How to Take a Defensive Driving Course in New York
In New York, traffic school can help you avoid losing your license or bring your insurance costs down. The state has a defensive driving program available to help you improve your record. You may be considering enrolling in a New York course in order to accomplish one or the other. However, you may not know the rules and requirements for defensive driving courses in the state. Additionally, there are numerous benefits to completing a course you may not know about. Learn about the courses available, the benefits to completing a course, how to receive credit and more.
Who can attend defensive driving courses in New York?
Defensive driving courses are available to licensed New York drivers who want to improve their record or receive a discount. Unlicensed prospective drivers, however, may not enroll. Additionally, drivers may only receive the point reduction benefit once every 18 months. This is because driving violations and points are calculated based on the past 18 months at a time in New York.
Did you know? Completing a New York defensive driving course does not reinstate a suspended drivers license.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in New York
New York has one main defensive driving course in the form of the Point and Insurance Reduction Program. Any course that is PIRP-approved can count towards a reduction in points and insurance premiums. PIRP can remove four points from a record. Additionally, drivers who complete the driver improvement course can will receive a 10 percent insurance discount for three years. PIRP courses are available both in the classroom and online, in the form of I-PIRP. Driving schools may offer additional courses, however, they may not result in a point reduction or the 10 percent discount.
Classroom vs. Online Defensive Driving School in New York
Drivers can enroll in a defensive driving school online or in a classroom. Classroom courses may offer drivers a more hands-on experience and individualized attention from an instructor. The classroom course is 320 minutes long, and must at least go over driver behavior, defensive driving techniques and traffic laws. However, different providers may include additional material in their courses. Classroom courses do not require an exam. Instead, students must simply sit through the course to receive credit. In addition, students can often receive the certificate at the end of class.
Drivers also have the option to complete a defensive driving course online, such as the one provided by iDriveSafely. The online course does typically involve an exam. In addition, students are required to spend at least 320 minutes completing the course. However, students have more flexibility in completing it as they have 30 days from the day they registered for the course. Students who take courses online must receive their certificate of completion by mail. In New York, email certificates are not valid for an insurance discount.
How to Enroll in a New York Defensive Driving School
To enroll in a classroom based defensive driving class in New York, you should locate a local school. You can do so by contacting the DMV, browsing through your phone book or searching online. After locating a school, contact them or visit them to enroll in a course. You may have to provide your driver’s license number when enrolling to verify your identity the day of the course. You will also have to pay fees to enroll.
Enrolling in defensive driving online is a similar process. First, you should identify an approved course provider like iDriveSafely or New York Safety Council. When registering, you should provide the DMV ID number on your license, your legal name and your date of birth. You will also have to pay fees upon enrolling. However, you can begin taking the course as soon as registration is complete. You can take the course at your own pace, as long as you complete it within 30 days of registration.
Benefits of Completing Defensive Driving School in New York
There are specific benefits to completing a driver safety program in New York as outlined by the state. The following benefits are available:
Reduce Points To Avoid License Suspension
The PIRP program counts as a point reduction class for New York drivers. Drivers who complete this course can get four points removed from their record when calculating penalties. There are important caveats here: the points are not removed from the record. They are removed from the point total when determining whether a driver has earned a penalty, such as a license suspension. Because it is not removed from the record, it is not removed from insurance companies’ records. Therefore, your insurance company may still raise your premiums following a violation.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
New York residents can complete the driver safety course for insurance discounts. Drivers who complete the course are entitled by state law to a 10 percent discount for three years. Drivers may retake the course every three years in order to maintain the discount.
Fulfill a Court Order
In some jurisdictions, you may be court-ordered to complete a DMV traffic school course. This may be as a result of a violation. Completing the course may be offered as an option to take in lieu of additional punishment.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
Whether or not you are required to attend driver improvement school, doing so may improve your driving habits. The course reinforces safe driving techniques and highlights common risky behavior. By completing the course, your own driving habits can improve, reducing your risk of getting into an accident.
New York Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
The driver improvement program, whether online or in person, must go over basic driver safety. A basic course must cover driver attitude and behavior, good techniques for defensive driving and the state driving laws. Course providers may include additional material in their curriculums.
New York Defensive Driving Certificates
After completing a defensive driving course, drivers may receive a certificate affirming that they completed the course. A certificate is not required to receive a point reduction. Instead, the course provider will notify the DMV within 10 weeks that you are eligible for the reduction. On the other hand, you will need the defensive driving certificate if you are interested in an insurance discount. You should receive the certificate within 45 days of completing the course.
After receiving your certificate, present it to your insurance agency. The certificate should be presented to your insurance company within 90 days of completing the course to apply the benefit retroactively to the day you completed the defensive driving course. If you do not receive the certificate within eight weeks, you should contact your program sponsor.
New York Defensive Driving Schools vs. Drivers Education
A DMV defensive driving course is different from a drivers ed course. The former is intended to help rehabilitate licensed drivers. Such courses focus on the consequences of driving under the influence, reckless habits, controlling road rage and similar topics. It is more of a refresher course, reviewing knowledge drivers are expected to already know. However, drivers ed courses are aimed at New Yorkers who do not have a driver’s license. Drivers ed courses educate would-be drivers on the rules of the road, how to safely operate a car and how to navigate with other drivers around. The course is introductory in nature.
New York Defensive Driving Course Fees
Completing defensive driving training in a classroom typically costs around $50. Taking a defensive driving class online can run between $25 and $50 depending on the provider. In addition, some courses may charge you a fee to receive your certificate by mail for insurance purposes. The fee is typically between $10 and $30, depending on what delivery method you choose.
- Reduce Points and Insurance Rates from DMV.NY.gov
- Point & Insurance Reduction Program from DMV.NY.gov
- Online Traffic School in New York from iDriveSafely.com