Insurance Blog
Thursday, 29 August 2019 17:51

Speeding Tickets in MA

You're driving along the road minding your own business. Suddenly you notice a police cruiser waiting under an upcoming overpass or you see a state police officer approaching in your rearview mirror, or perhaps you're on a city road where a local police officer is pointing a radar gun in your direction . . . and you panic.

If you were traveling within the speed limit, you won't get a ticket for speeding. If you're stopped for speeding, prepare to meet the officer with your license and registration—and perhaps a good reason for speeding.

In this article, we aim to answer important questions about how speeding tickets work in Massachusetts and how they may affect your driver's record and auto insurance policy.


Frequently Asked Questions About Speeding Tickets in Massachusetts

  • Do you know how many speeding tickets result in a license suspension?
  • Have you heard of the "Clean in 3" Rule?
  • What is a surchargeable incident?
  • Do you know what to do when you get a speeding ticket?

If you don't know all the answers to these questions, read on.

How many speeding tickets result in a license suspension in Massachusetts?

The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will suspend or revoke your learner's permit, driver's license, or right to operate for 30 days if you are found responsible for 3 speeding tickets (including out-of-state offenses) in any 12-month period, as stated in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 20.

See: Massachusetts law about traffic violations


What is the "Clean in 3" Provision:

The "Clean in 3" provision can clear your driver's record of speeding tickets. The value of surcharge points for each surchargeable incident is reduced by 1 point if:

  1. you have 3 or fewer surchargeable incidents on your driving record in the 5 years immediately preceding your policy's effective date,
  2. the most recent surcharge date is at least 3 years before your policy's effective date, and
  3. you have at least 3 years of driving experience.

The surcharge points for any incident cannot be reduced below 0 (zero).


What is the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Point System?

The state of Massachusetts has a unique DMV point system which is designed to regulate motorists’ behavior while on the road. The MA driver point system is also known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) under which demerit points are assessed following specific traffic offenses.

The SDIP generally encourages drivers to practice safe driving habits by providing incentives in the event of a clean record, or assessing higher insurance premiums to motorists with bad driving habits. Traffic violations in MA are also referred to as surchargeable events, and they include a certain number of Massachusetts penalty points, depending on their severity.

The [number] of driving points or surchargeable points will not affect your driving record, as much as your vehicle insurance premiums. Learn more about the surcharge point system in Massachusetts in the following sections:

  • Moving violations and points in Massachusetts
  • Penalties in Massachusetts
  • How to fix a Massachusetts driving record
  • Disputing a Massachusetts moving violation charge

 Request and review a copy of your Massachusetts driver records.


About Moving Violations and Points in Massachusetts

Massachusetts penalty points placed against your driving transcript due to specific surchargeable events will have adverse effects on your vehicle insurance premiums. In general, The MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) divides surchargeable events in several categories. The number of moving violation points in MA attached to each of them is outlined in the below list:

  • Minor traffic law offenses – 2 points.
  • Minor at-fault accidents – 3 points.
  • Major at-fault accidents – 4 points.
  • Major traffic law violations – 5 points.

For a full list of major and minor traffic law offenses, refer to Appendix A of the Massachusetts SDIP regulation.

Request your Massachusetts driving record.


What's the difference between major and minor traffic law offenses?

Traffic law offenses are added to [your] driving history and are used in calculating an operator's Safe Driver Insurance Plan rating. The number of surcharge points assigned to traffic offenses is determined by the incident classification defined in the Safe Driver Insurance Plan.

  • Minor traffic law violation (2 points) includes civil violations, such as speeding or failing to obey traffic lights, and minor criminal violations, such as driving as an unlicensed operator.
  • Major traffic law violation (5 points) includes criminal violations, such as operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol and drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, or refusing to stop for a police officer.

NOTE: Major traffic offenses may include MA DUI points, which are assessed upon convictions of operating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The surcharge or infraction points calculated following a certain violation of state motor vehicle laws will not affect your record as much as your insurance premiums. Your driving report and license are usually affected by the number of traffic tickets you have received within a certain period of time. Traffic violations penalties issued as a result of an out-of-state infraction will also be included in your driving history.

Learn more about the Massachusetts DMV point system.


What do I do if I get a speeding ticket?

If you get a traffic ticket for a minor violation, you have 20 days to pay any fines associated with the violation. If you think the ticket was unfair, you can fight it in court, and you do not necessarily have to hire an attorney, although some people do. If you get a ticket for a criminal traffic violation it must be resolved in court before a judge. It may be worth considering a traffic violation attorney to help you through the process. 


Where do I pay my traffic ticket?

