How to Take a Defensive Driver Course in Wisconsin
Wisconsin drivers have multiple defensive driving course options available for insurance or point benefits. The state’s traffic school program is aimed at all drivers looking to improve their records. Other courses are available to drivers with a history of DWIs or a right of way violation.
The courses are designed to improve driver performance, reduce the risk of crash and help improve driver records. The sections below describe what courses are available in Wisconsin, how to register, the potential benefits, fees and more.
Who can attend traffic school in Wisconsin?
There are multiple kinds of traffic school courses available in Wisconsin and approved by the state. Who is eligible to take them depends on a driver’s background. One kind of course is available to all licensed drivers.
However, two other courses are reserved for drivers convicted of driving under the influence of substances. Another is available to drivers who have been convicted of a right of way violation. No traffic school course, however, is appropriate for unlicensed potential drivers.
Types of Traffic School Courses in Wisconsin
There are three kinds of defensive driving courses available in Wisconsin, each with a different purpose. Taking the first course can result in a three point reduction on one’s license. Additionally, drivers can end license suspensions by completing a course. The available courses are as follows:
- Traffic Safety School – This traffic school course is available to all drivers. The course goes over basic safety tips for defensive driving.
- Group Dynamics – This program is for drivers convicted of operating while intoxicated the first time. It requires a court recommendation.
- Multiple Offender Program – This program is for drivers who have been convicted of multiple charges of operating while intoxicated. It also requires a court recommendation.
- Failure to Yield – This traffic school course is for drivers who have been convicted of a failure to yield or another right of way violation. Drivers ordered to take this course must do so to avoid losing their drivers licenses.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, you may have the option of taking a driver improvement course in a classroom or through online traffic school. Both options enable you to qualify for the three-point reduction on your record. A classroom-based course may provide an opportunity for hands-on instruction. Additionally, it may include more one on one time with an instructor. However, it tends to cost more than online courses due to the resources required.
Additionally, drivers who enroll in a classroom course must attend at a particular time and date. If they miss the lesson, they may not be eligible for a refund. Some traffic schools will not issue full refunds unless a driver cancels their registration several days in advance. Additionally, some schools require students to register in person.
On the other hand, taking a defensive driving class online typically offers more flexibility. Drivers can register online and complete the course at their own pace, rather than at a designated time and place. They can review subjects as needed, including going over difficult sections. Online providers, like iDriveSafely, tend to be cheaper than classroom providers.
However, drivers who take an online course may need to pay additional fees to receive the certificate. Drivers should confirm whether or not they need the certificate before enrolling – in some jurisdictions it is needed, and in others, it is not.
How to Enroll in a Wisconsin Traffic School
The process for enrolling in a defensive driving class depends on the particular course provider selected. For example, some classroom providers allow you to register online, while others require you to register in person.
For online classes, you can almost always register online. For classroom courses, you may be required to submit or display photo ID to prove your identity the day of the course. You typically have to provide payment upon registration.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Wisconsin
Completing a traffic school course in Wisconsin can come with numerous benefits, including:
Avoid Points On Your Driving Record
By completing a point reduction class after receiving a ticket, you can have up to three points waived from that ticket. The ticket may still appear on your license, but it will be amended so the points will not be added. Not all schools can modify a ticket. Look for providers like iDriveSafely that are court-approved to do so.
Remove Points From Your Driving Record
After completing a driving safety course, you are eligible to remove up to three points from your driving record. You may have to confirm with your court first that you are eligible before enrolling.
Avoid Increases On Your Auto Insurance Premiums
Completing a DMV traffic school course can prevent your auto insurance premiums from rising. If you get violations on your record, your auto insurance company may take them into consideration and raise your premiums. Knocking points off before your insurance company recalculates your rate can prevent or minimize the effect.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
Many insurance companies will offer drivers that complete a driver safety course an insurance discount on their premiums. Drivers interested in obtaining a discount should first reach out to their insurance company to confirm that the discount is available. Drivers should also confirm whether a particular course meets the discount requirements.
Fulfill a Court Order
You may be court-ordered to complete a driving safety course. For example, if you incur a right of way violation you are typically required to take the course to avoid having your license suspended.
Avoid a Drivers License Suspension
Completing a driver improvement program can reduce your risk of having your license suspended. This is because your license is automatically suspended after it reaches a certain threshold. If you have a high number of points, bringing in down reduces your risk.
Reinstate a Drivers License
If your license is suspended because you have accumulated too many points, taking a driving safety course can help you reinstate your license. This is only true if you have 12, 13 or 14 points. By completing the course, your point total will be brought back down to an acceptable number.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
Completing a driver safety program can benefit you even if you do not have points or need an insurance discount. By completing the course, you can reinforce good driving habits and the rules of the road. Completing the course can reduce your overall risk of getting into a crash that causes damage or injury.
Wisconsin Traffic School Curriculum Details
The curriculum for a Wisconsin DMV traffic school course depends on the particular course selected. The general traffic school course reviews basic defensive driving techniques. This includes remaining aware of the road and other drivers, avoiding tailgating and other road safety tips. The group dynamics course reviews the laws around driving under the influence of substances, statistics and how it impairs driving. Students then develop plans to avoid driving under the influence in the future.
The multiple offender traffic school course provides more individualized assistance to repeat offenders. It reviews how to avoid problematic behaviors and self-evaluation. Finally, the right of way violation course reviews the laws around yielding to cars, pedestrians and more. It must be at least two hours long.
Wisconsin Traffic School Certificates
Depending on the defensive driving school you select and the purpose for taking the course, you may need a certificate. A defensive driving certificate asserts that you have completed a course satisfactorily. In many cases, both online and classroom providers can provide the certificate directly to a court or DMV office. If the course provider can submit the document directly, you do not require a certificate. However, if you want insurance or your course provider does not directly provide the certificate, you may need to submit one yourself.
In that case, you may need to obtain a defensive driving certificate from your provider. Some online providers charge you to receive your certificate in the mail. iDriveSafely sends the certificate for free. Other providers also give you the option to receive your certificate by email.
Wisconsin Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
There is a difference between a defensive driving class and drivers education. Defensive driving is meant for licensed drivers who are looking to improve their records. In some cases, defensive driving is reserved for drivers who have been charged with particular violations. The course offers a refresher on basic concepts, and emphasizes safe defensive driving techniques.
Two defensive driving courses focus on driving under the influence, and one focuses on right of way laws in Wisconsin. On the other hand, drivers education is meant for unlicensed teens and adults looking to become drivers. These courses are introductory, and go over all aspects of driving. The courses are longer – at least 30 hours – and require behind-the-wheel practice.
Wisconsin Defensive Driving Course Fees
The fees for driver safety school vary depending on the course and medium selected. Online courses, like iDriveSafely, typically cost significantly less for regular traffic school. With that said, the right to yield course is often more expensive. Prices range from $25 to $80, depending on the provider.