logo logo

Ticket May Lead to Traffic School

tct-2You were “following the flow of traffic” on the interstate headed home from work. Except the “flow” was only three cars long and traveling at an, um, enhanced rate of speed. To the eyes, and ticket writing fingers, of the law you weren’t following the flow of traffic. You were engaged in a convoy. “Breaker, breaker!” The gruff gentleman in the Smokey the Bear hat gives you a ticket for $188.00, and wishes you, “Good day.” The ticket could lead to something else – traffic school.

You could go to court and likely get the fine reduced. The average fine reduction is 40%. It takes a half day and you get a lecture from the judge. Depending on your tolerance for humiliation, it isn’t a bad route to take to save a little money. But that’s not your only option. In most instances, you could opt for traffic school.

Driving school isn’t generally offered online, and when it is the cost is almost as much as the ticket that you received from the state trooper with no sense of humor about your situation. More likely, you will have to go to a physical school and pay from $50.00 to $125.00 for a four hour class on driving safety.

The school will issue a certificate that you take to the DMV, which makes a notation on your record. You save about the same as you would have saved by going to court and fighting it out with Judge Judy.

There is another advantage, however. In most states (not all) when you successfully complete traffic school the ticket that you received will be hidden from view if an insurance company pulls your driving record. Companies pull an average of 5% of their customers’ records upon renewal.

So what does it all mean? Is there one answer that fits everyone? Unfortunately, no. Check with your particular state Department of Motor Vehicles and ask for the lowdown on your state’s stance on driving school. If you live in a state (California and Florida being two) where driving school obscures your file from the eyes of prying insurance rate setters, the school is likely your best bet. However, in most states you can attend traffic school only once every 18 months and some states don’t offer it at all.

If you are in a state that only allows driving school to be an avenue to a lower fine, fighting it out in front of the judge may be your best option. You’re stuck with crossed fingers hoping that your insurance company doesn’t check your driving record for a while if you don’t beat the ticket in court to keep your car insurance rates as low as they are.