Traffic School Laws Regarding Senior Citizens and Minors

February 15, 2012

Depending on the state, traffic school laws can differ significantly based on age group. Learn more about how seniors and minors are affected.

Senior Traffic School Student

As with most other traffic-related regulations, traffic school laws for senior citizens vary by state. Many states have no restrictions for senior citizens other than the standard requirements for any citizen. But some states do. There are also some benefits for the senior citizen who gets additional traffic school training in the form of a refresher course.

Driver Refresher Course
Several online traffic schools offer defensive driving or driver refresher courses for drivers age 55 and up. The advantage to taking one of these courses is that it may help reduce your insurance premiums by five to 15 percent. With prices that can be as low as under $20.00 for an online course, it may be worth your time to check into this. It could result in significant insurance savings.

State Mandated Insurance Discounts
If you live in one of the following states, verify with your insurance company that insurance discounts are available if you take a refresher course: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

If you don't live in one of these states, still check with your insurance company. They may also offer a discount.

States with Senior Citizen Laws
Although the benefits are obvious for seniors who take a refresher course, there are states enacting tougher driving regulations for senior citizens. For example:

  • In California, when you reach the age of 70, the Department of Motor Vehicles requires renewals be in person rather than by mail. Also, if you have a medical condition that may affect your driving, a doctor may file a medical report
  • Oregon law requires drivers 50 and older to pass a vision test every eight years
  • In Iowa, although the driver's license examiner may, for example, restrict your driving to daylight only or driving no more than 35 mph, there is nothing that indicates this is strictly based on age

Be sure to stay aware of changes in driving regulations regarding senior citizens in your state.

Common Sense
In more ways than one, senior citizens need to be alert both on the road and off. If you find the fact that ailing bodily activities are not functioning as well as they used to, be wise enough to curtail your driving habits. Many senior citizens, for example, restrict their night time driving due to failing eyesight. Common sense on both sides may eliminate stiffer laws based on driver age.

Future Laws
There are painful examples of senior citizens causing terrible accidents and the future may not bode well for them. Regarding statistics on older drivers you may want to visit the National Highway Traffic Administration for more information. For example:

  • Massachusetts has considered legislation, though stalled, that would require drivers aged 75 or older to pass physical and cognitive tests when they renew their licenses
  • Oregon has considered legislation that would require those aged 75 and older to renew their driver's licenses every four years instead of the current eight

Traffic School Laws Regarding Minors

Traffic school laws regarding minors differ from the ones that apply to adults. The state requirements for minors attending traffic school vary across the country. Even those who are under 16 years old can be mandated to attend traffic school, depending on the situation, or risk not being able to get their license.

The Purpose of Traffic School for Minors
Some states believe that having a minor participate in traffic school is a form of correction that can help prevent future delinquent behaviors. Depending on the violation, the court can order a youth to attend traffic school as part of their sentence.

Going to Court
When a minor is ordered to go to court because of a traffic violation, they must appear with a parent or guardian. Failure to do so can result in the youth's arrest, suspension of their driver's license, or postponement of being able to attain one (if the minor is under the age of 16). Most driving schools will not admit a minor into their classes unless the court has ordered or scheduled them to do so.

In some states, if a minor is found at-fault in a traffic collision, they may have to go to court if a traffic law was violated, someone was injured or this was their second collision in a 24-month period.

Traffic School Laws Regarding Minors
Like adults, a minor will only be allowed to attend traffic school once every 12 or 18 months, depending on the state in which they live. If the minor was charged with reckless or negligent driving, they may not be eligible to attend courses. For those who do go to traffic school, they will be required to pass a final exam. In many instances, if the test isn't passed the first time, a youth can take it over until they do receive a passing score.

Traditionally, an adult that attends traffic school must do so within 13 weeks of a court appearance or bail notice. Minors, however, typically only have 8 weeks to complete their traffic school requirements. Counties throughout the U.S. differ on the type of traffic school a minor can attend: some allow youth to complete their courses online while others don't. Once a minor has completed their traffic school courses, they must show proof of this to the courts and pay a fee.

Some states require a minor to have a learner's permit for at least year and not receive any violations in that amount of time. If a minor does have a traffic violation within that time period, they can choose to attend traffic school so they don't have to wait longer to receive a driver's license.

It's easier for an adult to attend traffic school than it is for a minor. The traffic laws in place in each state exist to help encourage young drivers be safe and responsible.

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