A defensive driving course in Texas is referred to as a Driving Safety Course by the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR). According to the TDLR, a Driving Safety Course is meant to improve a driver’s knowledge, perception, and attitude about driving. It can also be very helpful in dismissing a traffic violation ticket. And, it’s an assurance that can help your auto insurance rates in TX stay low. Anyone with the desire to enhance their road responsibility is eligible to take the course as long as they do so voluntarily.
Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course in Texas
As a Texas motorist, you can take the Driving Safety Course for a couple of different reasons. If you’re a younger driver, you’d most probably enroll in the program to dismiss a speeding ticket. On the other hand, if you’re an older driver, you’d most likely take the course for the savings you can get out of it. After all, a clean driving record helps maintain your auto insurance premium at a lower rate. Either way, learning to drive defensively can only prove to be advantageous to you in the long run.
Dismissing a Traffic Violation Ticket in Texas
Article 45.0511 of the Texas State Code of Criminal Procedure specifies that under certain circumstances, you can have the evidence of a traffic violation taken off your record if you take a State-approved defensive driving course. Most minor moving violations, such as speeding tickets, can be dismissed this way.
This is possible because Texas has a driver improvement initiative called the Driver Responsibility Program, which reflects your road performance through a monitored point system. Say you accumulate 6 driving points on your record - for going slightly over the speed limit - in a span of three years. The State will charge you $100 for such an infraction. A point gained over 6 is worth $25.99 each. So even though a moving violation increases your record by a mere two points, it can easily pile up if you’re not careful. The good news is that you won’t have to pay the fine if you elect to take a Driving Safety Course instead.
You’re qualified to request the court for a Driving Safety Course option if you meet the following conditions:
- You were not driving a commercial vehicle when you received the traffic ticket.
- You haven't taken a court-ordered defensive driving course in Texas in 12 months prior to receiving your ticket.
- You have a valid Texas driver's license.
- Your ticket wasn't issued for a serious traffic violation like passing a school bus or failing to stay and provide information after your involvement in an accident.
Avoid a Surcharge on Your Insurance Premium
How your driving record fares has an impact on your auto insurance. Insurance companies typically prefer policyholders who maintain a clean driving background. Your agency can easily hike up your insurance rate as soon as two demerit points appear on your record. This is due to the fact that demerit points can automatically label you as a high-risk driver. To prevent this from happening, the best solution is to stay safe and responsible on the road. By taking a Driving Safety Course, you can avoid committing traffic violations, thereby avoiding possible surcharges on your premium.
Additionally, some insurance carriers can offer you a driver improvement discount for taking the course. This is solely upon the discretion of your company. Unlike other States, earning an insurance discount for completing a defensive driving course is not mandated by Texas Law. However, some carriers do take it upon themselves to reward you for your efforts by giving you a 10% discount on your rate for three years. For example, we've found that GEICO and State Farm offer this discount. Interested drivers should check with their carriers to see what the eligibility requirements are.
But since the TDLR does not include this benefit as a legal privilege, it would be best to inquire from your insurance company if it puts value on Driving Safety Course completion - especially if you’re planning to take the course for a discount.
The Texas Defensive Driving Course Curriculum
Texas’ Driving Safety Course Providers are required by law to offer a curriculum that meets the standards legislated in Chapter 1001 of the Texas Education Code. TDLR’s objective is to ensure that the schools, course providers, and instructors are qualified to develop and offer courses that truly make safer drivers out of every motorist.
For adult drivers, the Driving Safety Course will at least be six hours, held in a classroom or online, and cost $25 or less. The curriculum will include:
- Alcohol and drug awareness
- Traffic laws of the State
- Highway signs, signals, and markings that regulate, warn, or direct traffic
- Issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, including poor decision-making, risk taking, impaired driving, distraction, speed, failure to use a safety belt, driving at night, failure to yield the right-of-way, and using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle
Likewise, the TDLR has catered curriculum requirements for courses taken by drivers younger than 25 years of age. The class must be four hours live, interactive, and must include these topics:
- Alcohol and drug awareness
- Traffic laws of the State
- High rate of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities for drivers younger than 25 years of age
- Issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents involving drivers younger than 25 years of age, including poor decision-making, risk taking, impaired driving, distraction, speed, failure to use a safety belt, driving at night, failure to yield the right-of-way, and using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle, and the role of peer pressure in these incidents
- The effect of poor driver decision-making on the family, friends, school, and community of a driver younger than 25 years of age
- The importance of taking control of potentially dangerous driving situations both as a driver and as a passenger
- To complete the course, the young driver must submit a written commitment to family and friends that he will not engage in dangerous driving habits
As anyone within driving age can take the Driving Safety Course, Texas has made the program accessible to everyone. Classes can be attended in locations all across the State, in both English and Spanish. If you can't make it to a classroom, you can take the course online either as an interactive program or a video with an audio read-along feature.
The Texas department has approved the web providers below, all of which offer the Driving Safety Course at $25. This is the training format you should choose if you want more flexibility in your schedule as you take the course.
The Department has also approved Driving Safety Course providers in traditional classroom set-ups. Each traffic school has sit-down sessions in almost every city in Texas. The price varies depending on the facility you choose to attend. What’s constant is that with this kind of class format, you are guaranteed to finish the course within the obligatory 6-hour period. Some providers - DriversEd, Comedy Defensive Driving, MyImprov, and The Safe Driver Centre Course, to name a few - serve the Texas’ driving public with both online and on-site courses.
|Provider||Class Format||Price||Contact Information|
|DriversEd.com||Online, Classroom||$25.00||(877) 877-2525|
|I Drive Safely||Online, Video||$25.00||(800) 723-1955|
|MyImprov Comedy Defensive Driving||Online, Classroom||$25.00||(800) 660-8908|
|Driving University||Online||$25.00||(877) 937-4846|
|Gently’s Online Defensive Driving||Online||$25.00||(800) 449-0581|
|USA Driver Safety Course||Online||$25.00||(800) 980-2170|
|Aceable Defensive Driving||Online, Video||$25.00||(512) 522-4174|
|Safety-Ed||Online. Video||$25.00||(800) 980-2175|
|Texas Defensive Driving School||Online||$25.00||(866) 942-1937|
|Express Lane Defensive Driving||Online||$25.00||(855) 366-1814|
|Comedy Defensive Driving||Online, Classroom||$25.00||(866) 540-0584|
|iDefensiveDriving||Online, Video||$25.00||(800) 446-1840|
|The Safe Driver Centre Course||Online, Classroom||$25.00||(713) 664-4808|
|Defensive Driving Solutions||Online, Video||$25.00||(866) 777-9366|
|All-American Driving School||Classroom (Crandall, Forney, Mesquite, Garland, Rockwall, Plano, and Wylie)||$30.00||(972) 772-8888|
|Comedy Defensive Driving||Classroom (Amarillo, Arlington, Bedford, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Irving, and Plano)||$25.00||(866) 540-0584|
|DriveWise Driving School||Classroom (Houston, Texas City, Webster, Pasadena, Humble, Pearland, Baytown, Spring, and South Loop)||$40.00||(281) 444-5844|
|Comedy Guys Defensive Driving||Classroom (Mesquite, Carrollton, Plano, Dallas, Tyler, Forth Worth, Houston, and Hurst)||$39.95||(877) 826-6339|