Traffic school

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Traffic school is the generic common term for remedial courses in Road-traffic safety and safe driving practices. In the United States, these are offered as part of pre-trial diversion programs to Moving violation offenders by traffic courts, in the interest of improving general safety. To offset the oppression suggested by the compulsory nature of traffic school, some businesses present themselves as a "comedy traffic school" where they attempt to have instructors who are, to some degree, entertaining.

Incentive[edit]

Opting to take the course may cost the violator anywhere from slightly less than the fine for the violation to significantly more. However, successful completion will usually either completely remove, or significantly reduce, the effect on the violator's driving record, which in turn will at least reduce the effect on the violator's Automobile insurance premiums. Typically, a traffic violator will be offered the opportunity to take such a course only if he or she has not done so within a specified number of months prior to the violation; this keeps frequent violators from abusing the system to avoid the consequences of their recklessness, while encouraging participants to pay attention, and to put what they learn into practice.

Purpose[edit]

The term does not have the same meaning in every state of the U.S. In some states traffic school is an in class or in person school along with a corresponding internet or online school providing some of the following courses:

Although the course objectives sound different, the primary goal of a person taking these courses is to:

  1. Dismiss a traffic ticket issued by police or highway patrol
  2. Remove points on his or her driving record
  3. Learn the driving safety techniques of that respective state
  4. Practice driving with a driver improvement program
  5. Gain an insurance discount

Programs are offered through many channels:

1. Internet - Unlike traditional in class schools, this can be more convenient although not as personal.

  • School creates an individual account with the traffic school provider
  • Student pays through a bank issued card or by other means
  • Student completes the traffic school course online. The course is in some cases listenable (through headphones) and in some cases a multimedia course where the user can view animations teaching safe driving techniques and road rules of that respective state. They can contact (phone/chat) the online support and get queries resolved if so provided.
  • Student takes the final exam online. However, in some states like Texas and New York, the final exam is not given, as finishing the final chapter is considered the end of the course.
  • At completion the student receives a notification of successful or unsuccessful status. Upon successful completion, some course certificates are delivered directly to Court/DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and in other states it is delivered to the address the user provides; the user then carries the certificate to court in order to get any traffic tickets or points on the driving record dismissed or removed.

2. Classroom - Traditional, offers a live, face to face experience to the user, as he/she will listen directly to a live instructor and can get any questions answered immediately.

  • User schedules classroom time based on a convenient day and time.
  • Listens to the instructor and is presented with the safe driving techniques and rules of the state.
  • Writes the exam under the supervision of the instructor or a notary, passes the exam and gets the certificate.
  • Takes the certificate to the court to have traffic tickets dismissed or driving record points removed.

3. CD/DVD/On Demand - Another home study method of completion and presentation.

  • User rents or buys a CD or DVD or asks for a telecast.
  • Listens and watches the safe driving techniques and rules of that respective state.
  • Goes to a notary, passes the exam and gets the certificate.
  • Takes the certificate to the court to have traffic tickets dismissed or driving record points removed.

In addition to the United States, a few states and provinces in Canada, Australia and Europe also have this type of traffic school in place, but compared to other countries the United States course is taken on a large scale.

The providers who offer these courses are usually certified by respective state road/traffic safety bodies, such as:

Traffic school not only deals with ticket dismissal and insurance discounts, but also teaches or provides courses for:

  • Drivers Ed - For teenagers above 13 years and below 18 years old to get their driving permits/licenses
  • Adult Drivers Ed - For ages 18+ who do not have a driving license
  • Insurance Discount - For ages 55+, to get an insurance discount
  • Fleet - For company drivers to drive fleet vehicles

Traffic school covers all traffic safety related courses for all segments and ages above 13.

Internet Traffic School[edit]

Today, in many states like Arizona, Alaska, California, Texas, etc., internet or / web traffic school has become a more and more popular way to dismiss citations. In California, the pioneer of approving this method, all state courts currently allow most traffic violations (such as speeding, rolling a stop sign, etc.) to be removed in this manner. Many states soon followed and now also offer internet traffic school in one form or another, the main incentive is for people to do be able to complete traffic school in a more flexible manner. In fact, now the majority of eligible students in the states that have licensed traffic schools through the internet complete their requirements through some type of online curriculum.

References[edit]

  • Scott V. Masten and Raymond C. Peck (2004-06-28). "Problem driver remediation: A meta-analysis of the driver improvement literature". Journal of Safety Research. 
  • David L. Struckman-Johnson, Adrian K. Lund, Allan F. Williams and David W. Osborne (09/12/1988). "Comparative effects of driver improvement programs on crashes and violations". Accident Analysis & Prevention. 
  • Katharine Ker, Ian Roberts, Timothy Collier, Fiona Beyer, Frances Bunn and Chris Frost (2004-09-17). "Post-licence driver education for the prevention of road traffic crashes: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials". Accident Analysis & Prevention.