How Does the Indiana Driver's License Points System Work?

by Kacie Goff on 2020-02-19 9:40am

In the state of Indiana, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) uses a points system to keep track of moving violations. It gives them an easy way to look at a single number — the number of points on your Indiana driver’s license — to see if you have a clean driving record or have been engaged in some less-than-ideal behaviors on the road. 

Each time you’re convicted of a moving violation, a specific number of points gets added to your driver’s license. Indiana driver’s license points range from zero to ten, depending on how serious your offense was while you were behind the wheel. 

Here are some common examples of convictions and their associated points:

  • 2 points for speeding 1–15 mph over the speed limit
  • 4 points for speeding 16–25 mph over the limit
  • 6 points for 26+ mph over
  • 4 points for improper U-turns
  • 2 points for failing to use headlights or a turn signal
  • 4 points for failing to heed a stop sign or yield sign
  • 6 points for following another vehicle too closely

In other words, if you get pulled over and get cited, you’re probably looking at some points added to your Indiana driver’s license. 

Why should I care about points on my Indiana driver’s license?

Get too many points on your license and the BMV requires you to take an Indiana driver safety program (DSP). These programs are at least four hours long and you have to pay to take them. Fortunately, the BMV caps the cost at $55 and you can find them cheaper. More good news: you don’t have to go to a classroom for your course if you don’t want to. These classes are commonly referred to as Indiana defensive driving classes as well.

Generally, the state requires DSP completion if you’re a driver with 2+ traffic offenses (for all ages) or involvement in 2+ traffic accidents (for drivers under 21) in a single 12-month period. If you got a letter from the BMV saying that you have to take a DSP, don’t wait. You have to finish your course within 90 days of the day the BMV was notified of your latest moving violation. 

But you might want to get points off your license even if the BMV isn’t forcing you to do so. Having points on your license can create extra headaches for you. If you’re renewing a probationary driver’s license to a driver’s license and you have 6+ points on your license, for example, you’ll have to retake the knowledge exam first. With fewer points on your license, you can skip the studying. 

How do I remove points from my Indiana driver’s license?

You have two options to get points off your Indiana driver’s license. The first is the easiest: wait. Points only stay active on your license for two years after your conviction. So if you got stuck with a minor citation, don’t worry. Within a couple of years, you’ll be good to go.

But you might not have the luxury of time. Whether the BMV requires you to complete a DSP or you want to get some points off your license fast for other reasons, you have another way to do so. Finish a DSP. 

Don’t assume you can take your DSP from the first place saying they can help you drive more safely, though. In order for points to come off your license, you have to finish your program with a BMV-approved provider. They submit your program completion to the BMV, who processes it within 7–10 days. Once they do, you get a four-point credit toward your license. 

Again, this doesn’t have to be a big expense or headache. Some BMV-approved DSP providers offer courses you can take online and at your pace for as little as $35. 

All told, getting points off your Indiana driver’s license isn’t too challenging. Just make sure you stay informed about the number of points on your license. And keep an eye on your mail so you don’t have to rush to finish a DSP if the BMV orders you to take one.