How does the California point system affect me in my traffic situation?

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. How does the California points system work when there is an accident?
    Can someone who knows the California point/fault/report system help me?
    I'm very confused.

    Here's my story ...

    1. A month ago, I attended California DMV traffic school for running one of
    those silly stop lights on the freeway (it said two cars, I went and the
    cop said I was the third car - I didn't see any car in front of the one in
    front of me but I paid the fine because it was so far from home and I went
    to the local "comedy traffic school" which wasn't funny so that was the
    joke on me, I guess). The traffic school said the "point" would be "hidden"
    (from whom?).

    2. Then, just this week, unfortunately, I had a very minor accident (a few
    hundred dollars damage to my front bumper, none to the other persion except
    a minor scratch to the bumper). The other person insisted on a police
    report even though his car was virtually undamaged and said he'd get me for
    hit and run if I left the scene. So I stayed around even though I didn't
    want to (I considered it kidnapping of a sort).

    3. Since our stories didn't match (I don't know what he said as two
    motorcycle cops arrived and I only spoke to one of them), the police said
    they'd do a "no fault" report. I have to ask for that report which I will
    do next week. I'm curious as to what he said.

    4. I called the DMV and they said I should file a report with the DMV even
    if the accident was five hundred dollars "to be safe". When I asked safe
    from what, the DMV said they could take away your license if BOTH people
    don't file the DMV report - even with the police report a given.

    5. I called my insurance company who said if they paid more than 750
    dollars that my rates would go up but I only have liability on my 1998
    Mustang, so there's no way they are going to pay. Well, if the other person
    wants the scratch fixed, I guess there will be a hundred dollars or so to
    his car. I probably won't even fix my car as it's a minor dent and they
    wanted to replace the hood but I told them to just bend it back. My
    insurance company also said they didn't "see" the first ticket for running
    the silly stop light but that they thanked me for telling them about it
    (will it matter?).

    I'm new to California. I'm very confused.

    What is the implication of these "points" (to my license and to my
    insurance) and how long do they last and who can see them and why would it
    matter and what's this with the no fault (do we both get them or nobody or
    half a point or what)?

    What does all this mean in California?
    Can someone who knows the California point/fault/report system help me?
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007
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  2. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    Google is your friend:

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 10, 2007
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  3. You're joking, Barb, right?

    The ignorance in your response points to my fault for not explaining and
    outlining the many confusing questions more succinctly so it's not your
    fault you answered so flippantly wrongly. Sorr for not being clear.

    I think what you're trying to say is that there isn't any documentation on
    the web (believe me, I searched... in addition to the CA DMV you missed the site which has twice as much as the little bit that the CA DMV site
    has), neither of which answers any of the questions I posed).

    But I don't blame you Barb. Most Californians don't know how the system
    works (neither do I). I have already asked the questions of my California
    coworkers, and combined, they knew little more than what was sporadically
    in the google record. I'm amazed at how little Californians seem to know
    about their own system!

    I looked everywhere prior to posting; I even searched the newsgroups prior
    to posting. I wouldn't have asked you if the answers were easy to find.

    So, Barb, do you know the answer to the original questions?

    a) If, after the accident, you stop and exchange information, and the
    damage is assessed and there are no injuries, the second party insists you
    stick around for the police report - must you remain for the police report
    or can you leave? Where on the web you pointed to is the answer to that?

    b) Where on the web does it say what happens when the police assign BOTH
    people the fault? Do BOTH get the points? Or none? Or half each?

    c) While the web says the traffic school erases the point from public view,
    is the point still there? That is, if you get another point within a month,
    say, do you have two points (only one of which can be seen publically) or
    just one?

    d) While it says on the web (not where you pointed, but, elsewhere) both
    parties must file a DMV report, even if there is a police report, if the
    value of the damage exceeds $750, (it is left to the imagination of the
    reader if that is in toto, or per vehicle), what happens if your
    "assessment" of the damage is different. Say, one says the value is $1000
    and the other says it's $500 and neither side actually gets the vehicle
    fixed. Or, in my case, it's fixed for $100 and just not fixed well.

    e) And, what is the implication (pro or con) of filing that DMV report? Of
    course you won't find this on any DMV web site, Barb. I know this because I
    ran extensive searches BEFORE asking the question. Most Californians are
    ignorant of the implications (as am I) ... what are they? Does the
    insurance company look to the police report or to the points, for example?

    f) Are you supposed to lie to the insurance company? It doesn't say on any
    web site how to handle this everyday situation. Call insurance company.
    They ask if you have any tickets. (Remember, they can't "see" the first
    ticket.). What's the difference if you say yes or no? If you say "yes, but
    you can't see it", does it count against you for insurance purposes?

    Since you won't find the answers to these questions on any California DMV
    web site, I must turn to a larger audience. I'm sure there is nobody who
    knows the answers to all the questions but there must be somebody who knows
    the answers to some of the questions ... isn't there?

