There are many reasons why you may want to consider attending a Florida traffic school. You may have gotten a ticket and are trying remove points from your record; you may have been ordered to attend one by a court; or you may simply be attending one in order to lower your auto insurance premiums. While all of those reasons are good ones, it is important that you understand that there are many different types of traffic schools in Florida, each suited for different goals and situations. Below we will take a brief overview of what you can accomplish by attending a Florida traffic school.
The Florida traffic school system is, unfortunately, a bit confusing. There are many different courses available, ranging from 4-hour Basic Driver Improvement courses to 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement courses. Plus there are traffic schools for new drivers, mature drivers, commercial drivers, and more! While this setup can seem overwhelming at first, the most important thing to remember is that most traffic schools in Florida offer the same courses, all of which should be approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Once you know why you need to go to traffic school, then you can contact a school directly and they will provide you more information about which course is suitable for your situation.
Most people go to traffic school because they got a traffic ticket or a number of traffic tickets in a certain amount of time. For example, drivers are required to complete an Advanced Driver Improvement course if they have had their license suspended due to a court order, for being declared a habitual traffic offender (non-DUI related), or because of the accumulation of points. Many traffic tickets lead to points being assessed on your record and suspension periods vary depending on how many points you’ve accumulated. For example, if you accumulate 12 points in 12 months, you will get a 30-day suspension; 18 points within 18 months will land you a 3-month suspension; and 24 points in 36 months will result in a one-year suspension. Regardless of how long your suspension is, you will need to successfully complete an Advanced Driver Improvement course and show the certificate to the court to get your driving privileges restored.
However, traffic school is not just for cases where your license has been suspended. You may, for example, have gotten a traffic ticket for which points will be assessed against your record. One way to prevent those points from being applied to you is to voluntarily attend a Basic Driver Improvement course. To qualify, you will need to notify the court within 30 days of your citation that you intend to complete the course in lieu of having points assessed against you. If you don’t notify the court within 30 days, then you waive your right to have the points dismissed.
The good thing about the Basic Driver Improvement courses is that they can be completed entirely online and take just 4 hours. Considering that accumulating enough points can lead to your insurance premiums going up or your license getting suspended, opting for the Basic Driver Improvement course is usually a good idea.
Traffic school can also help lower your auto insurance premiums in a number of ways. As mentioned above, if you qualify to have points removed from your record by completing a driving course then that will mean that your insurer can’t use those points to increase your premiums.
If you are over 55, then Florida law also gives you the right to complete a Mature Driver Discount course. Once you complete this course, your insurer will provide you with a discount on your premiums. While the discount is at the discretion of the insurer, it is usually about 10 percent. The discount usually lasts for three years so long as you aren’t involved in an accident for which you are cited and you don’t get a moving violation in that time.
As mentioned above, there are 4-hour Basic Florida Driver Improvement courses and 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement courses. However, there is also an Intermediate Driver Improvement course that lasts for 8 hours. Drivers usually take the Intermediate Driver Improvement course because they have been ordered to do so by the court, usually in cases where they have received two tickets in a 12-month period. Some courts may also order drivers to take the Intermediate course if they have already completed the Basic course. In many ways, the Intermediate Driver Improvement course is a more in-depth version of the Basic Driver Improvement Course. It is still completed entirely online and will teach you about defensive driving techniques, Florida driving laws, and how dangerous reckless and distracted driving can be.