How to Take a Defensive Driving Course in New Jersey
A defensive driving course in New Jersey is designed to teach you the skills you need to practice safe driving. While these types of traffic school courses are optional and cannot be taken in place of mandatory state classes, they do offer a variety of benefits. These benefits may include point reductions on your license, discounts on your auto insurance and more. Remember to check that your selected course is certified by the state, as non-certified courses do not guarantee any benefits and are not regulated by state requirements.
Most drivers who enroll in defensive driving school are above a certain age. This is because younger drivers on probationary licenses are more suited for a driver’s education program or one of the state remedial driver programs mandated by the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Before you select a course, check with the MVC that it is the right one for you.
Who can attend traffic school in New Jersey?
A defensive driving class is typically reserved for older drivers who want to improve their driving skills and knowledge. In general, it is not meant for younger drivers. The course is optional, meaning drivers are not required to take one. However, many residents choose to enroll in a program because of the associated benefits. You do not need to have points on your record in order to qualify for a class.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in New Jersey
In searching for the lowest price on traffic school, it is important to research the types of schools and courses available. Approved courses are provided either in-person or online. The state approves both defensive driving classes and mature defensive driver classes. To qualify for a mature defensive driver class, you must be 55 years of age or older and a resident of the state.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in New Jersey
A driver improvement course may be completed in-person or online. Therefore, it is important to decide how you want to complete a course before you select one. An in-person class may be appealing to you if you do not have access to a computer or if you want more guidance with the course.
Despite the benefits of an in-person class, completing a defensive driving course online in NJ is often much more appealing to drivers. A driver may complete the course in the comfort of his or her home and at his or her desired pace. An online traffic school course, such as iDriveSafely, offers customer support services seven days a week and guarantee a 5 percent car insurance discount, which typically lasts for three years. State law requires participants to complete the course within 30 days of registration. Otherwise, the course becomes invalid.
How to Enroll in a New Jersey Defensive Driving School
To enroll in an in-person driving safety course, first find a course on the MVC list of approved classroom course providers. This list also supplies the addresses, contact numbers and names of the representatives for each class. The enrollment process for classroom courses may vary, as some allow you to apply online while others require you to apply by phone.
As with an in-person program, you must verify defensive driving online courses by checking the MVC list of approved providers before you enroll. Then, you may visit the website of your chosen provider and register for the class. Most online providers offer quick registration processes and multiple delivery options for your certificate upon completion of the course.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in New Jersey
Many people enroll in traffic school for a speeding ticket or for other offenses that are recorded on their licenses. There are also many other benefits to completing a course in the state, such as:
- Potentially dismissing a traffic ticket.
- Removing points from your driving record.
- Obtaining a car insurance discount.
- Learning safe driving knowledge and skills.
Contact traffic schools online or by phone to learn more about the benefits they offer. You may also ask which benefits are guaranteed and which are not.
Dismiss a Traffic Ticket
If you enroll in speeding ticket class in NJ, you may be able to use this as evidence in court in order to dismiss your ticket. By presenting proof of enrollment or proof of successful completion of the course to the court, the judge trying your case may consider it a positive step in the right direction and be more lenient. However, you may not have the ticket dismissed by completing a driving course if the judge does not rule in your favor and decides to enforce the ticket.
Remove Points from Your Driving Record
You may take driving classes to remove points from your record in New Jersey. While the MVC keeps a permanent record of all the points you earned, a state-certified point reduction class may remove two points from your driving record if you have accumulated at least two. The course will not remove more than two in five years. However, you may take another class in five years to remove another two points. This will help you avoid a surcharge of $150 for six or more points accumulated within three years.
If you accumulate 12 or more points, you may not use a defensive driving course to remediate your situation. Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days unless you participate in the NJ Driver Improvement Program (DIP).
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
According to state laws, you automatically qualify for a driver safety course insurance discount in New Jersey by successfully completing a class. Be sure to check with your insurance provider beforehand to see how much of a discount is offered. Discounts are typically 5 percent, though some companies may offer a discount of 10 percent. Some classes, such as the iDriveSafely online course, guarantee that you will receive a 5 percent discount when you successfully complete the course and notify your provider.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
A NJ driver improvement program benefits its students by reducing the likelihood that they will be involved in accidents in the future. Courses certified by the state must teach standard accident-preventing techniques and other defensive driver methods. This helps to curb aggressive driving behaviors if drivers have developed them, or refresh the skills of older drivers.
New Jersey Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
According to local laws, a driver safety program must be at least six hours long in order to receive the state’s approval. Online classes must require students to take a proficiency examination and answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. The class will cover topics such as:
- How to drive defensively.
- How to avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
- State traffic laws.
- How to compensate for slow reactions, if you are an older driver.
A defensive driving class online in NJ will usually give you three attempts to pass the proficiency test. The number of attempts to pass tests for in-person classes varies. However, most students pass the test on the first try. If you choose to take a course in person, you may take it in the state or in an approved state. For instance, New Jersey approves a program which only offers in-person classes in New York state.
New Jersey Defensive Driving Certificates
A defensive driving certificate is proof that you have completed your defensive driving course. To obtain one, you must pass the proficiency examination with a grade equal to or higher than 80 percent. Some course providers will send you your certificate by mail and may charge a fee. Others will email you a copy of your certificate without an additional charge. Once you receive your certificate, submit it to your insurance provider. Depending on the provider, you may submit the certificate by mail, fax or email.
New Jersey Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
A NJ DMV approved traffic school is very different from driver’s education. Driver’s education is intended for young drivers who are learning important driving skills for the first time. Traffic school, however, is intended for older drivers who need to improve or refresh their driving skills.
Traffic school should not be confused with either DIP or the Probationary Driver Program (PDP). DIP is an in-person course that may substitute a license suspension of 30 days. PDP is a mandatory course for probationary drivers, also known as young drivers, who received two or more moving violations within two years.
New Jersey Defensive Driving Course Fees
A DMV defensive driving course in New Jersey is inexpensive and offers lasting benefits for the price. If you receive an auto insurance discount, the driving course may even pay for itself. Some online courses offer rates as low as $19.95, while others offer rates as high as $47.
Remember that these may not be all-inclusive prices. Check for additional fees that may be tacked on near the end of your purchase in order to avoid surprise fees. For example, come companies may charge a fee to expedite the shipment of your certificate or to give you a video version of the course instead of an audio version.