    I ask again ...
    Can someone who knows the California point/fault/report system help me?
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007
  4. Jim's answer is is the typical ignorance that I found when I asked other
    Californians. That's why I'm asking others here.

    If you don't know the answer to the questions, that's OK (neither do I),
    but, please don't be like Jim and expose that ignorance by adding racism to
    the mix.

    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007
  5. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    Bit of a bitch, aren't you? I went to the effort to find what I could
    online for you. What the ****'s your problem. Is it high tide or something?

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 10, 2007
  6. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    After these two responses, I doubt you'll be getting much help.
    Here's an idea...why don't you phone the CHP and ask THEM?

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 10, 2007
  7. Hi Steve,

    I did go to the DMV. They said you should file a report "just to be safe".
    Huh? Would YOU file a report to a government agency to get on the record an
    accident if you didn't have to ... just to be safe?

    The point is, the information requested is NOT on the DMV site and nobody
    in the government is going to give the best answer. They'll give the best
    answer for THEM, not you.

    I also picked up the CA DMV book which told us just what it said on the web
    site which isn't any of the questions I'm asking.

    And, if anyone DOES help, then I'll be sure to show appreciation. Telling
    me to "move to minnesota" isn't exactly help ... is it? Likewise with
    "google is your friend", which is an idiotic thing to say to someone who
    has googled for days without finding the answer (because the answer is
    likely not on the web).

    SO, Steve, I WILL show appreciation to anyone who actually helps.
    Thanks for your advice!
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007
  8. Hi Barb,
    I already did that. I talked to the cop who filed the report. He said since
    we had different versions of the event, he wasn't going to assign fault to

    That's what begged the question. What happens when both are at fault.
    When I asked him, he said it was up to the DMV.

    So I went to the DMV. I already told you what they said.

    So, you see, the typical responses I've gotten here, so far, are typical of
    what the government and the DMV and the Californians have (i.e., "go back
    to minnesota").

    The fact the answers so far are so ignorantly flippant underscore the fact
    that nobody actually knows the answers. It's amazing at how stupid the
    Californians are in their own system (and I include myself in that category
    so it can't be considered impolite as I'm referring to myself also).

    Doesn't ANYONE know how the California point system affects you in the
    aforementioned situation? Or are ALL Californians (including myself) badly
    misinformed or worse, ignorant (as am I)?
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 10, 2007
  9. Hi Alan Moore,

    THANK YOU for your excellent post! You are, quite literally, in the top 1%,
    as nobody I've asked so far understood what you do.

    So, it's not the ASSESSED damage but the ACTUAL costs. What you're saying
    is if I have $1000 damage (assuming none to the other guy) but if I don't
    bother to repair it, then the "California damage" is zero.

    I did repair mine, silly me, so, specifically, the damage to my vehicle was
    repaired at $100 dollars (there was a minor scratch to the other guy's
    bumper which I'll assume will be listed as zero cost).

    Is it true that it's not the ASSESSED DAMAGE but the actual out-of-pocket
    costs for the repair that matter, assuming the repair occurs within the
    first 30 days?

    I don't have the police report, but, if the cop puts the damage at $1000
    but if I have my check (by way of receipt) for $100 - doesn't that mean I
    don't have to file (based on reading of your most excellent reply)?

    BTW, nowhere in Barb's references or in googling have I found this question
    answered (your post implies I'm "home free") so that's good!

    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  10. Hi Alan,
    Again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. This is EXACTLY what I suspected. The only
    place to find this information is from someone who knows and who does NOT
    work (at the time being asked) for a government agency.

    I knew before I started my search that the official web pages would be
    useless as you have noted.

    I did expect many people to have the same questions on the USENET so I was
    surprised at the lack of usenet education on this topic. Hence, my

    It's still amazing how little Californians (including myself lest someone
    think I'm bashing all Californians) know about their own system. The
    response of "go back to minnesota" is typical of the mentality of the
    Californian. People who say that (and it's a typical California response,
    especially to Mexicans) can't be bothered to understand a system they put
    in place themselves.
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  11. Hi Al,
    I am in Santa Clara County also. I have never had an accident so I agree,
    I've never needed to know about the point system. Specifically, what are
    the legal ramifications of an accident with an assessed damage (who
    assesses it anyway) of x and a fixed damage of y but if it were to be
    properly fixed, it would be z.

    Which is the number used for the $750 dollar legal cut-off point for the
    requirement to file?

    Most likely:
    - The police report will assess it high (how would they know?)
    - The other person will likely ignore it (there was no damage to their car)
    - I have proof of payment - but the fix is substandard

    Is there any record on the web for handling THIS (I would assume common)
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  12. Hi Alan,

    Thank you again for your help; you seem to be the only one who knows
    anything on this system - so may I ask some of the questions again having
    many times read Barb's link BEFORE she even posted it (I have the DMV
    manual and it's in the back of the book).

