How to Take a Driver Improvement Course in Virginia
A defensive driving course in Virginia, commonly referred to as a driver improvement clinic, is the best way to keep your insurance premiums low and driving record clean. While you can complete a course to fulfill a requirement from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a local/state court, you can also complete a course to earn reduce the points you have accumulated on your record and potentially lower your auto insurance premiums.
Depending on your preference, you may complete a defensive driving course online or in person. These programs are available at several physical establishments, commonly referred to as clinics, in different parts of the state. If you choose a course online, you must check in with your court to see if it accepts certificates of completion issued by online driving school courses.
In defensive driving school, you will learn all of the required traffic laws and regulations, as well as valuable defensive driving tips that will help you become an alert driver to avoid hazards and prevent crashes. Read the following sections to learn more about the different benefits available and how to obtain them.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Virginia
There are several benefits to completing a defensive driving course in Virginia, including:
- Receiving safe driving points.
- Removing points from your driving record.
- Fulfilling a court order or DMV requirement.
- Dismissing a traffic ticket.
- Reducing fines and court fees.
- Obtaining an auto insurance discount.
- Learning safe driving knowledge and skills.
Receive Safe Driving Points and Remove Demerit Points
In Virginia, traffic school can be completed to earn a maximum of five safe driving points. These points can remove previous demerit points that negatively affect your driving record and can be used as a cushion against future traffic violations.
If you receive three demerit points and have five safe driving points, you will end up with two safe driving points on your record. To be rewarded as a safe driver, voluntarily complete a course that offers safe driver credit, such as those provided on iDriveSafely.
Fulfill a Court Order or DMV Requirement
You may be required, by the court or DMV, to complete a defensive driving class in Virginia. If you are involved in a serious traffic violation, this can save you from having to complete jail time and miss work. While courts typically do not mandate a driver improvement clinic for minor infractions, you may request permission to complete a course at your hearing.
Dismiss a Traffic Ticket
Most drivers wonder if they can complete traffic school for a speeding ticket in Virginia. If you receive a traffic ticket in Virginia, you can typically dismiss it and avoid points being added on your driving record. Simply check with your local court to see if they will credit you for a course. In most cases, the violation must be minor and cannot involve driving a commercial vehicle.
Reduce Fines and Court Fees
In addition to point removal, you may also reduce any fines or court fees resulting from a traffic violation if you receive permission from your court. This is dependent on the severity of your violation and whether you have taken a driver improvement course in the past two years.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
Are you looking for an insurance reduction course in Virginia? In some cases, you may attend a driver improvement clinic to receive a lower auto insurance premium. Find out if your auto insurer offers this discount before enrolling in a course.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
Regardless of your driving history, a defensive driving class in Virginia can enhance your driving skills and help you become a better driver. You will learn valuable defensive driving tips and etiquette to help you prevent accidents and avoid aggressive driving situations.
Who can attend traffic school in Virginia?
All drivers are eligible to enroll in Virginia traffic school whether they are ordered by court, the DMV or voluntarily choose to attend. However, most students complete defensive driving school as a requirement. While all drivers can enroll in a course, this does not mean all drivers will be eligible to receive certain benefits. Those mandated by law must present a document of approval from their court before safe driving points can be awarded to offset demerit points. Unfortunately, there may be instances where a driver is required to attend a defensive driving class but is not eligible to receive DMV points.
A driver must also receive permission from a court or Virginia DMV to dismiss a traffic ticket or reduce fees. Those who are interested in an auto insurance discount can attend a defensive driving course if they receive approval from their insurance company. However, motorists cannot receive safe driving points if they take a course to reduce their premiums. Similarly, a driver cannot receive an insurance premium reduction if a court assigns him or her to complete a clinic. As for safe driving points, a driver will only be eligible to take a course once every two years to receive the maximum five points.
