Defensive Driving Courses in Minnesota

Defensive Driving Courses in Minnesota

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Minnesota drivers aged 55 and above can easily get a 10% discount on their automobile insurance by taking eight hours’ worth of defensive driver training. In Minnesota, this training program is called an Accident Prevention Course, and it comes in two formats: online or classroom. Apart from getting a discount on their car insurance, Minnesota motorists can also use the course to reinstate their suspended driver’s licenses.

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Benefit of taking a defensive driving course in Minnesota

Any motorist of any age can attend a driver improvement program approved by Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety. But this is especially beneficial to senior citizens, as well as those who need to get their licenses back after a suspension.

Auto insurance discount for drivers 55 years old and above

Aging can bring with it vision impairment, deteriorating reflexes and bad judgment calls. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to give up on driving. You can still drive longer by driving safer. Minnesota has decreed Statute S65B.28 to entitle drivers 55 years and older to receive at least a 10% discount on their insurance policies, provided they voluntarily enroll and successfully complete an accredited accident prevention course.

For first-time course takers, most class providers offer an 8-hour course to qualify you for the discount. Your car insurer must honor your course completion certificate, and apply the discount toward your insurance premiums for three years. Renewing this privilege is even easier.

According to Statute S65B.28, as long as you’ve taken the initial 8-hour program, a shortened 4-hour version will suffice to re-qualify you for rate reduction eligibility. Instead of retaking the full course, you can simply complete the 4-hour refresher course and still get your 10% rate reduction eligibility. After taking the refresher course, you will have to continue doing so every three years to keep the discount.

Pre-requisite for driver’s license reinstatement

Unlike other states, Minnesota does not track its drivers through a points system. It does, however, pay close attention to your traffic record. Upon learning that you’ve exhibited a history of unsafe driving practices, the Driver and Vehicle Services Department may consider suspending your license. In such a situation, you may elect to participate in a defensive driving course in order to have your license reinstated.

The Minnesota defensive driving curriculum

State-approved traffic safety schools present a variety of course outlines. But the curriculum that is most recognized by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is AARP’s 55 Alive Class Curriculum. Most traffic schools refer to the 55 Alive format when crafting their 8-hour and 4-hour lesson plans. Program topics include:

  • How to reduce traffic violations, crashes and injuries
  • How to control emotions when stuck in traffic
  • How to compensate for age-related physical and mental changes
  • Learning about special, easy-to-operate driving devices designed for safety
  • Updating one's knowledge of Minnesota’s road rules and regulations

Almost all traffic schools require that you pass a final exam, usually in the form of a 50-question multiple-choice test, to graduate. This applies to both classroom and online courses. If you attend the program in a traditional classroom, the 8-hour course will normally run for two days at four hours per session.

If you take the course online, you can pace your lessons according to your personal schedule. Once you’ve accomplished either the 8-hour program or the 4-hour refresher course, the traffic school will give you a Certification of Completion, which you will submit to your insurance company. This is your solid proof that you have earned your right to the road and the right to cheaper auto insurance in Minnesota.

Minnesota defensive driving course providers

The State’s Department of Public Safety has listed certified traffic schools for you. The price catalog you see here are for online courses. Classroom rates are given when you’ve decided where you’d like to take the program, and when it would be most convenient for you. Location and schedule options are readily available on the providers’ websites.

Also in this list are some community centers that offer driver improvement classes as part of its enrichment service to the public. The likes of District 309 Community Education and Bemidji District 31 Community Education have less frequent class times but keep their sites updated for upcoming defensive driving course timetables.

Provider (link)*

Class Format
Contact Information (phone)
Initial Price
Refresher Price

Minnesota Safety Council

Classroom; Online(800) 444-9150$25.00$21.38

AARP Driver Safety Program

Classroom; Online(800) 350-7025$24.95$21.95

Minnesota Highway Safety & Research Center

Classroom; Online(320) 308-3081$24.95$21.95

District 309 Community Education

Classroom(218) 237-6600$25.00$20.00

Fergus Falls Public Schools

Classroom(218) 998-0544$25.00$20.00

Bemidji District 31 Community Education

Classroom(218) 333-3284$25.00$20.00

I Drive Safely, L.L.C.

Online(800) 448-7916$19.95$17.95

Mid-County Driving School

Classroom(320) 365-3356$25.00$20.00

TrafficSchool.com

Online(800) 691-5014$19.95$17.95

212 Senior Driving School

Classroom(320) 329-3949$24.00$20.00
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*The list of providers is based on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's list of approved providers. Our listing has been modified based on providers with valid websites for consumers' convenience and does not represent any affiliation or commercial relationship with the providers.

Sources:

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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