If you receive a ticket for a non-criminal moving violation, and you do not hold a commercial driver license, you may elect to attend a basic driver improvement course (BDI) to keep points from your driving record.
Reasons for Attending Basic Driver Improvement
Florida LAW requires that you complete a Traffic Collision Avoidance Course (TCAC) or it may suspend your driver license in the following circumstance:
- You were involved in a crash and were a driver that was found at fault a.) anyone was taken to the hospital or b.) you were involved in two vehicle crashes within 2-year period, and each incident has resulted in property damage greater of $500 or more.
- Passed a stopped school bus without properly stopping and yielding
- Was involved in illegal Highway Racing
- Was involved in Highway Racing as a Spectator
- Reckless Driving
- Running a red light
Once you figure out whether or not you are going to get a break on your traffic violation by taking traffic school, you need to get your paperwork in order. Look for the county that issued your ticket and search for their office online. Can't find them in the World Wide Web? You'll have to take a trip to the office to sign up for Florida traffic school
to remedy the points and payment expected from the ticket. Live out of state? Contact the office in question to see if you can simply write a letter to handle the matter from your home town.
What will Traffic School do for your driving record?
When you attend traffic school, aka driver improvement courses, you will fulfill the requirements that are listed as “adjunction withheld.” Your attendance, and successful completion, of traffic school will cover all bases needed to get you out of the trouble your ticket has caused you.
Consider that when you complete traffic school
- You will not get any points associated with your traffic violation added to your driver's license
- You will not be dropped by your automobile insurance company, and you will not get an increase in the premium, as long as this traffic violation was not:
- your second traffic violation in 1 ½ years
- your third traffic violation in 2 ½ years
- you weren't going more than 15 mph over the speed limit when you received your traffic ticket
What about your traffic fine? Will that be dropped, too? It will not be dropped following traffic school. You will still need to pay for the traffic ticket a civil fine that is to be determined by the Clerk of Court
where you received the ticket.
After you decide that you want to go to traffic school, you only have 30 days to make your choice. The following is a list of the steps to take when you opt for a driver improvement program:
- Start by checking with the Clerk's office located in the county where you were when you got fined.
- If the police officer gave you an envelope that indicated a mailing address with a city office on it for submitting your payment for your fine, contact that address to let them know you want to go to traffic school. Note that inside the envelope you will have the information you need regarding an affidavit associated with the county's rules and regulations for driver improvement programs.
- You have 30 days from the date that you received your traffic ticket to fill out the affidavit and get it sent back to the county clerk's office. Get the affidavit signed in the presence of a licensed notary public so you can get it notarized, which is a requirement.
- Get the afidavit in the mail as soon as possible. The 30 days applies to how long it will take your affidavit to arrive at the county office. Keep in account for holidays recognized by federal offices as these are days that the USPS and Clerk's offices are closed.
- After you send off the affidavit contact the Clerk's office where you sent the affidavit to make sure it arrived and is completed to their satisfaction. Also you will need to find out what your civil fine will be.
- Now you have the traffic school program to take care of, and this should be completed within 60 to 90 days from the date you got your traffic ticket. After you complete traffic school, send a certificate of completion to the Clerk's office, to the same address where you submitted the affidavit unless otherwise advised.
- If you need the address and contact information for the Clerk of Court in the specified county where you are sending the traffic ticket affidavit and certificate of completion, search through a phone book for the Clerk of the Court in the heading of county government listings. Don't have access to a phone book? Look it up online.
Other things to consider regarding traffic school
- You will have to pay for traffic school, and the costs depend on the course you elect to attend.
- You can attend classes online or in person. At Improv Traffic School, you will find both types of driver improvement programs. Choose from Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) and Aggressive Driver Course depending on the type of your offenses.
What if You Change Your Mind
Once you sign and send that affidavit, you are considered to be a student of traffic school. If you decide not to attend traffic school, there will be consequences. First, you will be noted as guilty as charged for your traffic violation and you will get points tacked onto your driver's license. Points on your licenses means you can expect for your insurance premium to rise—that is, if the insurance company does not elect to drop you altogether. Also, an accumulation of points on your driver's license will eventually lead to the loss of your driver's license.
You can take the traffic school route once a year for up to five times in your life. What if you sign up for traffic school but don't go? This counts as one of your five get-out-of-traffic-violation freebies. Also, by failing to show up you are still counted as going, so you can't sign up for traffic school again for the next year.
Helpful hint: If you have a history of traffic violations, save traffic school for those that cause you the most grief and hardship.