12 ways your driving record can screw up your life
Robert Priolo, a marketing manager with Daily Medical Supplies in Glendora, Calif., got a big surprise last year when he opened his tax refund check: It was short by more than $700. It turns out that Priolo had an unpaid speeding ticket that had been collecting fees and interest for eight years.
Priolo was in the middle of a move when he received the ticket and the paperwork never caught up to him California, like most states, has a tax-refund intercept program that allows government agencies to collect delinquent debts. The lesson here is that your driving record can -- and will -- affect your life. As the saying goes, the DMV never forgets.
Your driving record follows you from the day you get your license till the day you hang up your keys. The impact of your driving record extends to many other aspects of your life.
While everyone knows that your car insurance rates are directly linked to your DMV record, you may be shocked to learn that it can also affect your life insurance premium, your right to vote and even your professional life.
Here are 12 ways your driving record can exert its influence on your life.
Your car insurance bill
It goes without saying that your driving record has a direct effect on your car insurance premium - you may not get the if you have lots of citations for moving violations. A serious offense such as a DUI or reckless driving charge will push your premiums up 30 to 300 percent, according to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst with CarInsurance.com. Even a speeding ticket can bump your rates 20 percent.
Your credit rating
If you choose not to pay a traffic or red light ticket, there is a good chance your credit rating will take a beating. Most jurisdictions tack on fees if you fail to pay a ticket and eventually turn it over to a collection agency. You can then watch your credit rating nosedive. The next time you apply for a credit card, loan or even try to rent an apartment, you may have a problem, compliments of the DMV.
You may be arrested
After it has destroyed your credit rating, that unpaid traffic violation is coming after you with an arrest warrant. According to the California Court System website, continued failure to pay your ticket will result in a misdemeanor charge and an arrest warrant.
Lose your right to vote and many other rights
A DUI or reckless driving charge can be classified as a felony if the damage is extremely serious or a death is involved. In many cases the charge will be reckless homicide. Multiple DUIs can also result in a felony conviction. In New York, a second DUI in 10 years will be classified as a felony.
Convicted felons lose a number of rights which vary by state, but examples include:
- Right to vote
- Serve on jury
- Hold public office
- Receive federal aid for education
- Become firefighter
- Travel to foreign countries may be limited
Life insurance may cost more
A poor driving record or a DUI can knock you out of a preferred life insurance tier. Kristofer R. Kirchen, president of Advanced Insurance Managers, warns, "This may up your rates by a few hundred dollars a year , which over the course of a 30-year term policy can really add up."
Your license may be suspended and your car will go unregistered
In almost all cases your license will be suspended with a DUI or reckless driving charge, while an unpaid ticket can also result in a suspension. The DMV will also refuse to register your vehicle if you have unpaid tickets on your record.
You might lose your job
A serious driving infraction, or even a slew of small ones, may put you in the unemployment line. A suspended license can be a deal-breaker for your employer if you drive for a living. Delivery drivers, traveling salespeople or anyone who spends all day in a car may be out of a job. Even if you manage to hang on to your license, if you drive a company car, the insurance increase may be too much for your employer.
It might be harder to get a job in the future
There is a certain social stigma attached to a DUI or other serious driving conviction, and fair or not, it can affect your future employment. Many companies run a background check on potential employees and for some, a DUI is a red flag. Any job that requires driving or using a company car may be out of reach as the cost to insure you will be prohibitive.