Depending on your court, you may or may not be eligible for traffic school in Virginia if you have an outstanding violation on your record or your license has been suspended or revoked. If you are unclear as to whether you qualify for a course, contact your court to find out specific information regarding your case.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Virginia
If you are looking to enroll in a defensive driving course in Virginia, there are several programs to choose from. To fulfill state requirements, these courses consist of eight-hour sessions that can either be completed in a classroom or online. Depending on the violation, a court or the DMV may require you to take a specialized course.
For example, you may be required to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program if you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Check with your court and the DMV to find out what driver improvement course you must take and whether you are eligible to complete the course online.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Virginia
There are many advantages and disadvantages to completing VA traffic school online and in person. Before deciding on a course, you should evaluate which option is ideal for you. If you learn well through social interaction and asking questions, an in-classroom driver safety program might be best suited for you.
On the other hand, it may be more convenient for you to learn defensive driving online if you have a busy schedule that conflicts with classroom times. By enrolling in an online class, such as the iDriveSafely program, you can work at your own pace, anywhere you want, as long as there is an internet connection. Keep in mind that you must obtain approval from the court to complete traffic school online. Additionally, you will not be eligible to complete a computer-based course if you are under 20 years of age.
How to Enroll in a Virginia Defensive Driving School
Before enrolling in a Virginia defensive driving course, contact your court, local DMV or insurance provider to request permission to attend traffic school for your desired reason. You will need an approval to take a course to reduce fines and court fees from a violation or remove points from your license. If you are required by the court to complete a course, you must satisfactorily complete it and take a final exam within 90 days.
You will not have any court or DMV deadline to meet if you are voluntarily completing a course. Your court may have a list of recommended clinics that offer either in-classroom instruction or instruction online.
If you would like to complete a defensive driving class in person, there are driver improvement clinics located in every city throughout the state. You can find your nearest location by using the clinic search feature available on the DMV website. If your court accepts online traffic school, research third-party programs that are Virginia court and DMV-approved, such as iDriveSafely.
As the best online traffic school, this program offers full money-back guaranteed, will notify the DMV of your course completion and will deliver your certificate of completion directly to your home. When signing up for a driver safety program, let the provider know your reason for attending the program. You will most likely need to provide a government-issued photo ID. If you are mandated to complete a course and plan to receive safe driving points, you must present a document of court approval to the clinic.
Virginia Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
In a driver improvement clinic, commonly referred to as a defensive driving course, you will learn everything you need to know on how to be a safer, more responsible driver. Whether you choose a computer-based or in-person program, most courses cover the Virginia traffic law, crash prevention, the dangers of impaired driving and defensive driving techniques. More specifically, you will learn all of the answers needed to pass the final exam and prove you have developed the knowledge and skills to avoid and prevent crashes.
Virginia Defensive Driving Certificates
Upon graduation, you will need to submit a defensive driving certificate in Virginia as proof of completion to your municipal court or auto insurance provider. If you are mandated by law to complete a course, you will have 90 days to submit this certificate to the court requesting it. Depending on your court’s submission procedures, you may have to submit this certificate by mail or in-person.
Virginia Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
Residents often confuse driver’s education with traffic school in Virginia. However, each course serves a different purpose. Driver’s education is intended to teach new, inexperience drivers the basics to safe driving. While all drivers can enroll in a course, teen drivers are required to complete driver’s education to apply for their learner’s permit and driver’s license.
On the other hand, a driver must already have a valid driver’s license to complete a defensive driving class. Traffic school in Virginia serves to educate current license holders on defensive driving techniques so that they can become better drivers and avoid accidents. Much like driver’s education, a driver can voluntarily complete a course to obtain an auto insurance discount and safe driving points. However, these courses are generally aimed at negligent drivers with poor driving records.
Virginia Defensive Driving Course Fees
While course fees vary by school, a standard eight-hour defensive driving course will cost you no more than $100. Due to the interactive environment provided, classroom courses typically cost between $60 and $80. In particular, iDriveSafely offers a self-paced course with a full money-back guarantee.
- Driver Improvement Clinics from Virginia.gov
- Reasons for Attending a Driver Improvement Course from Virginia.gov