Arizona has two different types of traffic school: defensive driving courses and traffic survival school. When you take a defensive driving course, you may be able to get your traffic ticket dismissed, prevent points from being added to your driving record or lower your car insurance rates. Traffic survival school is intended for serious offenses or habitual offenders, and this type of traffic school is court mandated.
Defensive driving courses are an option for drivers who received a traffic ticket in Arizona, including Arizona residents and out-of-state drivers. If you're eligible, you can take a defensive driving course to have the traffic court dismiss your ticket. This will keep you from accumulating points on your driving record and prevent your insurance premiums from going up. You can also take one of these courses voluntarily for a possible insurance discount or to build safer driving habits.
You can choose classroom or online defensive driving courses, depending on which option is more convenient and beneficial for you. Some drivers find that they learn better in the classroom environment where they can ask the instructor questions. Online courses are very convenient, and may be the only option for out-of-state drivers.
To get a ticket dismissed, you will need to go to an approved defensive driving course provider. Approved providers vary depending on the county that issued your traffic ticket. The Paradise Valley Municipal Court has its own list of approved providers . For other counties, you can visit the Arizona Judicial Courts website and choose your county for a list of approved providers.
There are several important eligibility requirements that you must meet to get your ticket dismissed. You can only take a defensive driving course for the dismissal of one violation, and you can't get a dismissal if you were in an accident that involved a serious injury or a death. You need to have a non-commercial driver's license. You must take and complete your defensive driving course 7 days or more before your court date, and you won't be able to get a dismissal if you've already had a ticket dismissed this way in the previous 12 months.
Only certain violations qualify for dismissal. The Arizona courts include a full list of eligible violations on their website.
Arizona has a point system where each violation adds a certain number of points to your driving record. The only way to prevent these points from going on your record is by having the ticket dismissed. The state doesn't offer any point reduction when you complete a defensive driving course.
If you get too many points on your driving record, punishments may include suspension of your driver's license, fines, a revoked license or other penalties. The court may also mandate that you go to traffic survival school.
If you want to earn a discount on your car insurance by taking a defensive driving course, contact your insurance company first, as they may or may not offer this. However having a DUI on your record does change things. Refer to our more in-depth article about SR22 insurance Arizona policy requirements and options.
The standard length of a defensive driving course in Arizona is between 4 and 4 ½ hours for both classroom and online courses. With a classroom course, you'll complete it within one session. An online course will include that many hours of course material, but you can typically start and stop these courses as you please.
Expect your defensive driving course to cover techniques that will make you a safer driver and traffic laws in Arizona. When you complete a defensive driving course, the course provider will give you a certificate of completion. If you took the course to get a ticket dismissed, you'll need to show this certificate to the court. If you took it for an insurance discount, then you can show the certificate to your insurance company.
A traffic court may mandate that you to go to traffic survival school for an offense, or the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) may require it if you get 8 points on your driving record within a 12-month time period and are in danger of a suspended license. Other violations that automatically require taking traffic survival school reckless or aggressive driving convictions, running red lights, and convictions for violations that involve a death or serious injury. If a driver isn't 18 years old yet, then any moving violation results in a trip to traffic school.
Traffic survival school will have safe driving techniques and information on Arizona's traffic laws, just like a defensive driving course. It will also focus on building responsible driving habits and improving your attitude towards driving. When you finish traffic survival school, you must notify your traffic court.