Defensive Driving: Does It Make “Cents”?

Are Online Defensive Driving Classes Approved and Accepted?

We get asked all the time by clients if I think they should take a Defensive Driving class.  Most questions typically begin with, “Will this help me get out of a ticket?”  My answer is always the same.  It depends.  What were you caught doing, how many other tickets have you gotten, do you have 6 hours available and how much is your fine?


Defensive Driving courses cost $75 and traffic citation fines can be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than a thousand so $75 is always a better deal if you are given the option.


Does it make financial sense to take 6 hours off of work?  If you make more than $100 an hour and you will lose out on thousands of dollars, you may have good reason to plead guilty and move on.  If you don’t, keep reading.  When you receive a ticket, also keep in mind that your auto insurance will go up for at least a year or two as well so remember to tack on at least $10 (which is low) to your insurance every month on top of your fine and that’s what your ticket will cost you.  So to think you’d be better off working or just pleading guilty, you’d have to be making at least $125 per hour if your fine was around $500 to make any financial sense not to take the class.


A good idea to determine if Defensive Driving is the right thing for you to do is after you have received a ticket, call or go meet with the solicitor of the court where your traffic case has been assigned.  Sometimes if you ask nicely and say you screwed up and that you are sorry, the court may agree to let you take the Defensive Driving program and in turn will help you out by reducing your fine or even lower the seriousness of your violation by dropping your speed down to something that is not reported to the Department of Driver Services.  If it’s not for speeding, then find out if there is a lesser charge they will agree to so not as many points will go onto your driving record.  It cannot hurt and the best case is they agree and the court will let you take one.


What if you don’t have a ticket and just want to become a better driver or lower your insurance costs. Yes and Yes.  If you want to better understand the rules of the road, what to do in an emergency, how to drive safer or how to be on the lookout for bad drivers plus a host of other things, this course makes sense too.  If you have a clean driving record, you can also lower your insurance costs by 10% a year for three years by taking this course.  $600 premium per year x 3 years = $1800. 10% of $1800 = $180.  Defensive Driving costs $75.  You save on average $105.


Every situation and court is different so there is no guarantee but does Defensive Driving make sense?  I’d say it does for almost anyone that wants to save some money and can get a court to agree to it.  What do you think?


Author: Jon Updyke

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