Defensive Driving Courses in Texas

Defensive Driving Courses in Texas

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Taking a defensive-driving course in Texas can help you improve your driving skills, but it can also help you get points removed from your license and even save money on auto insurance in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR), anyone can take one of these courses voluntarily.

Benefits of taking a defensive-driving course in Texas

As a Texas motorist, you might take a driving safety course for a couple of reasons. If you're a younger driver, you'd probably enroll in the program to dismiss a speeding ticket. On the other hand, older drivers typically take the course to improve their driving skills and potentially enjoy lower auto insurance premiums. Either way, learning to drive safely can only prove to benefit 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, the state will remove a traffic violation from your record if you take a state-approved defensive-driving course. Most minor moving violations, such as speeding tickets, can be dismissed this way.

Texas keeps track of moving violations through its point system. Here's an example of how it works:

Let's say you receive a few citations for speeding over the course of three years, and you accumulate six driving points on your record. The state will charge you $100 for each infraction plus $25.99 for each point thereafter. So even though a moving violation results in a mere two points, they can easily pile up if you're not careful. The good news is that you won't have to pay the fine — and the violations won't impact your car insurance rates — if you choose to take a driving safety course.

You can ask to take a driving safety course and remove the points if you meet these 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 the 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, such as passing a school bus, and you provided proof of car insurance after your involvement in an accident.

Avoid a surcharge on your insurance premium

Your driving record can majorly influence your auto insurance rates. Generally, people with driving violations on their records will pay more because the insurer sees them as higher-risk drivers. But you might be able to remove points from your record — and save on car insurance — by taking a driving safety course.

Some insurers also provide discounts for people who take these courses, typically around 10% off the premium for three years. For example, we've found that Geico and State Farm offer this discount. But unlike some other states, the discount isn't mandatory — so check with your carrier to see whether a discount applies and how to earn it.

The Texas defensive-driving course curriculum

Providers that offer the driving safety course must follow 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 course typically takes six hours to complete — in person or online — and costs around $25 or less. The curriculum includes:

  • 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

The TDLR has also developed curriculum requirements for drivers younger than 25. The class must be four hours long, in-person and interactive. The curriculum includes the following 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, 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

Defensive-driving course providers in Texas

Texas offers defensive-driving classes across the state in both English and Spanish, either online or in person. (Drivers who are younger than 25 must take the course in person.)

If you're looking for scheduling flexibility, check out the state-approved online course providers below. With a traditional classroom setting, you'll finish the course within six hours. Some providers offer both online and on-site courses.

Provider

Class Format
Price
Contact information

ApprovedCourse.com

Online$25.00(800) 581-3997

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

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

247TexasDriverSafety.com

Online$25.00(888) 718-3927

Comedy Defensive Driving

Online, Classroom$25.00(866) 540-0584
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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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