    To be clear, the link doesn't explicitly say what happens in a
    both-at-fault or no-fault accident (I'm not sure which one is mine). Since
    an accident occurred, certainly someone is at fault. Are both people
    assessed the points? No web site I found, including the one Barb pointed us
    to, handles the "no fault" or "both at fault" situation.

    Does anyone know how the California both-at-fault situation works?
    a) Do we both get the point?
    b) Do we both get 1/2 a point?
    c) Do we both get zero points?

    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  13. Hi Al,
    You're the only one who actually tried, and I greatly appreciate the
    advice. Bear in mind I have been giving precise answers with full details
    as a courtesy to all in my responses.

    BTW, what does "DoD 734" mean?

    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  14. OK. SO, if I understand you correctly,

    a) If both are at fault, then TWO POINTS are assessed (one to each party).
    b) If none are at fault, then ZERO POINTS are assessed.

    Is there a form on the police report which says this?
    I don't have it yet (I've asked for it to be mailed and the cop said he
    hadn't finished with it yet).

    Is the "fault" situation on the police report?
    Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN, Nov 11, 2007
  15. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    Apparently we, including DMV officials, are ignorant as to how the point
    system works. Since I haven't gotten a ticket since 1991 (speeding
    through Ramona, yet slowest wildebeest in the plack) I haven't gotten
    any points on my license. When I ride, I squeak, I'm so clean. The bike,
    alas isn't. And right now, my leg smells of petrol.

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 11, 2007
  16. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    Ah wuz borned in Los Angeles. And glad I didn't grow up there.

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 11, 2007
  17. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    She should be on b.cagers...
    Motorcyclists are so impatient with the lame, stupid and opaque.
    I think it comes from getting cut off, crowded out, and unseen from
    stupid four wheelers who don't have to pay as close attention as we do.
    One man's fender bender is another man's fatality, if you get my drift.

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 11, 2007
  18. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    Rich Guest


    With all due respect, you are asking for legal advice from people who
    aren't qualified to give it, among them, myself. So far as points are
    concerned, the DMV will decide whether your actions warrant assessing
    one against you. They will do this presumably by looking at the reports
    filed by yourself, the police, and the other driver. I am guessing, but
    do not know for sure, that there is a procedure to appeal such a
    determination, but unless your side of the story is so weak, or your
    ability to express it so poor, you're probably better off letting the
    DMV have the benefit of your testimony.

    That testimony becomes obligatory if the amount of damages exceeds $750
    for all parties involved, whether or not those damages are repaired.
    You could, for example, have totalled your vehicle and decided to scrap
    it, but that doesn't absolve you of your obligation to file a report.

    Until recently, the reporting level for property damage was set at $500.
    The Legislature noted how easily that threshold got breached and tried
    to modernize the standard -- they didn't go far enough. To give you a
    notion of what things cost, the paint on my rear bumper is cracked and
    peeling (probably the result of aggressive parking). To have it
    repainted would cost over $300, and that was several years ago.

    There is no penalty for filing a report when you didn't have to, and the
    existence of a police report guarantees that the DMV will know about the
    incident. My advice, for what it's worth, is get the form from the DMV
    and fill it out. If you're still concerned, get a lawyer to review your
    report before filing it.

    Insurance companies can do what they please with accident and violation
    information. In my case, which was a tipover accident of my motorcycle
    onto an adjacent car while both vehicles were parked and unattended, the
    liability insurer chose to pay out to the car owner, did not raise my
    rates, and offered me its best rate when I subsequently acquired a car.
    My homeowners insurance issuer wanted a hefty premium for the auto
    insurance, but after a year decided it would not hold that incident
    against me. Other insurers with whom I had no other business wanted to
    penalize me for three years when I asked them for auto quotes.

    Rich, Urban Biker
    Rich, Nov 11, 2007
  19. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    Rich Guest

    The other party, if I read your recitation correctly, is the one that
    insisted on a police report. If you really believe they will now ignore
    the incident, I can get you a good price on the Bay Bridge, only
    slightly damaged by an oil spill.
    Rich, Nov 11, 2007
  20. Ann LaRocca-Reifers, RN

    barb Guest

    "Hi, my name's Barb, and I'll be your server today. Before I give you
    our specials today, let me just say that I'm only doing this until
    somebody buys my script. I'm really a script writer, not a waitress!"

    Of course, it's a little different in the Bay area;
    "Hi, my name's Barb, and I'll be your server today. Before I give you
    the day's specials, you should know that I'm really a witch with
    magickal powerzz. I'm just doing this until the coven I want to join has
    an opening."


    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)

    visit my store!
    barb, Nov 12, 2007
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