Driver Improvement Clinic in North Carolina

SUMMARY: Defensive Driving & Traffic Safety Courses in North Carolina

In North Carolina, traffic school courses are referred to as traffic safety courses, driver improvement clinics, or defensive driving courses.

If you've been convicted of a traffic violation, you may be mandated by the court to complete a course of either 4 hours or 8 hours (depending on your violation). Once you successfully complete a defensive driving course, you are eligible to have points removed from your driving record. You may also get an insurance rate reduction if your provider offers a safe driver discount for defensive driving courses.

About North Carolina Traffic School

There are many reasons to complete a defensive driving course in North Carolina, such as:

  • Dismissing a traffic ticket.
  • Avoiding the addition of points to your driving record.
  • Improving your driving skills and knowledge.
  • Earning an auto insurance discount.

Course Providers

In North Carolina, there are a couple of different course options offered for defensive driving. You can complete your driver improvement clinic:

  • In a traditional classroom setting.
  • You can complete it online.

If you choose the classroom option, you must attend in person and complete the number of required hours with a certified driving instructor.

The online course can be completed anywhere and at your convenience. You just need the time and an Internet connection.

Fees will vary depending on your course provider. Contact them directly for more information.

Types of Traffic School Courses

Many counties allow you to take online courses in place of traditional classroom instruction. Depending on your violation and county, you may be able to choose between an online course of either 4 hours or 8 hours.

If you do need to take a longer course, don't despair: with an online course, you can pause and save your progress so you can pick up where you left off whenever it's convenient for you.


Understand your traffic violation and county may dictate which of these courses you're eligible to take, and whether online courses are an acceptable.

Make sure to call your traffic court to find out which options you have for traffic school.

What Does a Course Cover?

Some of the topics that will be covered during your traffic safety course include:

  • The latest research about impaired driving, including in-depth information about how alcohol and drugs affect driving.
  • The motivating factors behind effective and ineffective decision-making.
  • Updated North Carolina laws on driver's license revocation and suspension.
  • How to embrace change and develop an action plan to drive smarter and safer.

Point Reduction

In North Carolina, points are added to your driving record for certain violations. If you've accumulated 7 points, you may be required to take a Driver Improvement Clinic to subtract 3 points.

You may also elect to take a defensive driving course without being ordered to do so. You are eligible to attend a Driver Improvement Clinic for the purpose of reducing points only 1 time every 5 years.

Car Insurance Discounts

When you take a defensive driving course, you may actually find that it saves you money! Many car insurance providers will offer you a discount on your auto insurance premiums.

Before taking a course, call your car insurance agent to see if you will qualify for savings on your premium once you pass your Driver Improvement Clinic.

Completing North Carolina Traffic School

Once you complete your defensive driving course in North Carolina, depending on where you take it, you'll either be given a completion certificate that you present to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and your insurance company, or your course provider will automatically notify the NC DMV and update your driver record.

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