What to Look for in Traffic Schools
Traffic schools offer remedial classes in traffic safety and road rules. With years of extensive industry experience, instructors also teach students about current traffic laws and safe-driving practices. While there are traffic schools located across the world, many are based within the United States. These schools help students avoid fines and tickets by taking defensive-driving courses. In fact, traffic schools are offered as pre-trial diversion programs for Moving violation offenders. The latter have been assigned these courses by traffic courts, and must complete the entire program before their driving privileges and licenses are restored. While some traffic schools feature instructors that are entertaining and comedic, others are standard and more serious.
Purposes of Traffic or Moving Violation Schools
Traffic schools and their rules or guidelines tend to differ in each state. While some schools are only designed for ticket and fine dismissals — approved by judges — others offer a full spectrum of services for drivers. Whether in traditional classroom settings or online courses, most traffic schools are designed for the following reasons:
• Traffic ticket or fine dismissals.
• Defense driving courses — for first time or repeat offenders. The latter, however, can only be allowed these courses for a limited time — and repeat offenses — can lead to losing their licenses and driving privileges.
• Driving safety courses — available for all new and existing drivers that want to brush up on their skills and/or road rules and regulations.
• Point reduction
• Driver improvement courses
• Insurance discounts
• Curtailing aggressive driving by learning defensive driving techniques — how to prevent road rage and secure a safe environment for yourself, other drivers, and passengers.
Reviewing Traffic Schools — What to Look For?
Whether assigned by a court of wishing to take courses on your own — there are several things to keep in mind when reviewing traffic schools. For one, the costs associated with these services should be able to meet your budget. Sadly, there are many traffic schools that want to profit from students in every way they can. This includes overcharging for online courses and review materials, along with lunch and other miscellaneous expenses. It is imperative to keep the following in mind when reviewing these schools for ticket dismissal or defensive driving:
• Courses that you pay for already include lunch, coffee, and snacks. Similarly, the review materials needed to complete certification are also included as well. Do not proceed with a school that is charging extra for these services — simply notify the traffic court — and they can recommend other schools in the area for you.
• Before signing your name on any course agreement, make sure to review the traffic school in great detail. This includes current industry rankings and ratings, along with student reviews and testimonials.
• If planning to take your courses online, always check to see how much they are and how long each course is? Also, speak to the school about break times, as well as if any tests or quizzes are given at the end of each chapter –or the entire course as a whole.
• Always find out about certification and how long these classes are. In addition, will they be showing you how to properly parallel park? Will they be taking you on the road for hands-on instruction? Are their instructors fully licensed and accredited? These questions are very important if you wish to have your driving privileges restored.
Court Appointed Schools — Or Schools of Your Choosing
There are times when traffic or other circuit courts will choose the schools for you. However, you do have a right to go on your own — especially if the traffic school has not received good or favorable reviews. You need to be vocal and let the judge or your attorney know that you would like to proceed on your own. However, this all comes down to how many moving violations or offenses you have in your driving history and record. If there are excessive and repeat offensives, you may not be granted leeway. However, first-time offenders usually get the freedom to choose their own schools. There are programs offered through many channels as well, including:
Internet traffic courses are a convenient way to secure certification — especially if pressed for time. However, you must review these online schools before making a worthwhile and informed decision. Unlike traditional schools, however, online courses are not customized or personalized to user preferences. They are “take as is” courses –and it’s up to the student to follow instructions carefully in order to receive passing grades or certification. With this in mind, this is what you need to look out for with online traffic school courses:
• Does the school you select have an individual account with the traffic school provider? If not, you need to find an online course –if approved by a judge — that is affiliated with the traffic school you are attending.
• Make sure their payment portals are secured — credit card, debit card, checking account debit, etc. Always looks for “HTTPS” in the URL field before making any payment — and validate with the school that it is safe to make online payments.
• Your online course will feature multimedia presentations, animations, and MP3 or other sound bytes and clips. There should also be live online support — or phone support in case you run into a problem. Make sure your computer has the right hardware and software needed to access and complete these online courses.
• You will take the final exam online. However, in some states — there are no final exams and only completing the final chapters is considered the end of the course. This is true in New York and Texas — so if you are in these states — there are no final tests.
• Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a notification or e-mail correspondence. Make sure that these course certificates are also delivered directly to the Court, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the traffic court and school. This will expedite the process of getting your traffic tickets dismissed, as well as removing points on your driving record and history.
Classroom Courses — What to Look out For?
Most traffic schools revolve around hands-on courses in traditional classroom settings. These courses are better since they offer face to face experiences with the instructors — along with immediate answers to any questions or concerns. From parallel parking and defensive-driving to road rules and traffic safety, classroom courses offer a comprehensive and cohesive platform for ticket and point dismissals. However, the following is important to keep in mind and review before entering any traffic court or self-appointed school:
• Make sure the school offers convenient classroom times and schedules that do not conflict with work. All traffic schools do offer notices for employers so that you can get these days off for your coursework.
• Make sure the instructor is certified, accredited, and well-versed. You can ask to see his or her credentials if desired. The teacher will ask that all students listen to him or her — so they can provide safe driving techniques and traffic rules for the state you are in.
• You will complete the final exam on site — and this will be under the supervision of the instructor. A notary will also be on hand to validate and certify your passing document/exam for court and DMS or DMV acceptance.
• Upon completion of the course, make sure to follow up with the traffic school or traffic court. If you have an attorney, speak to him or her about following up on how long it will take for your traffic tickets and driving points to be dismissed or removed.
Home Based Traffic Courses – Not Available in All States
When reviewing traffic schools and available courses, some states do allow home based study programs. These are somewhat similar to online courses — but you will be reviewing resources and materials via DVD, CD or On-Demand with your digital cable provider. Like classroom and online schools, you must complete the course and presentation in order to gain ticket dismissal. There are some things to keep in mind about these courses though, including:
• You will have to buy the DVD, CD or pay for the live or previously recorded presentation.
• You must watch the entire presentation and learn about safe driving techniques — related to your state.
• Upon completion of the presentation, you will have to go to a notary public and pass the exam to obtain certification.
• Take the certificate to the court to have your driving ticket dismissed or driving record points removed.
Top Traffic School Reviews
You can find the top traffic school reviews online in any state. While there are national traffic schools — most of these are under the defensive-driving courses offered at comedy clubs. This includes the Laugh Stop, along with Laugh-In and other popular venues. However, each state has its own traffic schools so it is best to conduct a local search on Google. You can also access reviews on YouTube, as well as Facebook and other social media platforms. These online portals showcase traffic school industry reviews, along with student ratings and much more.