How to Take a Defensive Driving Course in Tennessee
To dismiss a citation, certain residents may be able to attend traffic school in Tennessee. TN offers a state-wide driver improvement program for motorists who wish to dismiss a traffic ticket for a minor moving violation. While the state allows residents to participate in defensive driving courses, certain counties may have additional qualifications that drivers must satisfy. For example, many counties suggest a particular driving school for motorists to attend, whereas other counties allow drivers to enroll in a state-approved online course.
When motorists are granted permission to attend a defensive driving class, they are typically required to take a four-hour course. Unlike drivers education programs, residents will not receive behind-the-wheel instruction. Instead, they will review Tennessee driving rules and other information that will help them be safer drivers. Furthermore, motorists will be expected to submit a defensive driving certificate of completion to their county court before they can receive any benefits from the class.
Who can attend traffic school in Tennessee?
Drivers are permitted to attend traffic school in Tennessee under certain circumstances. In general, driver improvement courses are only available to those who have received a ticket for a moving violation. Moreover, residents who are at risk of license suspension due to the accumulation of driving points may also be given the opportunity to take a defensive driving class. On the other hand, not all motorists are granted permission to take a defensive driving course in TN.
While drivers may be granted the opportunity to enroll in a driving safety course in Tennessee, certain county courts have different requirements for them to fulfill. For instance, in Knox County, motorists may be eligible to undergo a traffic school program if they:
- Have not taken any other safe driving classes in the past 12 months.
- Do not hold a commercial drivers license.
- Were not charged for speeding at 90 mph or more.
- Do not have any other violations on their driving record from the last three years.
- Were not charged for a violation that requires them to appear in court.
It is important to note that there are certain differences in driver improvement school eligibility requirements among counties. For example, drivers in Montgomery County may be permitted to complete a defensive driving class if they were cited for a moving violation and:
- Were not cited for speeding in a school or construction zone.
- Have not attended a traffic school in any other TN jurisdiction in the past two years.
- Do not hold a CDL.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Tennessee
The length of defensive driving courses in Tennessee depends on the severity of the violation received by a motorist. In general, classes are either four or eight hours long. All county courts offer at least one school that provides in-classroom instruction. Moreover, certain counties, such as Davidson County, allow first-time offenders to take a defensive driving class online or in person. Therefore, motorists should consult with their county court before registering for classes.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Tennessee
Residents are able to either register for an in-person or an online traffic school in TN, depending on what their county permits. There are many state-approved and suggested defensive driving schools that provide in-person, classroom instruction. Some of the benefits of an in-person course include:
- Interaction with peers
- Access to an instructor to ask questions
- Guided learning
However, some residents prefer to complete a defensive driving course online. With an online class, drivers can progress at their own pace, work at any time of the day and avoid distractions from peers. One such online driver safety program that is approved by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is iDriveSafely. Among other benefits, this convenient online course offers unlimited quiz and test retakes, which are beneficial for drivers to gauge their knowledge and practice their skills.
How to Enroll in a Tennessee Defensive Driving School
It is important to determine which TN defensive driving school is approved by a driver’s county before registering for a course. For instance, only one school is approved by Montgomery County, but several institutions have been approved in Knox County. In any case, motorists must first receive permission from their county court in order to be able to participate.
While the court may recommend a particular school, certain courts may allow residents to enroll in a variety of online courses. As an example, motorists can request to undergo a program from iDriveSafely, which is approved in several counties.
After obtaining the approval from your county court, motorists can go online, pay the registration fee and follow the instructions to begin a defensive driving course. However, those who are only permitted to register at a certain school must follow the registration instructions provided by the court.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Tennessee
There are numerous benefits related to attending traffic school in Tennessee. While many drivers are not required to participate, those who are considering it may benefit from the following:
- Ticket dismissal
- Reduce auto insurance premiums
- Fulfill a court order
- Learn safe driving habits and skills
Dismiss a Traffic Ticket
Qualifying motorists can get their citation dismissed for participating in defensive driving training. County clerks typically grant certain drivers this option as long as they request it. Overall, this is the most common reason that residents complete a driver safety program. Furthermore, a ticket dismissal can mean avoiding points and a citation from showing up on a driving record.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
One benefit of completing a traffic school program is the driver safety course insurance discount. However, this discount is only available for Tennessee motorists who are 55 years of age and older. In this case, residents can conveniently complete an online traffic school program from iDriveSafely.
On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that different car insurers have slightly different eligibility requirements. Therefore, drivers should consult with an agent before registering for any classes.
Fulfill a Court Order
Some motorists may be mandated by their court to participate in a driver safety program. This might be the case for those who received a violation for driving under the influence or who want to reinstate a suspended license. Generally, motorists request to take such a class. After receiving approval, drivers must follow the instructions provided by their county court.
These typically include completing the defensive driving class within a specified period of time and submitting proof of completion. Fulfilling a court order through traffic school is important as it can prevent residents from losing their driving privileges.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
Taking a driving safety course may help motorists refresh their skills and knowledge. Over time, residents can develop unsafe driving habits or forget certain traffic regulations. A driver improvement program can correct the negative driving habits of motorists, teach them about the importance of defensive driving and provide strategies to reduce the possibility of an accident.
Tennessee Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
A TN defensive driving class covers several topics related to safe driving. While exact instructions may differ depending on each provider, many classes provide similar instruction, including information on:
- Impaired driving
- Safe driving habits
- Driving under different weather conditions
- State driving laws
In addition, most driver improvement programs require motorists to pass a final exam that is based on the course information that was provided over time. Furthermore, certain courses also entail quizzes. In any case, the majority of programs have classes that last either four or eight hours, depending on the court order.
Tennessee Defensive Driving Certificates
Motorists must submit a TN defensive driving certificate of completion to their municipal court in order to receive driver improvement school benefits. Depending on each court’s specific requirements, motorists may be able to submit their certificate by mail, in person or online.
As an example, in Davidson County, residents must mail in a notarized copy of their certificate. This document is provided by a driver improvement school after a motorist passes the final exam of the course. Depending on the provider, drivers may receive their physical or digital certificates.
Tennessee Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
Traffic school in Tennessee differs from drivers education courses. Overall, driver improvement school focuses on improving safe driving behaviors. Motorists may be required or given the option to take such courses to dismiss a ticket, remove points from a driving record or reduce their insurance rate.
Unlike a defensive driving course, the goal of drivers ed is to teach new and inexperienced motorists about state driving laws, as well as how to operate a vehicle. Typically, students in driver’s education courses also receive behind-the-wheel instruction, while those in a driver improvement program do not.
Tennessee Defensive Driving Course Fees
The cost of a Tennessee defensive driving course can vary depending on the provider and the types of courses that are offered. As an example, four-hour courses can range from $30 to $45, while eight-hour courses may cost between $50 and $80. In certain counties, drivers have the option to choose from various driver improvement schools.
Thus, these motorists are able to choose a program that is offered at a lower price. On the other hand, it is important to note that other counties may only allow residents to enroll in one particular traffic school institution.
- Driver Improvement from TN.gov