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  • Defensive Driving in California

    If you have received a traffic ticket in California, then a California State Approved Defensive Driving Course is a great way to dismiss your traffic ticket and lose the points from your driving records. I Drive Safely is a good choice for California Defensive Driving Course online.

    The successful completion of a course from one of the approved Defensive Driving Course may prevent violations from damaging your driving record. While in many cases a course just might get a traffic ticket dismissed, attending traffic school can also enhance your driving knowledge and skill level, and it may increase your overall safety awareness so that you, your family, and other drivers can be safer on the roads.

    California Defensive Driving

    Defensive driving courses, which are also known as traffic school, can be used by California drivers who have received traffic tickets and wish to reduce their car insurance rates.

    California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) defensive driving programs may allow drivers to:

    • Dismiss traffic tickets.
    • Avoid accumulating additional driving record points.
    • Avoid increased car insurance rates.
    • Earn a safe driver discount on auto insurance.

    For drivers who cannot use a defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket or earn an insurance discount, the course can still be beneficial. It can be used to instill defensive driving habits and improve driving behavior to curb the risk of traffic violations and accidents in the future.

    This page includes information about options for completing defensive driving courses in California.

    Taking Defensive Driving in California

    California motorists can complete a defensive driving course either online or in a classroom setting.

    A driver’s eligibility to use a course to dismiss a traffic ticket or earn a car insurance discount will depend upon his or her specific circumstance and the presiding traffic court or car insurance provider.

    The amount of time a driver will have to complete the course will depend upon:

    • The court’s deadline.
      OR
    • The defensive driving school, if the driver is taking the course voluntarily.

    Drivers should check with their:

    • Court to see if they can have their traffic ticket dismissed.
    • Insurance provider for information about auto insurance discounts.

    Traffic Ticket Dismissals with Traffic School in CA

    Drivers who have received traffic tickets will usually be able to dismiss them with traffic school if:

    • They hold a valid CA driver’s license.
    • They were operating a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the violation.
    • The offense was NOT a misdemeanor or alcohol related.
    • They have not used a defensive driving course to dismiss a ticket in the past 18 months.

    Usually, the traffic court will mail drivers a notice about whether or not they can complete a defensive driving course. The notice should also include the deadline the course must be completed by.

    The California DMV provides a list of approved defensive driving courses.

    If a course cannot be used to dismiss a ticket, points may be added to the driver’s California DMV driving record.

    Too many traffic convictions and driving record points can lead to a suspended driver’s license, CA DMV and court fines, and an increase in insurance rates.

    Our Driving Records and Suspended Licenses in California pages provide more information on those topics.

    Car Insurance Discounts in California

    Some car insurance companies allow drivers to take a voluntary traffic school to earn a safe driver discount.

    While the discount is usually geared towards elderly and younger drivers, drivers of all ages may be eligible.

    Drivers should contact their insurance companies for more information.

    California Traffic School Details

    Defensive driving courses, both online and in the classroom, generally take about 8 hours to complete; however, this may vary depending on the course provider.

    Traffic school/defensive driving courses cover topics including:

    • Safe driving skills and habits.
    • California traffic laws.
    • Improving driving behavior and attitudes.

    To satisfy the requirements of the courts or insurance companies, drivers will usually need to complete a final exam and submit a completion certificate to the appropriate agency.

    For more information about traffic school, drivers should contact the California DMV.