Traffic Schools in TexasPage Overview
Texans with traffic tickets may be eligible to have their infractions dismissed by successfully completing a defensive driving course.
Actually, these classes are known by a variety of names, including traffic dismissal and traffic safety classes. No matter the name, you must take the class through a state-approved school to be eligible for the ticket dismissal.
As a bonus to those interested in these programs, the classes are available
online, in a classroom setting, and on video or DVD. However, you must finish the entire six-hour course to receive your course certificate of completion, no matter what method of instruction you choose.
A licensed instructor will teach you about traffic laws, and how to properly react to and avoid safety hazards. Additionally, you'll receive important information on common causes of crashes, the negative impact of drug and alcohol use on driving safety, aggressive driving behavior, and safety equipment.
Texas law requires participants to pay at least $25 for a defensive driving course, if you're using the completion certificate to get you out of a traffic ticket. However, you may use more inexpensive courses for education purposes and insurance discounts.
Otherwise, expect to pay between $25 and $39.95 for the course, depending on the type of course and its provider.
You may be required to pay a court fee, in addition to the cost of the course. The justice of the peace or the municipal court assigned to your case determined the fee. Also, you may need to produce a copy of your driving record, which you'll also have to pay for.
By successfully completing an approved driving safety course, you may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance rates. However, check with your carrier to see if it participates in this program. The savings will vary according to the provider, but it's usually around 10% off the liability portion of your rates.
Be aware that this savings is in the same category of the discount that a teen driver receives for completing a driver education course. Each driver is only eligible for a single discount, so you can't piggyback the discounts for multiple discounts.
However, those completing a Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program (DADAP) may be eligible for an additional discount. Check with your provider for details on its policy, and see our DADAP section below for more details on the program.
Drivers may have one traffic ticket dismissed every 12 months, upon completion of a state-approved course. This is true for Texans who:
- Do not hold a commercial driver's license (CDL).
- Plead guilty or sign a statement that declares you don't contest the ticket (nolo contender).
- Were cited for speeding, but didn't exceed the posted speeding limit by 25 MPH or more.
- Were not going 95 MPH or more.
However, since the court ultimately decides who may have a ticket dismissed by completing the course, it's smart to receive permission from the court before enrolling in a class. Simply look on your copy of the traffic citation for the court's contact information.
Be aware, though, that if you receive a ticket after completing the course for education or insurance discount purposes, you can't use the course completion certificate to dismiss the ticket. You can only complete the course to dismiss the ticket after the date you received the citation.
The Driver Training Division of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) oversees all driver training programs. To access its directory of staff members and departments, visit the government site. You may also contact the agency at:
- Texas Education Agency, Driver Training Division
- 1701 North Congress Ave., Rm 1-109
- Austin, TX 78701-1494
- (512) 936-6777 phone
- (512) 936-6779 fax
The voluntary Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program provides Texans with useful information regarding the dangers of alcohol and drug use, and their detrimental impact on a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle.
As a bonus, by successfully completing the class you may be eligible for a 5% discount on part of your auto insurance premium. However, check with your carrier to be sure it allows the discount. You may combine this discount with the defensive driving class mentioned earlier.
The cost for the six-hour class varies according to the state-approved provider, and the class is only available in a classroom setting.
Seat Belt Classes
This program is not voluntary, and you may be required to successfully complete the class if you're cited for not wearing your seat belt, or for not properly using a child passenger safety seat.
During the six-hour class, you'll learn about the importance of using seat belts and child safety seat systems, as well as the Texas laws concerning the use of safety restraints. Additionally, you'll receive a refresher on related driving safety information.
The cost varies according to the state-authorized provider, but it will be at least $25.
The Driver Training Division of the TEA oversees the program, and provides a list of approved classroom locations. However, you may also take the class online through the approved provider. DVD or video courses are not approved for this program.Other Topics in This Section