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  • Defensive Driving in Minnesota

    Defensive Driving in Minnesota

    The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) approves various driver improvement courses and accident prevention programs that you may be able to take to:

    • Satisfy a Minnesota DPS requirement.
    • Satisfy a traffic court conviction.
    • Reinstate your driver’s license.
    • Earn a car insurance discount.

    Both types of defensive driving/traffic school programs will provide you with safe driving knowledge that may help you to:

    • Improve your driving behavior.
    • Avoid committing traffic violations.
    • Avoid causing accidents in the future.

    On this page you’ll find information about required and voluntary defensive driving courses and who to contact for more information.

    Reasons to Complete Traffic School

    In Minnesota, you can complete a defensive driving course voluntarily, or a traffic court or the MN DMV may require it to satisfy a traffic ticket.

    In addition to providing you with safe driving habits and additional driving knowledge, completing a driver improvement course may earn you an auto insurance discount.

    Mandatory Traffic School

    You may be required to complete a driver improvement course when you:

    • Commit major traffic offenses, such as:
      • Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs/alcohol.
      • Hit and run.
      • Causing an accident that resulted in a serious injury or death.
    • Commit multiple minor traffic violations.
    • Are reinstating your suspended driver’s license.

    If you have any questions about your driver improvement requirements, please contact your traffic court or the Minnesota DPS.

    For a complete list of approved defensive driver improvement clinics, please visit the Minnesota DMV website.

    Accident Prevention Car Insurance Discounts

    If you are 55 years old or older, you can complete a Minnesota DPS-approved accident prevention course to earn a car insurance premium discount.

    For a complete list of approved accident prevention traffic schools, please visit the MN DMV website.

    NOTE: Drivers of all ages may be eligible to complete a defensive driving course to earn a car insurance discount. For more information and specific details, please contact your auto insurance provider.

    Traffic School Options in Minnesota

    Minnesota driving courses are offered both online or in a classroom setting.

    If you’re able to complete a course online, you can study at your own pace during your own schedule. Your course provider may give you a deadline to complete the entire program.

    If a defensive driving course is mandatory, your traffic court or the Minnesota Department of Public Safety should provide you with information about:

    • Your timeline for finishing the program.
    • Which type of program you must complete.
    • Any additional fees and documents you must submit.

    If you fail to complete a mandatory course, the Minnesota DMV may suspend your driver’s license.

    For information about checking your driver’s license status, please visit our pages on the following topics:

    MN Defensive Driving Course Details

    Traffic school/defensive driving courses, both online and in the classroom, generally provide information on:

    • Minnesota traffic laws and safety.
    • Defensive driving techniques.
    • Sharing the roadways.
    • Developing courteous and responsible driving attitudes.
    • Consequences of drug/alcohol abuse and violations.

    You course may take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to complete. The cost, location, and schedule of your program may vary by course provider.

    Generally, to complete your defensive driving course, you’ll need to pass a final exam. After you pass, your course provider will either:

    • Give you a certificate of completion.
      OR
    • Notify the Minnesota DPS/traffic court for you.

    Contact your driver improvement clinic provider directly for specific course and completion information.

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