What is California’s NOTS Program?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

So a little while ago you were in a fender-bender on California streets. A week later you receive a letter informing you that you have had a point added to your driver safety record under the California NOTS program. But what is the NOTS Program exactly, and how does it impact your ability to legally drive?

“NOTS,” per the California DMV website, stands for “Negligent Operator Treatment System.” Drivers of all ages are impacted, even drivers under the age of 18 operating with provisional licenses. The purpose of the system is to assign computer-generated point values to driver infractions involving traffic violations, motor vehicle injuries, personal injury, wrongful death or any other vehicular infractions. If enough points accumulate, the system assigns progressive sanctions to the driver.

Convictions on moving or mechanical violations can garner anywhere from zero to three points on your safe driving record, with harsher penalties for commercial drivers. Depending on the length of time between incidents, warnings may escalate from a warning letter to notice of intent to suspend followed by license suspension/probation after subsequent incidents. Incidents can even be out of state, as out-of-state incidents may report back to the California system.

Any vehicular violations that occur while on license suspension will result in an extension of that suspension by 6 months or more depending on the severity and frequency of the violations. NOTS hearings can be held to contest decisions or report inaccuracies in your driving record that may affect penalties.

This is an informational blog that should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.

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