How Does Driving School Point Reduction Work?

October 30, 2013

Going to driving school is one of the easiest ways to get a point reduction on your driver's license. If you are facing the possibility of your license being revoked due to points, driving school is one of the only ways to reduce your point total. In addition, many insurance companies offer a discount to drivers that have attended a certified defensive driving course.

What are Points?
Points are used by some states to track driver records and red flag dangerous or careless drivers. The state assigns various points to your license depending on the infraction. While you may only receive two points for a speeding ticket, more serious offenses like DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) could result in 25 points. Most states that use the point system allow you to accumulate a certain number of points per year before your license is restricted, suspended or revoked. Your driver's license is regulated by your individual state, so not every state uses a point system. Check with your local DMV for details regarding your state.

Point Reduction Programs
Certain states allow drivers to take a defensive driving class to reduce the points on their license. It is important to verify that your state DMV has certified the program, as not every state allows point reduction. Every state has different rules and regulations pertaining to point reduction as well, so make sure you are eligible before you sign up for any classes. The majority of states only allow you to take point reduction classes once every 18 months. You can also only take a class to reduce points that are already on your license. If you take the class and are ticketed later, that class cannot be used to reduce those points.

How Many Points?
The number of points that can be reduced by taking a class varies. It is usually in the range of four to six points. This will help eliminate the points that result from a speeding ticket, but are not going to clear your record after a more serious infraction. These classes can often reduce your point total enough to prevent your license from being revoked or suspended.

In-Class or Online?
Some states allow you to take defensive driving courses online while others require a classroom setting. It is best to check with your local DMV with regards to their guidelines and requirements. There are a number of online schools to choose from, but some of them can be a bit dubious. Always check to make sure they are qualified before signing up.

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Certificate of Completion
Once you have found a school and completed your course, it is necessary to get a certificate of completion to present to the DMV. It is often possible to mail your certificate in, but some states require it be brought in in person. All states require proof of completion, so be sure you get your certificate when you finish your class.

Reducing the points on your license can help lower the cost of your insurance premiums, and in some cases, it can prevent the suspension of your license.

How to Obtain a Point Reduction

When it comes to getting a point reduction on your license, there are several avenues you can explore. There are a few ways to reduce the points on your license, and it is important you do so if you can. Points on your driving record will usually increase your auto insurance premiums. The more tickets you get shows that you have a higher risk of getting into future unsafe driving situations. This puts more risk on the insurance company and because of this, you get a higher rate. By reducing the points on your license, you can have lower premiums. Here are three ways to lower points.

Fight It
When people get tickets, often they just pay the fines to be done with it. However, for offenses that put points on your record, it is imperative for you to fight the ticket in court. Paying the fines will not get your points erased. Depending on the state, your points can stay on your record for five or more years. Fighting the ticket in court can normally get the points taken off your record. Sometimes they offer deals and let you just pay a bigger fine in return for no points. If you go to court, you may get lucky and the issuing officer may not even show and you will win. Even if the police officer does show, you may end up with a point reduction if the offense was something small like a lane violation or a seat belt violation.

Wait It Out
Depending on your state, the time the points stay on your record will vary. One way to get your points reduced is just to wait it out, and let them fall of your record. Some states require a few years, some are only a year. The quicker it gets off the better.

Defensive Driving Class
One way to get your points reduced is to take a defensive driving or traffic safety course. Some states allow for online driving courses. By taking this class for a few hours, you will learn safe driving tips, and hopefully reduce the number of tickets you get. Make sure that the course is approved by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. The course must be approved in order for you to get any type of point reduction. This is not always an option. States only allow you to take this course so often as a way to reduce your points. Often it is two years or more, so be careful.

How to Find a DMV Approved Point Reduction Course

If you want to be sure that a course is approved by your state's motor vehicle department, you should contact them first. The DMV.ORG website will enable you to find links to obtain information about your own state's motor vehicle department. This is a commercial website and is not operated by your state's government. However, the website may be very helpful for you. Once you have located your DMV, you can contact them directly to ask if they can recommend a traffic school that offers a point reduction course.