MOUNT PLEASANT (WCBD) – Not only can breaking traffic laws result in a costly ticket — it can also add points to your driving record, according to South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).

The purpose of the point system is to make problem drivers improve their habits, and to protect innocent people from “careless and reckless drivers,” SCDMV said.

By law, certain traffic violations are assigned points. If you are convicted of a traffic violation in South Carolina or any other state, or receive a military court-martial traffic conviction, that information will be sent to SCDMV and posted on your driving record.

If you get points on your record, they will be reduced by half one year after the violation date on the ticket.

Points can be reduced by completing the National Safety Council’s 8-Hour Defensive Driving Course or an equivalent. SCDMV said some defensive driving courses are offered at SCDMV-certified driving schools.

Keep in mind, the course must be taken in South Carolina, must be eight hours of classroom training and must be taken after the points have been assessed. A reduction in points may only be made one time in a three-year period.

If you take the defensive driving course because your license is in danger of being suspended, you must complete the course before the suspension begins. Once the suspension begins, the point reduction will not cancel the suspension, according to SCDMV.

If you hold a beginner’s permit, provisional or special restricted driver’s license and accumulate six or more points, your driving privileges will be suspended for six months for “Excessive Points.”

If you are suspended under these circumstances, completing the National Safety Defensive Driver Course or its equivalent will not reinstate the suspension, according to SCDMV.

Certain violations, including driving under the influence, require mandatory license suspension and are not under the point system.

Click here to view your driving record on SCDMV’s website.

For more information on the points system, click here.