Whether you want to reduce what you pay for car insurance every month or you need to fulfill traffic court requirements for a ticket, traffic school in Washington may be able to help. Besides those possible benefits, traffic school will also make you a better, more responsible driver, which means you'll be less likely to get tickets or have any accidents in the future. The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) mandates all traffic schools in the state, which are also called defensive driving courses.
The vast majority of drivers who take traffic school in Washington are doing so either because of a court requirement or a traffic ticket, or because they want to lower their insurance premiums.
For some moving violations, the traffic court will require that you complete traffic school. Even if they don't, it may still be beneficial to you, as you could get your traffic ticket deferred. That means that the ticket won't go on your driving record. Washington handles traffic tickets a bit differently than many other states. While traffic courts in the state won't dismiss a ticket when you complete traffic school, they may avoid reporting it to the DOL so it doesn't go on your driving record.
Your auto insurance company may have a safe driver discount available for completing traffic school. Make sure that you contact them before you sign up for traffic school to confirm that they offer a discount like this and that you'll be eligible for it. If you have a DUI then take a look at SR22 Washington State options.
Outside of keeping a ticket off your record or lowering your insurance premiums, traffic school will also benefit you by teaching you defensive driving techniques. If you take traffic school seriously, you can learn quite a bit about staying safer on the road. Traffic school will also have plenty of information on traffic laws in Washington, and you may find that there are some rules of the road that you didn't know about.
If you're planning to take traffic school in Washington for reasons related to a moving violation, then it's important to make sure that you're eligible for it first. The traffic court may notify you if you're eligible for traffic school, but you should also be able to find eligibility requirements on that traffic court's website. It's smart to contact the traffic court anyway so you can verify your eligibility. You'll need to contact the court anyway before your appearance date to let them know that you completed traffic school so they can defer your ticket .
While each court has its own eligibility requirements for traffic school, courts will only allow you to defer a ticket via traffic school if you don't have any other citations pending and if the ticket was only for a minor moving violation. Courts won't defer serious offenses just because you completed traffic school. Other common requirements include that you had a valid driver's license when you got the ticket, you only received a ticket for one violation, you were driving a non-commercial vehicle, and you haven't completed traffic school too recently. The court doesn't allow you to keep completing traffic school for every ticket. A standard time frame that will make you ineligible for taking traffic school again is 2 years, but it varies from court to court.
If you have court-ordered traffic school, there are two levels available. First-time offenders can take a Level 1 course, while habitual offenders or those who committed a severe violation must take a Level 2 course.
Washington has both online and classroom traffic schools available. Online traffic schools are a popular option because drivers can complete them on their own time without leaving their homes, although the online traffic school provider will likely require drivers to finish the course within a set amount of time.
The standard length of traffic school is 4 hours for a Level 1 course and 8 hours for Level 2 course. Each traffic school has its own courses, but you can expect any course to cover techniques for defensive driving, Washington traffic laws, and helpful tips to make you safer while you drive.
Courses typically have a final exam that you need to pass for successful completion of the course. If you fail the final exam, you may be able to retake it. Whether you can retake an exam and how many retakes you get depends on requirements set by your court and the DOL.
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