will be on your privilege to drive and/or your insurance rate. This may only be determined by consulting with an experienced, skilled traffic practitioner in your own home state, as I do not purport to provide information on insurance consequences or driver’s license consequences on any state other than North Carolina.

North Carolina Driver’s License Point System

Points are given for the following offenses:

Conviction:   Points:
Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children   5
Reckless driving   4
Hit and run, property damage only   4
Following too closely   4
Driving on the wrong side of the road   4
Illegal passing   4
Running through stop sign   3
Speeding more than 55 mph   3
Speeding through a school zone   3
Failure to yield right of way   3
No driver’s license or license expired more than one year   3
Running through red light   3
Failure to stop for siren   3
Speeding through safety zone   3
Failure to report accident where such report is required   3
No liability insurance   3
All other moving violations   2
Littering involving a motor vehicle   1

Points given for conviction of violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle:

Conviction:   Points:
Passing a stopped school bus   8
Rail-highway crossing violation   6
Reckless driving   5
Hit and run, property damage only   5
Following too closely   5
Driving on wrong side of road   5
Illegal passing   5
Running through stop sign   4
Speeding more than 55 mph   4
Failure to yield right of way   4
Running through red light   4
No driver license or expired for more than one year   4
Failure to stop for siren   4
Driving through safety zone   4
No liability insurance   4
Failure to report accident where such report is required   4
Possessing alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle   4
All other moving violations   3
Littering involving the use of the motor vehicle   1


North Carolina Insurance Point System

No. Of Points:
12   Manslaughter or negligent homicide
Prearranged highway racing or lending a car for prearranged highway racing
Hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury or death
Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more
Driving commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .04 or more
Driving while impaired
Transporting illegal intoxicating liquor for sale
10   Highway racing or lending a car for highway racing
Speeding to elude arrest
8   Driving during revocation or suspension of license or registration
4   Reckless driving
Hit-and-run resulting in property damage only
Passing a stopped school bus
Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph
Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or greater
Driving by a person less than age 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs
3   At-fault accident resulting in death or bodily injury* in excess of $1,500 or property damage $2,500 or more**
2   Illegal passing
Following too closely
Driving on wrong side of the road
At-fault accident resulting in property damage in excess of $1,500, but less than $2,500**
Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit provided the total speed is in excess of 55 mph, but less than 76 mph
1   All other moving violations
At-fault accident resulting in bodily injury* of $1,500 or less, or property damage of $1,500 or less**
Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of speed limit of less than 55 mph


Insurance Surcharge Per Point

Point:   Surcharge:
1   30%
7   165%
2   45%
8   195%
3   60%
9   225%
4   80%
10   260%
5   110%
11   300%
6   135%
12   340%

Data Source: Motor Vehicle Law and the Law of Impaired Driving In N.C.

It should be noted that I have used the term “moving violation” as compared to “ticket,” “charge” or “citation” or “conviction.” Under North Carolina law only moving violations carry insurance points or license points. That is why my first objective in any case is to determine whether an appropriate non-moving violation is available as an alternative.

Let me give you an example of just how serious a traffic matter can be. When traveling South on Interstate 85 from Raleigh to Charlotte you pass, within the space of a few miles, from a 70 MPH zone into a 65 MPH zone into a 55 MPH zone. Assuming for the purposes of this example that a person was traveling at what he thought was 9 MPH over the posted speed limit of 70 MPH (a common practice) and he missed the speed limit changes (another common occurrence) and his speedometer was off a little (also common), he ends up being charged with speeding 81 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. If he shows up for court and pleads guilty as charged (reasoning that, since he is guilty he should plead guilty) he faces revocation of his license for one year, an increase in his insurance premium (based on four insurance points) of 90% per year for the next three years, plus an additional surcharge whose amount depends on the county of residence.

Presuming the driver to be paying $ 1,000 per year for liability insurance, the new insurance bill would be $1,900 per year. If the policy had previously been ceded to the reinsurance facility (not uncommon if there were any other tickets or accidents in the past three years), then the total bill might be considerably higher, perhaps up to 52% higher. It would also result in the loss of a clean criminal record, as this is a misdemeanor charge.