Defensive Driving in Maryland

SUMMARY: Maryland Defensive Driving Courses

If you've received too many driving record points, committed certain traffic violations, or have been ordered by the court, you'll need to complete a driver improvement program (DIP).

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) requires mandatory completion of traffic school in order to:

  • Improve safe driving behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge of problem drivers.
  • Reduce your risk of receiving a driver's license suspension.
  • Prevent future traffic violations and accidents.

If you take a defensive driving course voluntarily, you may be eligible to earn a car insurance discount.

On this page you'll find information about the Maryland MVA or court-required driver improvement program and possible benefits of a voluntary defensive driving course.

Mandatory DIP Requirements in MD

You may be required to complete a Maryland defensive driving/driver improvement program (DIP) if you:

  • Were ordered by your traffic court.
  • Were ordered by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
  • Have accumulated at least 5 points on your Maryland MVA driving record.
  • Received a traffic conviction or probation before judgment (PBJ) while on your provisional driver's license.

After you are ordered by the Maryland DMV or ordered by a court, you should receive a defensive driving program notice from the DMV within 6 weeks. Your notice will generally include information about:

  • Your specific offense/circumstances.
  • Your deadline to complete traffic school.
  • Any additional documents/fees you may need to provide.

Once you receive your notice, you can select a driver improvement program from the list of approved providers found on the Maryland MVA website.

If you've lost your defensive driving referral letter, please visit or contact the Maryland MVA.

Course Duration

Your driver improvement program will last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Your course provider will determine the schedule, location, and cost. You'll need to contact your specific traffic school for more information.

Course Completion

Once you complete your course, your program provider will give you a completion certificate and submit your completion information to the Maryland MVA.

Depending on your driving history and the circumstances of your offense, you may also be required to submit additional fines, reinstatement fees, and clearance documents to the MD MVA.

If you accumulate too many driving record points, commit major traffic offenses, or fail to complete a required driver improvement program, the Maryland MVA may suspend your driver's license.

For more information about checking your driving record points and reinstating a suspended license, please visit our pages on:

Voluntary Defensive Driving in Maryland

If you decide to take a course voluntarily, you may have the option of completing defensive driving online, in a classroom, or using a take-home DVD.

Completing voluntary Maryland traffic school may earn you a discount on your car insurance premiums. Please contact your car insurance provider for more information about your eligibility and defensive driving courses you can choose from.

Generally, a voluntary driver improvement program may take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete. It may cover topics, such as:

  • Safe driving techniques.
  • Traffic accident prevention.
  • Maryland traffic laws and violations.
  • Alcohol/drug abuse and offenses.
  • Developing responsible driving behaviors.
  • Sharing the road.

At the end of your course, your course provider may require you to pass a final exam. Upon completion, your defensive driving provider will usually give you a completion certificate.

Please contact your car insurance provider for details about what you'll need to submit to qualify for a discount, if applicable.

Even if you are not eligible for lower car insurance premiums, completing a defensive driving course benefit you in other ways, including reducing your risk of:

  • Committing traffic offenses.
  • Receiving driving record points.
  • Causing accidents.
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