Defensive Driving Course Cost


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

A defensive driving course, also referred to as traffic schools in some states, are designed to enhance your “defensive” skills while you’re behind the wheel.

Specific to your local state’s regulations and requirements, these courses, in short, can teach you techniques to prevent accidents and react quicker to an oncoming threat, to name a few, to help you become a better and safer driver.

Defensive Driving Course Cost
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How much does a defensive driving course cost?

In most states, you will have a choice of schools to choose from an approved list only, and while you can choose your own school for your own benefit, most people only go when a state recommends the option if you wanted to reduce points on your record and so forth.  While some states do have an approved online option, some will require you attend in a traditional classroom setting, but again, this will depend on your local state rules.  It could also depend on the kind of violation you committed and/or you’re deciding to take it voluntarily for insurance purposes, for example.  With all of this in mind, the costs of a defensive driving course can cost $20 to $50 if you take an online course.  This is for the school only and will not include any additional fees as mentioned below.

The AARP Driver Safety course is $19.95 for AARP members and $24.95 for non-member, for instance, and is designed to help you receive a multi-year discount on your auto insurance and reduce your chances of receiving a traffic violation and/or getting into an accident in the future.  This course is not state approved by the courts and is only designed for those who are looking to either reduce their insurance premiums and/or learn how to become a safer driver.

The American Safety Council, in conjunction with Geico, offers a course similar to AARP, with prices starting as low as $14.95, but the main website notes most courses will cost $19.95, depending on your local state.  These courses, just like the AARP, are designed for insurance premium discounts only and not as a point reduction option through local courts.

DrivingUniversity.com, for example, offers “simple” defensive driving course online that is designed to satisfy a court and help dismiss a traffic ticket and/or reduce fines.  Able to click around on the state map, this allows you to see how much your state could charge.  For example, in New Jersey, the online course through the company is $47, while Arizona is $37.95 for the course, plus court fees, a $20 supreme court fee and $45 state surcharge.

The extra costs to think about

Aside from the online course fees, you will also be responsible for the local court fees ($50-$250~) and administration/taxes ($10-$40).  Most schools, when you sign up online, will present you with a final total before you sign up for a course to know what you will be responsible for, but always read the fine print for any additional fees you may be responsible for.

Why would I need to take this course?

All states have its own rules, but for the majority, they may be required in order to remove points from your record, to reduce your insurance premium, as a requirement for a driver’s license reinstatement only if it’s due to points only and/or as an additional training method to further enhance your skills.  For most, these courses are often recommended by your local state authority and will not be required.

What should I expect in a class?

The classes, again, dependent upon which class you’re taking and your local state requirements, these courses typically last anywhere from six to eight hours, with some a bit shorter than this if you were to take an online course.  As for a traditional classroom setting, these classes are almost always one day long and will be completed at the end the of class day.  To know exactly how long your class will be, talk with your local court for an approved list to learn more about your options.

Tips to know

In order to take this type of course, schools will ask you have possession of a valid, non-commercial driver’s license, not completed a course within the recommended window, have an eligible moving violation as defined by your state, and for insurance purposes, a driving record and policy which makes you eligible for a premium reduction, according to DMV.org.  For instance, in Texas, you can only take this type of class every 12 months, while New York only allows a driver to take a course every 36 months.

Defensive driving courses, most of the time, will not remove a ticket from your driving record; instead, it is only designed to cancel points from your record, in the form of a reduction.

Even if you take and pass a course, you will have to pay your ticket, but depending on the court, they may lower your fines.

Before taking any course online, always make sure they are approved by your local state courts if you’re taking the course for point reduction purposes.  If you cannot find the confirmation on the website, then contact the company to confirm before signing up as many courses will not offer refunds.


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