Find Defensive Driving Courses In California

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


Defensive driving courses in California help motorists improve their driving skills and, in turn, help make the beautiful open roads of CA safer for everyone. Whether you need to enroll in a traffic school because of a negative driving record, you’re looking into potential savings with your car insurance company, or you want to be a better driver, these courses may be suited for you. Let’s look at what you can expect when considering enrollment into a driving course in California. 

What is a defensive driving course?

Defensive driving courses are state-approved classes through either an in-classroom or online platform offered to licensed drivers in California to improve driving skills. Motorists who receive traffic citations can utilize this course to help reduce traffic points on driver’s licenses, and others choose to enroll for its insurance premium savings voluntarily. 

Standard defensive driving courses are generally 2.5 hours long in California. Once you complete the course, you’ll need to take a state assessment. If you pass your assessment, you’ll receive a certificate of completion, indicating that you’ve passed all requirements to reduce traffic points or obtain a premium discount. 

What will you learn in a defensive driving course in California?

In just 2.5 hours, you’ll learn many techniques and tips on driving as safely as possible. Some of these topics include the following:

  • Traffic accident statistics
  • The dangers of driving under the influence
  • Child and adult safety equipment
  • California state traffic laws
  • Best practices to try and prevent accidents

If you’re 55 and older, you can take a mature-driver improvement course that could help you obtain an auto insurance discount ranging from 5% to 15% off your annual premium. These courses are initially six to seven hours long, plus assessment time. 

Should you choose to renew your course, it’s generally around 4 hours long. Once you receive your insurance discount following a driving course, the discount will be good for three years.

Who is eligible to take a defensive driving course?

Most licensed drivers in California will find that they’re eligible for defensive driving courses. However, there are some specific qualifications you must meet. 

You must have a non-commercial driver’s license, which must be valid. And if you have any traffic violations on your driving record, they must be for minor traffic violations (such as speeding 25 MPH or below the speed limit). If your driving offense was criminal such as drug-related or a non-moving offense, you won’t be eligible for traffic school. 

You must also not have completed a traffic school course within the last 18 months, and ensure you pay all court fees and traffic tickets before enrolling in the defensive driving course. Suppose you’re attending traffic school due to driving infractions. In that case, the court within the county where you receive the violation will send a notice letting you know that you qualify for traffic school.

Benefits of taking a defensive driving course

The benefits of enrolling in a defensive driving course are plentiful. If you’re a first-time driver, these courses can help you attain the necessary tools for learning driving safety and help improve the overall safety of our roads. 

Insurance companies often offer discounts for drivers who successfully pass a defensive driving course. These courses are also incredibly beneficial for senior drivers who are 55 and up. 

The course allows these drivers to improve their driving abilities. For drivers who have traffic citations and points on their driver’s licenses, these courses help reduce points, potentially eliminating the risk of a license suspension. 

Some of the most common violations that lead motorists to these courses are failure to follow traffic signals, at-fault car accidents, and speeding. When you start accumulating traffic points on your license, you’ll undoubtedly see an increase in insurance rates. 

You can help prevent this by enrolling in a course to bring these points down. In addition to higher rates, your license can be suspended with the following point thresholds:

  • Four points within a 12-month timeframe.
  • Six points within a 24-month timeframe.
  • Eight points within a 36-month timeframe.

Cheap online defensive driving courses in California

In today’s world, most people prefer utilizing the internet and all it offers. One of the benefits of the internet is the easy and accessible means to complete pertinent courses such as defensive driving courses. And in addition to taking the course online, you can take your driving assessment online. 

Online defensive driving courses are incredibly affordable for California drivers. All traffic schools in which you’d take the course have been in business for at least 15 years and are all approved through California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Most courses start at just $5 and increase in cost by about $30. 

The most affordable online course is through 5 Bucks Traffic School and will only cost you $5 to enroll. On the more expensive side, you can join a class with Atlas Traffic School for $21.95.


How long is a defensive driving course?

Defensive driving course times vary depending on which state you live in. However, in California, the course is 2.5 hours long. After completing the course, you’ll need to dedicate more time to taking the assessment. Defensive driving courses usually vary by state, but in California, the standard defensive driving course is 2.5 hours long plus assessment time.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is how you exercise defense and smart driving tactics. This type of driving helps improve road safety for everyone driving by helping to prevent accidents and keep you safe. This course goes far beyond the initial driving school you attend to obtain a driver’s license. 

How much do defensive driving courses cost?

Defensive driving courses are affordable for most, starting at $5. The maximum cost of attending one of these courses is $30, plus an additional $1 charge to obtain your DMV certificate that you’ll present to your insurer as proof of a completed course. Then, you’ll be able to receive insurance discounts. 

Are you interested in learning more about how your insurance relates to your driving record?

Having points on your license will hurt your insurance rates. Defensive driving courses are an excellent solution for lowering those points, which can result in lower insurance prices. Please call our team today if you’re interested in speaking with one of our licensed insurance agents regarding this. We can help answer any questions you may have and provide you with multiple quotes if you’re looking to save on your current insurance policy.