Defensive Driving in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you can take your defensive driving course from a state-approved licensed provider:
- In person.
Should you choose or be required to attend your NJ traffic school in person, the course will be administered at a 3rd party location, and you’ll be required to be in attendance for the entire duration of the course.
Online defensive driving courses tend to be a more convenient option for those who are able to utilize them. An online defensive driving course can be accessed at any time, and the course can be completed at your leisure. The course utilizes a timer system to ensure all required hours are completed.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission provides a list of approved classroom and online courses.
There are many reasons for taking a New Jersey defensive driving course, one of which is point reduction. Upon successful completion of your course, 2 points will be removed from your New Jersey driver record. It’s important to know driving is a privilege, not a right, and if you accumulate too many points, your NJ driver's license may be subject to suspension or revocation.
Here’s an example of the most common infractions and their associated driving record points.
- Failure to stop your vehicle before a crosswalk: 2 points.
- Driving through a safety zone: 2 points.
- Failure to yield to emergency vehicles: 2 points.
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street: 2 points.
- Improper right or left turn: 3 points.
- Improper u-turn: 3 points.
- Improper turn at a traffic light: 3 points.
- Improper passing in a no passing zone: 4 points.
- Exceeding maximum speed 15 to 29 MPH over limit: 4 points.
- Reckless driving: 5 points.
- Exceeding maximum speed 30 MPH or more over limit: 5 points.
- Tailgating: 5 points.
For more examples, please refer to this detailed list.
NOTE: Point reductions are offered for state-approved New Jersey defensive driving courses only. Always check with course providers prior to registering. You may only receive a reduction of 2 points once every 5 years, and only if you have points on your driving record when you completed the course.
New Jersey defensive driving courses can also potentially decrease your car insurance rates. If you choose to take the course voluntarily (i.e. you have not been ordered to do so by the court, and you are not taking it to reduce points from your NJ driving record), your insurance provider may reward you with a reduction in your premium.
Contact your auto insurance agent for details, or visit our Insurance Center for information about New Jersey's insurance requirements and to receive quotes from other providers.
In most cases, a defensive driving course in New Jersey takes about 4 hours to complete. In certain cases it can take up to 8 hours.
The length of the final exam varies by state and is determined by the county where you received your violation. This exam usually consists of 25 questions, but may be longer depending on your course. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and court regulations are the determining factors to decide if you’re able to retake the final exam if you don’t pass successfully.
Usually, your local court will send you a notice indicating if you are eligible to take a defensive driving course. However, as mentioned above, you should always check to see if you’re eligible BEFORE you enroll.
If you do opt for an online defensive driving course, you may be required to complete it within 180 days after signing up. Check with your chosen course provider to see when your deadline for completion is. Generally, if you do not successfully complete your course within the allotted time, you’ll fail the course and you won’t be eligible to get a refund.
To be eligible to dismiss a traffic ticket through a defensive driving course, you may need to:
- Have a valid NJ driver's license.
- Be cited for just 1 violation.
- Have been cited while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
Usually you must not have completed traffic school within the last 12 to 18 months. Check with your local court for more information.
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