What You Need to Know About Florida Traffic School
Whether rolling through a stop sign or giving the gas pedal an extra push to make it to work on time, we’re all guilty of the occasional minor traffic infraction. Thankfully, Florida understands this and has made traffic school available to us in order to avoid penalties that come with getting additional points put on our driving records, such as increased insurance costs and license suspension if you collect too many points.
How Florida Driver Improvement Courses Work
In-person and online driver improvement courses are available for any moving or non-moving violation as long as it is not criminal in nature and the driver holds a commercial driver license (CDL) regardless of the type of vehicle they’re driving at the time. Upon receiving their citation, drivers should receive information about the improvement course from the officer, which can be used to notify the county clerk of intent to take a course (drivers have between 60 and 90 days from the date of the citation to complete and course). If drivers are not provided with information, they may contact the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office to learn more.
Following the completion of the course, drivers must provide a completion certificate to the clerk’s office in the county where the citation was issued. Drivers successfully completing the course receive the following benefits:
- There is no conviction for the violation per section 318.14, Florida Statutes
- No points will be added to the driver license
- Insurance companies cannot charge a new premium or refuse to renew a policy for the violation with three exceptions:
- Driver receives a second infraction within 18 months
- Driver receives a third infraction within 36 months
- Driver exceeds the speed limit by more than 15 mph
Of course, drivers still need to pay the ticket’s fine as well the cost of the driver improvement course, but these costs are ultimately much lower than what would likely be assessed and doled out over time by insurance companies if points were accrued. Here’s a look at how the point system works:
|Moving violations||3 points|
|15 mph or less over speed limit||3 points|
|Child restraint violation||3 points|
|Moving violation resulting in a crash (non-speeding)||4 points|
|15 mph or more over speed limit||4 points|
|Passing stopped school bus||4 points|
|Reckless driving||4 points|
|Leaving the scene of an accident with damage||6 points|
It’s important to note that failure to attend a driver improvement course is considered an admission of guilt, and additional fines and fees will be applied, and points for the violation will be added to your driving record.
Are Driving Improvement Courses Mandatory?
Driver improvement courses are not mandatory, but rather a way to avoid the accumulation of points on your driving record. These courses differ from a Florida Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course and a Traffic Collision Avoidance Course (TCAC). These courses are court ordered and must be completed within 30 days following any of these events:
- Driver was cited for a crash in which they were determined to be at fault and resulted in someone being transported to the hospital for injury
- Driver has been in two or more crashes with a two-year period resulting in property damage greater than $500
- Driver was cited for any of the following violations:
In completing the course, as with non-mandatory courses, points will not be assessed and fines will be reduced.
Finally, there is also an Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) course. These must be attended if your driver license becomes suspended due to an accumulation of points. To be suspended for points, a driver must accumulate:
- 12 points within 12 months (30-day suspension)
- 18 points within 18 months (3-month suspension)
- 24 points within 36 months (1-year suspension)
Lowman Law Firm Encourages Safe Driving
What may often seem like a minor driving violation can often have major consequences. Florida is the number one state for accidents involving pedestrians, and it’s also near the top of the list for vehicle crashes. So, we encourage you to always drive safe and use your best judgment. And, if you’ve been involved in an accident and think you deserve compensation, don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss your case.