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  • Defensive Driving in Texas

    SUMMARY: Texas Defensive Driving & Traffic School Courses

    In Texas, there are many reasons to complete a defensive driving course, including to:

    • Remove points from your driving record.
    • Reduce your auto insurance rates.
    • Fulfill a traffic court or Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirement.

    There are different types of traffic school/defensive driving courses you can take depending on your reason for completing the course.

    Texas Defensive Driving Course Providers

    In Texas, defensive driving can be completed in person at a commercial driving school, or it can be completed from a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved online provider. There are arguments to be made for either option, but the majority of users have found the online option to be more convenient. This is mostly due to the fact that the course can be worked on around the clock and allows you to take breaks whenever necessary.

    If you do opt for an online defensive driving course in Texas, you may be required to complete it within a specified amount of time after enrolling (commonly 6 months). Usually, if you do not successfully complete your defensive driving course within the required time, you’ll fail the course and won’t be eligible for a refund.

    Types of Texas Traffic School Courses

    As mentioned above, there are different types of traffic school/defensive driving courses offered in Texas. Make sure you enroll in the appropriate course for you.

    Texas Traffic School Ticket Dismissal Course

    If you have received a traffic citation in Texas and wish to dismiss the ticket and keep it off your driving record, this is the course you’ll need to take. The Texas court handling your case may send you a notice to inform you if you're eligible to have your ticket dismissed. If you didn't receive notification, check with the court before you enroll in traffic school.

    Generally, to be eligible, you will need to meet the following requirements:

    • You were not driving a commercial vehicle when you received the traffic ticket.
    • You haven’t taken a court-ordered defensive driving course in Texas in the 12 months prior to receiving your ticket.
    • You have a valid Texas driver's license.
    • Your ticket wasn't issued for:
      • Speeding at 25 MPH or more over the posted speed limit.
      • Driving at 95 MPH or faster.
      • Passing a school bus.
      • A serious violation.
      • Failing to stay and provide your information and assistance after your involvement in an accident.
      • For a violation within a construction zone with workers present.

    Dismissing a ticket will also prevent your insurance rates from increasing as a result of your citation and you’ll remove points from your driving record. Check with the Texas DMV to check how many times you can complete this course to dismiss a traffic ticket.

    For more information about driving record points, please refer to our Point System in Texas page.

    Texas Defensive Driving Insurance Reduction Course

    If your auto insurance provider offers a discount for completing a defensive driving course, then this defensive driving course can be used to complete requirements mandated by your insurance carrier.

    Always check with your car insurance provider first BEFORE enrolling in a course. In some cases, your insurance company may not offer discounts for completing traffic school.

    Texas Seat Belt Course

    If you have been cited for a seat belt violation, your local Texas judge may order you to complete a seat belt course. Be sure to enroll in a TEA-approved course in order to fulfill this requirement.

    Course Curriculum & Details

    While specifics vary based on your traffic school provider, a typical defensive driving course in Texas will cover:

    • Texas road rules and regulations.
    • Road signs and symbols.
    • Driving techniques for hazardous conditions.
    • Drunk driving laws and penalties.

    Your course can last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours on average, and you'll be required to pass a final exam before earning a certificate of completion. This certificate is what you will need to provide your court or insurance company to earn your ticket dismissal or insurance discount.