In California, you can take a defensive driving course to get the courts to dismiss a traffic ticket, and thus avoid having points added to your driving record. Taking this type of course also helps you qualify for a safe-driver discount with your car insurance company. Options for taking a class include in a classroom environment or online. In this article, we’ll explain what’s covered in a defensive driving course, tell you how to find a course near you in California, and describe the benefits of taking a defensive driving course.
What Is a Defensive Driving Course?
A California defensive driving course covers a variety of helpful tips about safe-driving practices. A typical course covers such things as:
- Traffic accident statistics, including which age groups have the most accidents and when most accidents occur
- The dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- What affects the severity of a crash, including vehicle speed, place of impact, and the relation in the size of the vehicles involved
- The importance of using seat belts, airbags, and child safety seats
- Accident prevention techniques, such as proper following distance, how to pass, and how long it takes for your car to stop
- Why you should avoid driving while fatigued, angry, or stressed
- California state traffic laws
Where Can You Take a Defensive Driving Course?
In California, you can take a defensive driving course in a couple of ways — online or in a classroom setting. A defensive driving course costs around $20 or less online and around $30 in a classroom setting, depending on the location.
The following section contains more information about both types of classes:
- Online: With an online defensive driving course, you sign up using a computer. These types of courses usually take about six hours to complete.
Once completed, the certificate of completion goes directly to the DMV, and you should receive an email showing that you successfully completed the course.
- In the classroom: A defensive driving course in a classroom setting usually requires you to take the class in one day.
Like an online class, a course in the classroom takes about six hours to complete. If needed, you can take a defensive driving course in California every 18 months to help clear up your driving record.
To find available classes, start by contacting your insurance company first to ask if they have a list of approved defensive driving courses. As an added resource, you can also search for local traffic schools in California by visiting dmv.org.
Remember to make sure to check with your insurance agent first before taking a course to ensure that it’s on their list of acceptable defensive driving classes.
What Does Taking a Defensive Driving Class Do?
While you can take a defensive driving course to improve your driving habits, you usually take a defensive driving course for two obvious reasons, to get points removed from your driving record and to qualify for a safe-driver discount with your car insurance company, as detailed in the section below:
- Dismiss points: While taking a defensive driving course in the state of California does remove points from your driving record, it does not remove the traffic violation. In California, some restrictions do apply for removing points, including:
- The offense wasn’t alcohol-related
- The offense wasn’t a misdemeanor
- The offense happened in a non-commercial vehicle
- You have a valid driver’s license
- Earn a discount on your car insurance: Taking a defensive driving course in California also allows you to take advantage of special safe-driver discounts from your car insurance company.
Usually geared toward younger, teenage drivers or older drivers over the age of 55, drivers of all ages might be eligible for discounts after taking a defensive driving course.
Taking a defensive driving course in the state of California can save you money on your car insurance in addition to helping you get points removed for your driving record. Courses come in both online and in the classroom versions, making it easy to fit one into your busy schedule.