You must pay or appeal a traffic ticket (civil motor vehicle citation) within 20 days.

  • Click here to pay Massachusetts traffic tickets online.
  • If a state or local police officer issues you a traffic ticket (civil motor vehicle citation), you have 20 days to respond. You can pay the fine in full or you can appeal and request a hearing.
  • If you don’t respond to a traffic ticket within 20 days, you waive your right to a hearing and will be charged late and release fees in addition to your fine. The RMV will send you a letter stating you are in default, and if you do not pay your fine and fees within 30 days of that letter, your driver's license or right to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended.

Read more about paying or appealing a Massachusetts traffic ticket -


More About Massachusetts Law Regarding Traffic Violations

  • Why should I periodically check my driving record: It’s always wise to check for accuracy, verifying that the surchargeable events on your driving record are correct. Because an accumulation of points and traffic violation convictions could cause your MA driver’s license to be suspended or revoked and spur a rise in your car insurance rates, make sure the state's record is correct.

  • Will speeding violations from outside of Massachusetts appear on your record? The violations (not points) will appear on your driving record, which could affect your car insurance rates and have bearing on the status of your MA driver’s license.

  • What is a surchargeable traffic incident? A surchargeable incident is an at-fault accident or traffic law offense that may result in an increase in an operator's insurance premium. Learn more


More about Massachusetts Law About Traffic Violations:

More about Massachusetts surchargeable events:

Request your Massachusetts driving record online.


Alternative Speed Detection

If you find yourself going faster than the posted speed limit, think about this New Jersey man who was arrested in New Hampshire earlier this summer (2019).

New Hampshire State police said that Eric Joseph, 51, of Short Hills, New Jersey, was driving 142 miles per hour on I 95 in New Hampshire. He was arrested on a charge of reckless driving. Driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee 142 mph in a 65 mph zone, he allegedly told police that he was speeding because he was traveling home to New Jersey. His speed was clocked by a New Hampshire state police aircraft. At this time, Massachusetts does not use aircraft for speed detection.


Speed Traps: Know Where to Look

Want a heads up on where speed traps might be located? Check out the map below or view the full list of Massachusetts speed traps by town/city.

Where are the 10 Worst Massachusetts Speed Trap Cities? features a list of the worst speed trap cities in Massachusetts.

NOTE: Speed traps are not always in the places reported on the maps, and speed traps may appear in other locations. Also, please note that the traps reported in the image below were reported by motorists, not police departments.


Top 10 States With The Most Speeding Tickets

Perhaps this is good news for Massachusetts drivers: According to a survey by, Massachusetts is not currently one of the top 10 states with the most speeding tickets. Those designations go to 1.) Iowa, 2.) North Dakota, 3.) South Carolina, 4.) Wyoming, 5.) Nebraska, 6.) Ohio, 7.) Wisconsin, 8.) Virginia, 9.) Delaware, and 10.) Washington State.


Are parking tickets considered moving violations?

Parking tickets are not considered moving violations and do not appear on your driving record. They must be settled like a traffic ticket or you will not be allowed to renew your MA driver's license or vehicle registration.

More about Massachusetts vehicle registration.


Are they ways to avoid a speeding ticket?

Sometimes we forget about speed, particularly when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. Certainly, it's always best to observe and obey the speeding laws wherever you drive.

If you are stopped, however, be honest with the officer and avoid negative attitudes. Some drivers have reported that honesty helps; others have found that asking for a warning instead of a ticket may be an option for those with a good driving record.

You may appear in traffic court for a minor violation. The outcome depends on a number of factors. A major violation is a different story.

What about tears . . . do they help avoid a speeding ticket?

At least one driver we spoke to can attest to the fact that tears do not always work, although there is anecdotal testimony that indicates chances may be good for authentic crying depending on the situation, the traffic officer, and other variables. That said, we do not recommend tears during a traffic stop – but if you can't help it, perhaps it can't hurt.


Be Prepared To Drive Safely

Before you venture out for a drive through the city or state highways, you may plan for traffic, map out your route on a traffic app, and check for speed traps. But remember: apps and reporting websites are not always accurate or dependable. The best way to avoid a speeding ticket is to observe the speed limits.

Practice safe driving habits for a speeding ticket free journey wherever you drive!

Disclaimer: The information stated in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you require legal advice for a speeding offense, contact a lawyer that specializes in traffic violations. Massachusetts law-related information stated has not been paraphrased or interpreted, however, minor edits may have been made. Visit the website links for a full understanding of laws regarding speeding and other traffic violations in this state.

Sources:, (MA), (MA)

Read 2541 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2019 19:09

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