The National Motorists Association recently found out that nearly 28 to 49 million traffic tickets are issued each year. The ten states which record the highest number of traffic violations are Ohio, Georgia, Texas, New York, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. If you are in any one of these states, you should know that one in every seven driver is charged with some sort of traffic violation or the other.

Traffic violations can range from minor offenses like a parking violation or unknowingly breaking the speed limit to major and grievous offenses like DUI or reckless driving. Whatever be the offense, if you are cited for a traffic violation, minor or major, it is going to show up on your driving record. The smallest indication of a traffic violation on your record will drive up your premium rates by a substantial margin.

What are the effects of a bad driving record?

Traffic violations can have a very detrimental effect on your driving record which in turn will affect your personal and professional life.

•    Professional problems – Potential employers will go through your driving record before they consider recruiting you. In case you have a major violation on your record, he will definitely think twice before he recruits you. Any organization would prefer to employ people with a clean background.

•    Higher interest rates – Car financing companies may refuse to give you an auto loan in case your driving record is questionable. They might even charge you a higher rate of interest on your loan if you have minor traffic violations on your record. Rental services can deny your request to rent a car in case you have a poor driving record.

•    Higher premium rates – Insurance companies will definitely charge higher premiums if they find traffic violations on your record. An insurance company can even choose to cancel your policy in case you were involved in a major driving violation. Life insurance premiums would also go up if you have a poor driving record.

•    Fines and penalties – Your finances may be adversely affected since you will be subjected to heavy fines and legal procedures. You might even have your driving license suspended if your record shows that you are responsible for a number of infractions, major or minor, in a very short span of time.

Parking infractions may or may not be recorded on your driving record. It is dictated by state law so you’d have to go find out from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. A few tickets a year can get your license suspended. Parking tickets will show up on your record for the next 7 years. There is nothing worse than an unpaid parking ticket showing up on your record so try and pay them off as soon as you can.

What are the insurance benefits of a clean driving record?

Insurance companies prefer to do business with low risk drivers who are least likely to commit traffic violations.

•    Reduced premiums let you save more money every month.

•    The insurance company might let you off the hook for minor traffic violations if you already have an excellent driving record.

•    A clean driving record will allow you to choose a reduced deductible if you want.

•    You might also be eligible for discounts and other such incentive based programs

How can you keep minor offenses and tickets off your record?

A combination of strategy and common sense can help you keep your driving record clean and your premium rates low. The most sensible and simplest thing to do would be to drive safely and obey traffic rules. There is no substitute for vigilance and alertness. Not only does it let you maintain a clean driving history, it ensures on-road safety.

In case you do end up with a minor traffic violation charge, you can decide to contest it in court. There is a good chance that the case might be dismissed entirely or you could also end up with a lesser penalty or charge. In case the court upholds the infraction, you will just have to pay for the ticket like you would even if you didn’t contest the infraction.

A driver with a good record with a minor traffic violation is allowed to attend traffic school instead of paying the fine outright. Attending 6 to 8 hours of classes will essentially wipe the violation off the record. Remember that your chances of being allowed to go to traffic school solely depend on the degree of the violation you are charged with. The more serious the offense, the less chances you have of going to traffic school.

A clean driving record allows you to keep your insurance rates low and your finances stable. Obeying the traffic rules and understanding your state’s driving laws are essential to keep your record clean. A good driving record is a mark of responsible driver.

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