The Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA polymerase delta proofreading exonuclease-defective mutation pol3-01 is known to cause high rates of accumulating mutations. The pol3-01 mutant was found to have abnormal cell cycle progression due to activation of the S phase checkpoint. Inactivation of the S phase checkpoint suppressed both the pol3-01 cell cycle progression defect and mutator phenotype, indicating that the pol3-01 mutator phenotype was dependent on the S phase damage checkpoint pathway. Epistasis analysis suggested that a portion of the pol3-01 mutator phenotype involves members of the RAD6 epistasis group that function in both error-free and error-prone repair. These results indicate that activation of a checkpoint in response to certain types of replicative defects can result in the accumulation of mutations.