UPDATED: FEBRUARY 09, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
Drivers in Texas need options when it comes to removing points from their driver’s license. Even the most careful motorist can get an unexpected ticket. When this happens, not only will they face yearly penalties until the points are removed, but their car insurance rates will skyrocket, too. Thankfully, defensive driving courses in Texas are a quick and inexpensive way to help fix the problem.
Traffic ticket dismissal in Texas
The Texas Driver Responsibility Program is a points-based system that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) uses to discourage dangerous driving. Moving violations will accrue 2 points. Moving violations that cause an accident will add 3 points to a driver’s license. The driver will be issued an annual surcharge when they reach 6 points are higher.
There are three ticket dismissal options for drivers who want to remove points from their driver’s license:
- Pay the fine in installments or upfront. Points from serious moving violations (like a DUI) will stay on the driver’s license for 3 years, no matter what. The driver will be charged a specific fee each year for those violations. But motorists have the option to pay all three years off upfront and get the points removed immediately.
- Wait, and keep a clean driving record. For each consecutive 12-month period that a driver goes without adding points to their license, 1 will be removed. But this only applies to lesser violations like speeding tickets.
- Take driving safety courses. This expedites the removal of points from a driver’s license for lesser violations. It does not apply to serious moving violations.
Texas traffic tickets dramatically increase insurance rates
The more moving violations a driver has on their license, the more their car insurance rates will increase. This is on top of the $100 fine per violation and the $25.99 per point surcharge which the driver will have to pay annually to the TDLR. Taking a driver safety course is a quick and effective way to reduce TDLR surcharges and earn lower insurance premiums.
Defensive driving course requirements
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as paying for a course, showing up, and earning a certificate of completion.
A defensive driving course only removes points if the following criteria are met:
- The motorist has a valid Texas driver’s license
- The violation is a minor one (this excludes DUIs, speeding > 25 MPH, etc)
- The violation occurred while driving a non-commercial vehicle
- The citation date is 12 months or more after the driver’s most recent defensive driving course
- (If stemming from an accident) the driver provided current and valid proof of car insurance coverage
This means that serious moving violations, tickets received while driving for work, coverage lapses, and license suspensions will prevent motorists from using a defensive driving course to clear points from their record. They are also limited to one course per year between violations.
The many benefits of a driving safety course
For starters, there’s a personal benefit to the driver who completes the course. Some motorists may approach the material unseriously, assuming they’re already great drivers and don’t need to learn anything new or different. But it’s best to keep an open mind in hopes of learning something that can help prevent future tickets after course completion.
There are also many financial benefits for the driver. Even a minor speeding ticket will cost a motorist $151.98 per year until the points are removed. The more points and violations the driver has, the more they have to pay in annual surcharges. Removing those points could save drivers hundreds per year – but that isn’t the only place it’ll save them money.
Auto insurance companies like to reward drivers who proactively demonstrate responsibility behind the wheel. The more responsible they are, the fewer claims they will file, which is good for the company’s bottom line. Many insurance providers will reward drivers with discounts for driver education even if they don’t have any points to remove. That’s why these classes are such a powerful step toward getting the lowest price available.
Texas motorists become safer drivers
The more Texans who complete a defensive driving class, the safer roads will be overall. It’s a well-known fact that aggressive driving is a leading cause of serious accidents right behind driving under the influence and teenage drivers.
Texans should brush up on their defensive driving skills (regardless of whether they have tickets to dismiss) if they frequently commit any of the following moving violations:
- Speeding on a regular basis
- Unsafe lane change (cutting other drivers off in traffic)
- Rolling through stop signs
- Running red lights
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to signal
This is just a sample list. There are many other aggressive driving habits – some explicitly illegal, some not – which make the road more dangerous for everyone. Unlearning bad habits is a great way to prevent future accidents.
Finding an approved Texas online defensive driving course
The defensive driving course must be state approved in order to get points removed from a driver’s license. The best way to make sure a defensive driving school qualifies is to contact them and ask if their curriculum meets the standards established by Chapter 1001 of the Texas Education Code. The curriculum was specifically designed to give drivers the skills they need to drive more responsibly.
Adult drivers will review and be tested on important information such as:
- A refresher course on Texas traffic laws
- Drug and alcohol awareness (as it relates to driving safely)
- The meaning and importance of road markings, signs, and signals
- Unsafe driving practices such as aggressive driving, distracted driving, driving at night, driving in severe weather, and driving with electronic devices
The curriculum for drivers under the age of 25 is presented a little bit differently. Students will learn much of the same material that the adult classes teach, but it will have a much stronger emphasis on road hazards and driving habits that increase the likelihood of young driver accidents. The class ends with the student’s written pledge to refrain from unsafe driving habits.
The 10 best online course providers in the state of Texas
There are a plethora of online course providers for Texas drivers to choose from. The chart below contains the 10 best providers in the state, most of which start at $25 per course. Some offer alternatives for those who don’t perform well in an online environment.
|Name||Price||Contact Info||Class Format|
|DriversEd.com||$25||877-877-2525||Online or classroom|
|Aceable Defensive Driving||$25||512-522-4174||Online or video|
|I Drive Safely||$25||800-723-1955||Online or video|
|The Safe Driver Center Course||$39.95||713-664-4808||Online or classroom|
|Comedy Guys Defensive Driving||$39.95||877-826-6339||Online or classroom (select cities only)|
|Express Lane Defensive Driving||$25||855-366-1814||Online only|
|Comedy Defensive Driving||$25||866-540-0584||Online or classroom|
|Aceable Defensive Driving||$25||512-522-4174||Online or video|
How defensive driving courses in Texas work
Most online driver safety courses will let students log in via their online web portal. The student pays the class fee, then gains access to the video course and all associated materials. It takes at least 6 hours to complete (4 hours for drivers under the age of 25) but online students can pause and resume as needed.
As students progress through the coursework, they will take quizzes to test material retention and must pass a final exam. After passing the test, they have the option to collect an electronic copy of their completion certificate or request that a hard copy be sent to them in the mail.
How much is Texas defensive driving course?
Most classes start at $25 per student, but some charge more. This price is irrespective of their format. It’s important to make sure they are TDLR certified in order to avoid scams. That’s a small price to pay for cheaper car insurance in Texas.
Can you take a Texas defensive driving course online?
There are dozens of online defensive driving courses available for Texas motorists. As long as they are TDLR certified according to Texas law, drivers can get points removed once they receive their certificate of completion.
How long is traffic school in Texas?
That depends on who is taking the course. For adults over the age of 25, it will take at least 6 hours to complete the curriculum. Drivers under the age of 25 can pass their coursework in 4 hours or less.
Other ways to get insurance discounts in Texas
Drivers can only do so much to prove that they’re responsible, low-risk policyholders. Taking a defensive driving course is a great start, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Even if they do everything right, they could still be overpaying for car insurance from a company that doesn’t recognize their efforts. But using our industry expertise and search tools can help Texans find affordable coverage that honors their efforts.