Traffic School in California

SUMMARY: California Traffic School Courses

Traffic schools, or defensive driving courses, are approved and licensed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They are available to you if you've received a moving traffic violation or want to earn a discount on your car insurance.

If you've received a traffic ticket, your California county traffic court may allow you to complete traffic school to dismiss the citation and avoid having points added to your driving record. If you decide to enroll in traffic school voluntarily, your car insurance provider may award you with a safe driver discount.

Enrolling in Traffic School

In California, you may have the option of completing traffic school online or in the classroom.

Unless the court specifically states you must attend in person, you can choose the method most convenient to you.

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A driver improvement program may be completed to:

  • Dismiss your traffic ticket.
  • Avoid adding points to your driving record.
  • Avoid a rise in your car insurance rates.

Your eligibility to take traffic school/defensive driving will depend upon your specific circumstances.

Even if your traffic ticket cannot be dismissed or you will not earn a car insurance discount, traffic school can still be a beneficial investment to improve both your driving knowledge and behavior.

Regardless of your reason for taking traffic school, you'll gain valuable knowledge about defensive driving techniques, California traffic laws, and how to avoid receiving more traffic tickets in the future. Any time you are involved in a accident, you'll want to complete a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (Form SR 1). This is also known as an SR1 Form.

Dismiss a CA Traffic Ticket and Avoid Points

If you've received a ticket for a moving violation, you may be eligible to dismiss your ticket with traffic school, as long as:

  • Your driver's license is valid.
  • Your violation happened in a non-commercial vehicle.
  • Your offense was not a misdemeanor.
  • Your offense was not alcohol-related.
  • You have not completed traffic school for another ticket within the last 18 months.

Your traffic court will determine your eligibility for California traffic school depending on the circumstances of your offense and your driving history. They will typically mail you a courtesy notice that will inform you whether or not you can take traffic school.

Along with your eligibility, the notice should include information about your deadline to complete the program.

Always verify with your court before enrolling in a traffic school course.

To search for traffic schools available to you, please visit the California DMV website.

NOTE: If you are not eligible to dismiss your traffic ticket with a driver improvement course, points may be added to your driving record and your CA driver's license could be suspended.

For more information, please visit our pages on the following topics:

Earn an Auto Insurance Discount

If you decide to take traffic school in California voluntarily, your car insurance provider may offer you a discount on your insurance rates.

If you are 55 years old or older and complete a defensive driving course for mature drivers, your car insurance company will likely apply a safe driver discount for up to 3 years.

While these safe driver discounts are often aimed towards elderly and young driver, drivers of all ages may be eligible.

Contact your auto insurance company for more details.

California Traffic School Course Details

Most traffic school programs, whether completed online or in the classroom, may take about 6 hours to complete.

Your course will cover topics including:

  • Defensive driving techniques.
  • California traffic laws.
  • Tips to become a safer, more responsible motorist.

Generally, you'll need to pass a final exam in order to complete the course.

Upon completion, you should receive a certificate of traffic school completion, which you'll likely need to submit to the appropriate CA traffic court of your insurance provider.

For more details about traffic school, please contact your court, insurance company, or the CA DMV.

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