What is traffic school?

Thomas Jeter • December 31, 2014

What is traffic school?

You may have heard people talking about going to traffic school, or perhaps you have spoken to someone who has suggested it to you as a means for reducing the number of points on your record. In South Carolina, there are several different places where defensive driving programs – which must be approved by the state Department of Motor Vehicles – can help people become better drivers and even improve their records. These programs can be voluntary or mandatory, and they are relatively simple to complete.

 When Do People Have to Go?

There are several ways people may end up enrolling in a defensive driving course. The first is if a judge orders that a driver attends after a traffic violation was issued. This type of mandate is typically reserved for serious infractions, such as excessive speeding.

People may also attend traffic school on a voluntary basis in order to do the following:

  • Improve their driving skills
  • Remove points from a driving record
  • Obtain a discount on car insurance

It is possible that a judge will sometimes dismiss a traffic ticket upon completion of a traffic school program.

How Does Traffic School Affect Driver’s License Points?

South Carolina applies points to a driving record each time a motorist violates a traffic law. For example, a defective taillight can result in two points, and reckless driving will often result in six. When you obtain six points, the DMV mails a notice. Once you accumulate 12 points, your license is nearly always suspended. The good news is that going to traffic school can deduct four points from your record. It is important to note that you can only attend a defensive driving program once every three years.

What Can I Expect From One of These Courses?

A typical defensive driving program lasts about eight hours. Many programs offer the ability to take the course online or in a classroom setting. An online course enables you to participate in the program on your own time and at your own pace. During the class, the instructor will cover topics such as responsible driving, South Carolina laws and techniques for defensive driving. It is likely that you will also discuss alcohol and drug-related offenses.

 Many courses require a final exam, especially if you are fulfilling a court requirement. Make sure you know what kind of proof you will need to provide to demonstrate to a judge or insurance company that you completed a course.

 Our team of experienced attorneys and paralegals at Nosal & Jeter, LLP takes a creative approach to helping clients preserve their driving records, reinstate licenses or beat traffic tickets. We can advise drivers on matters involving violations and traffic schools.

Source: DMV.org, “Defensive Driving in South Carolina,” 2014