Massachusetts’s Traffic Violation Point System

How Massachusetts’s demerit point system works and the consequences of building up too many points.

Massachusetts has the “Safe Driver Insurance Plan” to promote safer highways and roads. The program uses a surcharge point system to set auto insurance rates. Under this system, insurance rates are increased for drivers with at-fault accidents and traffic violations. This article explains how these points are assessed and how they can affect insurance rates and driver’s licenses.

Point Assessment

The Merit Rating Board (MRB) collects all accident and traffic violation reports for each driver. Insurance companies then use these records to determine the insurance rate for each driver.

Vehicle accidents. All at-fault accident claims are reported to the MRB. A major accident (over $5,000 in damages) will result in four surcharge points. A minor accident ($1,000 to $5,000 in damages) will result in three surcharge points.

Traffic violations. All traffic violation convictions are also reported to the MRB. A driver will be assessed five points for a major traffic violation and two points for a minor traffic violation. Only one violation will be assessed points per incident. Below is a list of some of the more common violations.

Traffic Violations

Major Traffic Violation

Minor Traffic Violation

Reckless driving

Careless operation

Leaving the scene of an injury accident

Crosswalk violation

Driving under the influence

Drag racing

Driving while suspended or revoked

Failure to obey sign

Fleeing or eluding law enforcement

Child restraint violation

Manslaughter

Passing violation

Ignition interlock device (IID) violations

Speeding

Point Duration

The MRB will generally look back six years for any surcharge points. However, there are also ways to reduce or eliminate points.

Clean in 3. A driver who has no points in the last three years and three or less points in the last five years will have each point-related offense reduced by one point.

Point forgiveness. A driver convicted of a minor traffic violation will not receive any surcharge points if the driver has no violations within the last five years.

Appeal. Any point assessment can be appealed within 30 days of the notice. However, the agency will only review the accuracy of the record.

Point Impact

Points affect the insurance rates available to each driver. Drivers with multiple points face an insurance rate increase of up to 15 percent.

Excellent driver. A driver with no surcharge points in the last five years will be considered an “excellent driver.” Excellent drivers are subject to receive an insurance discount of seven to 17 percent.

Education. A driver who receives three separate point-related incidents in a 24-month period will be required to complete a driver education program. If the registrar does not receive proof of completion within 90 days, the driver’s license will be suspended until the class is completed.

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