How to Take a Driver Improvement Course in Florida
Completing a defensive driving course in Florida serves as a useful refresher course of state traffic laws. Motorists may also reduce the cost of their auto insurance premiums following the successful completion of the course. Traffic school is separated into two main categories: driver improvement courses and the mature driver discount course. While motorists must take the first option following traffic law violations, the last option is voluntary and catered to seniors. While the state of Florida does not offer its own course, it does have a list of approved third parties who do.
The FL defensive driving school course typically last between four to 12 hours, which helps motorists identify and correct their bad driving habits. The benefits of completing traffic school also include preventing points from being added to your license following major traffic violations, such as reckless driving and speeding. For more information on how to find the lowest price for traffic school, review the sections below.
Who can attend traffic school in Florida?
There are only a few categories of motorists who can take a defensive driving class in Florida to gain legal or financial benefits from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or insurance providers. Traffic school does not lead to a point removal or reduction of existing points on your license.
However, it can help you avoid additional points on your driving record. Motorists who can attend traffic school are:
- Drivers who have committed three traffic offenses that caused a car accident within three years.
- Drivers who are 55 years of age and older.
- Drivers with non-criminal moving violations.
- Drivers with court orders to attend traffic school.
- Drivers with suspended licenses.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Florida
In Florida, there are several types of defensive driving classes in Florida that motorists can take. Each has a different set of requirements and curriculum.
- The Basic Driver Improvement course (BDI) is a four- to eight-hour refresher class on traffic laws in Florida. The course covers topics that include highway safety, vehicle maintenance and impaired driving. Non-commercial drivers and those with a non-criminal moving violation may elect to take the course to prevent points being added on their records. Drivers involved in two accidents that cause property damage of over $500 within a two-year period must take this course to maintain their driving privileges.
- The Advanced Driver Improvement course (ADI) is a 12-hour class that habitual traffic offenders must take following a license suspension or due to a court order. The course features eight chapters on topics that include driving emergencies, highway safety and Florida traffic laws.
- The Mature Driver Discount course caters to motorists who are 55 years of age or older and want to obtain a discount on their insurance premiums.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Florida
There are a few key differences between taking a defensive driving course online versus in a classroom. The biggest benefit of taking a course online is the convenience. You are able to go at your own pace and set your own schedule. This flexibility is helpful for most motorists who have obligations that prevent them from taking a class in person. State-approved websites with online traffic school courses, like iDriveSafely, offer basic and advanced driver improvement courses. Students can access the courses directly through the website and complete them in just a few hours.
A classroom-based driving safety course, on the other hand, offers a different experience. Motorists who prefer hands-on learning can benefit from an in-person defensive driving course. However, students must adhere to the schedule set by the available providers.
How to Enroll in a Florida Defensive Driving School
Several companies offer online-only courses, making the registration for defensive driving online easy and simple. Motorists can enroll in the course by completing a few simple steps:
- Notify the court within 30 days of receiving the citation that you elect to take the driver improvement program course, if applicable.
- Select the type of course you want to enroll in:
- Basic driver
- Advanced driver
- Mature driver
- Register for the course by providing personal information including your full name and address. Companies typically request the latter to mail the certificate of completion after the course.
- Pay the appropriate fee to complete the enrollment process and gain access to course materials.
To register for an FL driver improvement course in person, the process requires motorists to select the time and date of attendance based on the available options. As for websites offering DVDs and booklets, motorists must typically select this option on the provider’s website, and will gain access to the course once the payment is complete.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Florida
Taking FL traffic school for a speeding ticket can help prevent you from getting points on your record and is one of the many benefits of the course. While the motorist will still have to pay the citation for the traffic violation, there will be no points added to your license. Other benefits include:
- Reinstating your driver’s license.
- Avoiding an increase on car insurance premiums.
- Receiving a discount on car insurance premiums.
- Fulfilling a court order.
- Discovering the best practices while driving.
