How to Take a Driver Improvement Course in Michigan
In Michigan, a defensive driving course can help motorists avoid points on their driving records and an increase in insurance premiums. The course is only available for eligible motorists who received a citation following a traffic violation. The Department of State in Michigan will notify motorists via mail with a deadline to complete the course. Although the state does not offer its own training class, motorists may choose a state-approved sponsor to complete the course.
Traffic school courses in Michigan are generally available in person and online. They feature information on traffic laws, safety practices and vehicle maintenance tips as well as a final exam, which serves as a review of course materials. Motorists can complete the course in a few hours but are able to use additional time, if needed. Reviews the sections below for more information on MI defensive driving school.
Who can attend traffic school in Michigan?
Drivers who want to find the lowest price for traffic school in Michigan must first determine if they are eligible for the course. A motorist must first have a valid Michigan non-commercial license and have received a ticket on or after Dec. 3, 2010. Additional requirements include:
- Drivers must have two or fewer points on their driving records.
- The traffic violation is non-criminal.
- The traffic violation was not committed in a commercial motor vehicle.
- The ticket must be for three or fewer points.
The Michigan Secretary of State department will notify all motorists of their eligibility to take the defensive driving class via mail. As such, drivers who are unsure if they qualify will receive confirmation from the state.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Michigan
There is only one type of MI driver improvement course available to motorists who want to reap legal and/or financial benefits. The state does not provide a course of its own. However, there are a few state-approved third parties that offer the course online and in person.
iDriveSafely, for instance, offers the course online and allows motorists to complete it within a day. A driving safety course will cover collision prevention techniques, Michigan traffic laws and vehicle maintenance along with the dangers of drug and alcohol impairment while driving.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Michigan
Taking a Michigan defensive driving course online offers the benefit of convenience. Motorists can complete the course at their own pace and work around their schedules. Students can complete the course within a few hours.
However, some online providers allow motorists to take additional time to review course materials and take the final exam several times until they successfully complete it. Online traffic school providers like iDriveSafely automatically report a student’s successful completion of the course to the Secretary of State office in Michigan, which allows him or her to avoid the hassle of shipping.
Although the classroom-based driving safety course generally covers the same material, motorists who enjoy discussions may benefit more from the in-person class.
How to Enroll in a Michigan Defensive Driving School
Enrolling for DMV traffic school in Michigan is typically a quick process but it varies by provider. Some providers require registrations over the phone while others offer a simple online registration page. Motorists must generally have the following information on hand to register:
- Payment information
- Address, if requesting the mailing option for the defensive driving certificate of completion
Drivers must also remember that they have a 60-day deadline to complete the defensive driving course from the date of the citation. As such, they must avoid waiting until the last minute to register for the course and risk having points added to their record.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Michigan
Completing traffic school for a speeding ticket in Michigan can be an effective way to prevent points being added to your driving record. Beyond this, there are many advantages to completing a defensive driving course including:
- Preventing insurance companies from obtaining information on a traffic violation.
- Fulfilling a court order.
- Learning new defensive driving techniques.
Avoid Points on Your Driving Record
While you cannot take driving classes to remove points from your record, you may take them to prevent additional points from being added. Motorists who successfully complete the course within 60 days of the citation date can prevent new points from being added to their record due to the traffic violation.
Motorists with too many points on their record can face a license suspension. In addition to the removal of driving privileges, motorists with a suspended license will also have to pay reinstatement fees.
Avoid Increases on Your Auto Insurance Premiums
Completing a defensive driving course in Michigan can keep drivers from paying more for insurance. Insurance companies evaluate a series of factors when determining how much a motorist will pay in premiums, including their driving record. Motorists with several points on their record display high risk driving behavior and thus, cost more to insure.
Policyholders may face higher premiums during the following policy term if the insurer is aware of new points on their driving records. With this in mind, Michigan residents can benefit from traffic school to keep points as low as possible.
Fulfill a Court Order
Drivers who have committed a major traffic violation must complete a driver improvement program to maintain driving privileges. The Department of Secretary of State in Michigan will notify eligible motorists and set a 60-day limit to complete the course. Motorists can avoid a license suspension by successfully passing a course, which can be completed in just a few hours.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
Aside from the monetary and legal benefits of completing the course, motorists can learn a lot of valuable information after completing an MI defensive driving course. Most drivers obtain a driver’s license at a young age and may forget some important driving techniques.
The course can help motorists identify dangerous driving habits and discover safe practices. The course typically also covers what to do in the case of an emergency while driving, knowledge many motorists do not have.
Michigan Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
State-approved third parties do not follow a specific curriculum for defensive driving classes in Michigan. However, they typically cover the same content including the following:
- Defining defensive driving.
- The conditions that can affect a motorist while driving.
- The dangers of driving while impaired, distracted or fatigued.
- Strategies to avoid a collision.
Most traffic school providers will include quizzes in each course section that reviews the previous material. Students must also complete a final exam and obtain a minimum score to pass the course.
Michigan Defensive Driving Certificates
A defensive driving certificate in Michigan serves as proof that you have successfully completed the course. Upon completion of the course, you are not required to obtain a copy of their certificate. The state-approved sponsor will automatically notify the Michigan Department of State. However, you may keep a copy for your records.
Michigan Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
Traffic school in Michigan serves as a refresher course for motorists who have committed a traffic violation. The courses usually include chapters on state traffic laws and defensive driving tips. It is designed for motorists who have been driving for a long time and may need to brush up on some skills. In contrast, driver’s education is a course that new drivers take to learn the rules of the road.
The course typically lasts longer and includes a behind-the-wheel portion. While both courses involve drivers, the required level of experience is vastly different for each.
Michigan Defensive Driving Course Fees
The Secretary of State office in Michigan does not offer its own DMV defensive driving course. As such, there is no set price for the course. However, Michigan law mandates that third parties cannot charge more than $100 for traffic school courses. Websites like iDriveSafely only charge up to $40 for the course, with add-on features such as an audio read-along feature and printed certificates available at an additional cost.
- Traffic school eligibility from Michigan.gov
- Traffic school curriculum from iDriveSafely.com