If you've received a traffic ticket in Rhode Island, or if you're looking for a way to lower what you pay for auto insurance, then traffic school may be an option for you. For court-ordered traffic school, which is also known as a defensive driving course, the Rhode Island DMV and the state's traffic courts provide programs through the Community College of Rhode Island. You can look for other traffic school options if you're taking traffic school for insurance reasons or simply to improve your driving skills.
The primary benefit of completing a defensive driving course, whether you're required to take one or you're taking it voluntarily, is that it will make you a more responsible driver. The techniques you learn through your course can help you reduce your risk of accidents and traffic tickets in the future. A course can also help quite a bit if you seem to keep receiving tickets for the same moving violations.
For court-ordered traffic school, you'll need to complete a defensive driving course to satisfy the terms of your punishment. Failure to do so could result in additional fines and even the suspension of your Rhode Island driver's license.
The insurance industry isn't getting any cheaper so its important to look for discounts. Your insurance company may apply a discount to your auto insurance premium after you successfully complete a defensive driving course. This is typically known as a safe driver discount, and while insurance companies most often offer these to younger and elderly drivers, you could be eligible for one, as well. If not, you may want to look around for other insurance companies offering more discount options.
For a court-ordered defensive driving course, your only option is the DDC/Defensive Driving program held at the Warwick campus of the Community College of Rhode Island. This program takes 4 hours to complete, and you'll receive a registration packet in the mail. You can either complete this registration packet and send it back with the program fee, or go to the Rhode Island DMV at the following address to register:
600 New London Ave
Cranston, Rhode Island 02920
Registering at the college itself is not an option, and your registration is only completed after you've paid the program fee of $165. The court will send you all the information you need about your defensive driving course within 4 weeks after your court date.
If you're taking a defensive driving course voluntarily to benefit yourself or to reduce your insurance premiums, you'll have more program options available, including local and online programs . You can find programs by contacting the Rhode Island DMV, checking the phone book, searching for courses online, or contacting your insurance company. It's wise to check with your insurance company first if you're taking the course for a lower insurance premium, that way you can make sure that your insurance company offers this type of discount and you can check if they have any requirements for the course you take. If you recently got a DUI then take a look at SR22 insurance Rhode Island options.
While defensive driving courses vary a bit, they all tend to cover the same general information. You can expect to learn tips on defensive driving, how to build responsible driving habits, the traffic laws in Rhode Island, dealing with emergencies and hazards on the road, alcohol and drug-related offenses, and sharing the road with other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
For a classroom course, you'll take the entire 4-hour course in one day, typically with a short break in the middle. Online courses allow you to work at your own pace, although you still may need to complete the course within a designated time frame after you start it. If you don't complete it within that time frame, you'll end up failing the course and you'll need to pay another program fee to take it again.
At the end of your defensive driving course, there will probably be a final exam on all the information that you just learned. Successfully completing the course requires passing that exam. If you followed along during the course and stayed focused, this exam shouldn't prove too difficult. You may have the option of retaking your final exam if you fail, but this will depend on the course.
When you complete a defensive driving course, the program provider issues you a certificate of completion. For a court-ordered defensive driving course, it's important to verify to the court that you completed your course before your deadline. The court will explain what you need to do after completing your course in the information that it sends you. If you took the course to get an insurance discount, you can simply show your insurance company your certificate of completion.