Avoid Points on Your Driving Record
When a driver commits a moving traffic violation, such as speeding, he or she can elect to take a defensive driving course in Florida. After the successful completion of the course, the motorist will avoid having points added to his or her driving record. Once motorists reach a certain number of points on their records or commit several violations within a certain time frame, this can lead to a driver’s license suspension. In addition to the suspended driving privileges, it also costs money to reinstate a driver’s license. State-approved websites, like iDriveSafely, allow motorists to avoid a point accumulation on their record after completing the course. However, motorists must remember to notify their court within 30 days of receiving the violation that they will complete the course.
Avoid Increases on Your Auto Insurance Premiums
Auto insurance companies determine premiums based on several factors, including the motorist’s driving record. When motorists have a high number of points on their records, it suggests that they have a higher likelihood of being involved in an accident. As such, these motorists tend to pay more for insurance. Taking a defensive driving course in Florida will prevent the addition of more points on the motorist’s driving record, which can save him or her money in the long run.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
Drivers who are over 55 years of age can benefit from the driver safety course insurance discount. Insurers must provide the discount for three years following the completion of the course unless the motorist is involved in an at-fault accident and/or convicted of a moving traffic violation.
Fulfill a Court Order
Motorists with a traffic offense conviction, such as reckless driving and racing on a highway, must complete FL traffic school. The court will give the motorist 90 days from the date of the citation to complete the course and provide proof of completion. Failure to submit proof within this time will result in a loss of driving privileges until the motorist meets this requirement.
Reinstate a Driver’s License
You must complete the advanced driver improvement course if you have a suspended license due to too many points on your driving record. The courses take up to 12 hours to complete and allow you to gain the knowledge you need to reinstate your license.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
One of the most understated benefits of traffic school is the ability to learn new driving skills and tips. Many motorists obtain their initial driver’s licenses as young adults and may have forgotten some key tips that can drastically improve their driving experiences. The courses not only serve as a refresher on state traffic laws but also discuss how to maintain a vehicle and what to do during emergencies on the road.
Florida Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
Typically, the Florida driver improvement courses are divided into several chapters, each one focusing on a specific topic. These includes the following:
- How drugs and alcohol impair a motorist’s driving ability
- Ways to stay safe on public highways
- What to do during an emergency
Each traffic school chapter typically includes a quiz that reviews pertinent information from that chapter. Students must obtain a certain score to move on to the next section. With websites like iDriveSafely, there is no limit on how many times students can take the quizzes. In addition, students may receive feedback on their answers from the quizzes. Moreover, students must complete a final exam to successfully complete the course. It may feature multiple-choice questions and/or essay questions. Students must obtain a minimum score to pass the course.
Florida Defensive Driving Certificates
A defensive driving certificate in Florida serves as proof that a motorist has successfully completed traffic school. To obtain one, motorists must typically pass a test after learning all course materials. Drivers have two options to receive the certificate: online or via mail. The third party may send the certificate by mail a few days after the completion of the course.
Some providers also offer expedited shipping services if the motorist must submit proof of completion by a certain date. Obtaining the certificate online is more convenient, as motorists can obtain it immediately and print it at home.
Florida Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
Motorists who have been driving for a long time take traffic school in Florida as a refresher course. It may be a requirement to reinstate driving privileges or fulfill a court order after a traffic violation. It can help motorists correct some poor driving habits to drive more safely in the future.
Driver’s education, on the other hand, refers to a course motorists typically take as first-time drivers. It teaches motorists the traffic laws in Florida, provides some insight on common dangers on the road and best practices while operating a vehicle.
Florida Defensive Driving Course Fees
Florida traffic school courses can range greatly in price based on the type of course and the method of completion. If you are looking for the lowest price traffic school, you may opt for an online course, which generally costs $20 to $70. In many cases, this fee is non-refundable.
However, some companies like iDriveSafely have a money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers. Motorists can also expect to pay a shipping fee to receive the certificate of completion in person. The cost can go up to $50 for expedited shipping services.