Defensive driving courses can teach motorists how to operate safely behind the wheel, with potential discounts on their auto insurance premiums. Some states have benefits for drivers who voluntarily take a defensive driving class, however, Pennsylvania only provides discounts on improvement courses for mature drivers. The state makes a Basic Mature Driver Improvement Course and a Refresher Mature Driver Improvement Course available to drivers 55 years of age and older. After taking the initial basic course, mature drivers are entitled to receive a 5% discount on their car insurance. Every three years, a refresher course has to be taken to maintain the 5% discount. Always check with your insurer before registering for a class to see if you qualify.
Pennsylvania has the second largest population of senior citizens, 65 years of age and older, in the United States. There are 1.5 million licensed drivers in this age group that make up for 17% of Pennsylvania’s driving population. This is a large pool of motorists who have the option of shaving much needed dollars off of their monthly premiums after completing a PennDOT-approved defensive driving class.
Mature Driver Improvement Course in Pennsylvania
Mature Driver Improvement courses help drivers understand how aging affects driving and how roads have changed. The class is tailored toward issues facing senior drivers, including the top five causes of senior crashes and how to avoid them, as well as the effects of medication on driving. It also covers the basics of good driver practices containing maintaining a safe following distance, distractions, how to change lanes and turn at intersections safely, techniques to gain time for decisions, seat belts, time allocated to travel, route selection, fatigue, and updates on laws.
There are two types of mature driver improvement courses: the basic course and the refresher course. The initial basic course is at least 7 hours long and the refresher course is four hours long. Courses can be taken online or in a classroom.
- Basic Course: The fundamentals course totals seven hours of instruction, but must be split so that seniors take no more than four hours in one day. Must not exceed 35 students in one class or the maximum capacity of the room, whichever is less. Upon graduation, make sure to have copies of the basic class’s certificate of completion as it is needed as proof for the refresher course as well as the insurer to get the discount.
- Refresher Course: A four hour refresher covering all items taught in the basic class. Make sure a copy of the certificate of completion is given to the insurer to maintain the 5% discount. This class can be retaken every three years to renew the discount.
Mature Driver Improvement Courses Providers in Pennsylvania
Basic courses and refreshers cost the same with the same provider. If you are an AARP member interested in taking an improvement course, AARP offers the most affordable option. If you are not an AARP member, Seniors for Safe Driving also provides cheap classes. Below is a table of courses listed by provider:
*Members of these organizations are charged the lower numbers in the price range, while non-members pay the higher end of the price range.