Online Traffic School: Why It’s The Only Way to Go

Back in the “old” days, traffic school used to be such a drag. You had to devote a whole day and spend many hours in a classroom, listening to a boring instructor drone on and on (and on) about the vehicle code. Nobody (not even a shut-in with no social life) really wanted to be there. Oh sure, they added some catchy names with Comedy and Quick but the DMV tightly controlled the curriculum and there was only so much comedy that was allowed for a such a serious subject matter. Plus, comedy traffic school attracts a  roomful of class clowns who all think they are funnier than the instructor and each other, and rather than being entertaining, the constant wisecrackery and attention seeking becomes tedious quickly.   But, in the end, the classroom was the only choice other than a blotch on an otherwise unblemished driving record and hundreds of dollars a year in increased insurance rates. So we held our noses and off we went.

Fast forward about 20 years. If you get issued a ticket in the state of California, you now have some very different traffic school options. But don’t worry, if you’re a glutton for punishment, the “traditional” classroom style course still exists. But the rest of us without masochistic tendencies would be better off exploring the many home study and internet schools.

Whatever you choose, you can only take traffic school once every 18 months for a one point violation. Technically speaking, the 18 months is the time between tickets, not between traffic school completion dates. One point violations are your typical moving violations like speeding, illegal lane changes, or running a stop sign or red light. They don’t include more serious violations like excessive speeding, reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you take traffic school for a traffic violation and the court dismisses your case, your driving record will be effectively wiped clean of that one point violation, so your insurance company won’t raise your rates.

So how do you choose a traffic school? Typically, the court will provide you a partial list of licensed schools, or send you to the DMV web site. We say partial list because the court can only take a “snapshot” of the DMV list and they must update that list every 30 days. These days, courts don’t want to spend extra money on paper, which is why you only get a partial list. You will need to visit the DMV web site for a full list of schools.

If you’ve ever been to the DMV site, you know it can be a very humbling experience. Not only are there many choices for you to consider, the DMV site really blows (see our companion post why The DMV Web Site Sucks). But then again, what have we come to expect from government sponsored websites? So even if you decide on a home study or internet course, read our post How to Choose a Good Traffic School to really get the skinny on what’s important in your selection. We will save you lots of time and aggravation.

Ok, so with so many choices, what to do? We’ve done a lot of the work for you here at but we really recommend you choose an internet school. Here is why: The two main reasons are flexibility and speed. Instead of being tightly held to a rigid classroom schedule and being treated like a 3rd grader, you can work from the comfort of your own home or office. You can even do what we do and do the course in your underwear or pajamas. (Note: No pants in a public setting could get you arrested.)  You can work when you want to work and where you want to work, as long as you have access to a web browser and an internet connection. Because of this new found flexibility, you are also free to do the course as fast or as slowly as you want. Most people finish in much less time than what an all day school takes, and if you follow our tips in another post (How to Speed through Traffic School), you will really finish fast. Oh, by the way, you do have a final choice. You can also fight the ticket. But before you decide to go that route, take our advice and read our post Traffic School vs Fighting the Ticket.

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This entry was posted onThursday, December 5th, 2013 at 6:55 pm and is filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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