A defensive driving course can provide a number of benefits depending on the state that you live in. Numerous state programs provide drivers with the opportunity to dismiss a ticket, avoid points on driving records following a citation and reduce the amount of points on a driving record by completing an authorized course. Traffic school can help drivers to save money by reducing points on a driving record or preventing them from appearing on a record in the first place. In some cases, a course can also be mandated for a court order in order to avoid the suspension of a drivers license.

By learning more about the defensive driving school programs, including the different types of courses that may be available to you, the curriculum and the costs that you can expect. To learn more about traffic school in your state, visit your state-specific page below:

Select a state to begin:
Select a state to begin:

Who can attend traffic school?

A defensive driving class is generally open to any driver. However, state regulations may restrict the age group of drivers permitted to attend courses as well as require drivers to meet certain requirements. In some cases, drivers may also be required to complete a course after receiving too many citations or to avoid the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.

A driver improvement course is also often offered as part of an insurance program. While these programs will not reduce points on your driving record or help you to avoid a ticket, these programs can help you lower your insurance premiums. In most cases, anyone can take these types of courses, if an insurer supports this program.

Types of Defensive Driving Courses

A driver improvement course can be presented in several forms, depending on the state that you live in. Some states have four-hour courses while others choose to include eight hours’ worth of coursework. There are a number of states that allow drivers to complete in-person or online coursework, while others may restrict the method in which a course can be completed.

In some cases, a driving safety course may also be centered on certain age groups. A variety of states include courses that are specific to the elderly or to the youth.

Classroom vs. Online Traffic School

DMV traffic school is often offered in a classroom setting or through an online course and some states will allow you to choose the type of course that you wish to attend. Therefore, it is important to review the differences between these types of courses, including:

  • An online course can provide a greater sense of convenience.
  • An online course is generally completed at your own pace.
  • The coursework of a classroom course is provided by an instructor.
  • In a classroom course, you will likely have the ability to ask more questions, should you need to.
  • Prices may differ between classroom and online courses.
  • Some insurers do not accept online courses, if you are considering auto insurance discounts.

How to Enroll in a Defensive Driving School

A driver improvement program can generally be enrolled in online or by phone, however, some states may require you to visit a location in person in order to complete your enrollment. When enrolling in a course, it is important to review the list of documents or materials that you will need to bring with you to the course. In some cases, you may be required to present documents such as DMV approval letters or court orders while other states may only require you to bring materials such as a notebook and a pencil.

Benefits of Completing Traffic School

Depending on the state, traffic school can present numerous benefits, including benefits such as:

  • The dismissal of a traffic ticket.
  • The prevention of a ticket from appearing on a driving record.
  • The avoidance of points on a driving record.
  • The removal of points on a driving record.
  • The avoidance of increases to insurance premiums.
  • Obtaining car insurance discounts.
  • Fulfilling a court order.
  • Reinstating a drivers license.
  • The development and honing of safe driving knowledge and skills.

Dismiss a Traffic Ticket

Through traffic school, some states will allow the complete dismissal of a traffic citation after coursework has been successfully completed. In cases such as these, you would not even be required to pay for the fine of the ticket, which can often outweigh the cost of the improvement course.

Prevent a Ticket From Showing on Your Driving Record

Depending on the state, your driver safety program may allow you to prevent a ticket from appearing on your driving record, even if you still have to pay the fine for the citation. This can provide you with numerous benefits as you can avoid the potential increase to your car insurance premiums, but also avoid a potential or current employer reviewing the conviction on your driving record through a background check or driving record check.

Avoid Points on Your Driving Record

A defensive driving course can help you to avoid the accumulation of points on your driving record. A number of states that keep records on state drivers will suspend drivers licenses once a certain amount of points have been reached. By avoiding demerit points on your record, you can potentially avoid a suspension, depending on the number of points that you already have. Additional points on your record may also negatively affect your insurance premiums.

Remove Points From Your Driving Record

Driving classes to remove points from a record are common in a number of states. By removing points from your record, you will be less likely to accrue enough points for a license suspension and you may be able to lower your insurance premiums.

Avoid Increases on Your Auto Insurance Premiums

The completion of defensive driving school may prompt your insurer to not increase your insurance rates following an accident or a traffic ticket. As stated previously, you can also avoid insurance premiums if the completion of the program will promote your state’s DMV to prevent a ticket from appearing on your driving record or waive the ticket entirely.

Obtain a Car Insurance Discount

A driver safety course for an insurance discount is common among another insurers and is not always impacted by state programs that are offered. A variety of insurance agencies will offer discounts to drivers that have completed this course. Generally, discounts are applied for multiple years, which can help a driver save money over time.

Fulfill a Court Order

In some cases, traffic school may be required due to a court order. Should this happen, it is imperative that you complete the course within the timeframe that you are allotted in order to avoid further penalties. Court orders are generally only given in extreme cases, such as after a driver has accumulated a large number of points or after more serious convictions, such as driving under the influence.

Reinstate a Drivers License

Some states require a defensive driving course to be completed before the state will agree to reinstate a suspended drivers license. While some states require this on a general basis, others may limit the reinstatement requirement to drivers who have been suspended several times or were suspended for a serious conviction.

Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills

A DMV defensive driving course can help you to sharpen your safe driving skills and review driving knowledge, including new driving laws that you may not be aware of in your state. Therefore, this course is great for people of all ages, even if you are not required to complete it by the state. By learning safe driving knowledge and skills, you can reduce your likelihood or getting into an accident as well as reduce the likelihood of receiving a traffic citation.

Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details

A defensive driving school course is generally, though not always, four to eight hours in course length. Should you choose to take a course in a classroom style setting, it is worth knowing that coursework is generally split up between two or three days. Coursework can vary by state, but will generally include information such as:

  • Basic defensive driving techniques and skills.
  • Federal, state and local traffic laws.
  • Traffic crash statistics.
  • The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The risk of driving while tired or angry.
  • Knowledge of vehicle safety equipment, such as seat belts, head rests and airbags.

In many cases, you must complete a knowledge exam based upon the information that you have learned at the end of the course in order to successfully pass the course.

Defensive Driving Certificates

A defensive driving certificate is often provided at the end of the coursework in order to provide you with proof of completion. Depending on your state or insurer requirements, you may be required to provide this proof of completion to your DMV, local court or to your insurance agency.

Traffic School Versus Drivers Education

Traffic school is not drivers education. A defensive driving course is a course that is designed to be taken later in life or after you have obtained some driving experience while a drivers education course is designed to teach new drivers how to drive and help drivers meet state requirements for obtaining a license for the first time. The curriculum for each type of class is very different as drivers education is not meant to serve as a refresher.

Defensive Driving Course Fees

A defensive driving course, in almost all cases, must be paid by the attendee in full prior to the start date for the class. However, these fees can vary widely from one state to another as well as from online and classroom type settings.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 14 2020.