Millions of moving violations are issued every year, and with municipalities increasingly cash-strapped by the economy, the cops are less likely to let you off with a warning if you’re stopped. A single traffic ticket can add points to your record, which in turn can make it hard for you to find cheap auto insurance quotes. Rack up too many points in too short a time period and you could face revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. Worse, a poor driving record can prevent you from landing a job, as many employers these days screen your driving record. The good news is, you may be able to mitigate the damage done to your driving record and your car insurance premiums by attending traffic school.
Depending on where you live, the nature of your violation and your past driving history, traffic school may be a voluntary option or a court-ordered mandate. This will also depend on whether you hold a personal driver’s license or a commercial one. If you are given the option, consider taking advantage of it. It may get your violation dismissed and can even result in the removal of points from your record – both good things. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles for specific laws regarding traffic school in your state.
Costs for traffic school range from a few dollars to over one hundred, not counting any court-assessed fees. A typical class for a first-timer lasts about 8 hours, but this will ultimately depend on where you live. Classes are usually broken up into several sessions to accommodate your work or personal schedule. In addition to attending an actual class, many states now permit you to attend traffic school online. That gives you the option of completing the course at your convenience, although most court-ordered courses must be completed and certified within a specific amount of time.
Content and testing requirements will vary, but in general, a traffic school course will cover:
- Basic driving requirements such as parking, observing road signs, basic safety rules, and proper use and maintenance of safety equipment
- Defensive driving techniques
- A review of the rules of the road
- Freeway and city driving
- Driving under hazardous conditions
- Impact of driving under the influence
In addition to helping erase or lessen the penalties for a moving violation, traffic school is also a smart option for mature and teen drivers who want to refresh or improve their skills. Many municipalities now offer specialized courses geared to seniors and teens. Voluntarily completing a safe driving or defensive course can help you qualify for a senior auto insurance discount or teen driver auto insurance discount.
Do be aware that not all traffic schools qualify. Check with your insurance company before you enroll to make sure it is an accredited course.