If you’re a driver in the state of California, there are some things you should know before signing up for traffic school. As you probably already know, the state of California allows you to dismiss traffic tickets or reduce points on your driving record by completing a California state-approved traffic school course.
Online Traffic School Or Classroom Traffic School?
One aspect of traffic school that is a bit unique in California is the ability to complete your traffic school online. Many drivers still prefer to complete their traffic school in a classroom-based course which is typically held in local public schools, community colleges, and private driving schools. So, let’s go over the differences…
Classroom Traffic Schools In California – If you decide to complete your traffic school course in a classroom, things are pretty straightforward. Simply find a traffic school course near you and give them a call to sign up. Typically, classroom-based traffic school courses are held on weekends. The course is usually either one all-day session for approximately 7 hours (with a one hour break) or the course is split up into two different days. These courses are led by approved driving instructors with all tests being completed in a classroom environment.
Online Traffic Schools In California – A fast-growing trend in California is completing traffic school online. Many drivers seem to prefer the flexibility and ease of completing a course online. For starters, most high-quality online traffic schools can be completed at your leisure. The court normally decides when you must have your traffic school completed by and you can simply take the course at your own discretion before the completion date. That means, you can log into the course and complete as little as a few minutes at a time or you can finish the entire course in the same day if you so desire. This type of flexibility is a fantastic improvement over the traditional classroom-based courses for most people.
California Traffic Schools Are Privately Operated (And Why That Matters)
The California state government does not operate an online traffic school of their own. In fact, all traffic school courses, whether online or off, are operated by private companies. Why does this matter for you? Well, some of these private companies take their traffic school courses serious and some don’t. You need to make sure you do some research in order to find the highest quality traffic school for the cheapest price.
How To Select The Best Online Traffic School In California
Unfortunately, there are many low-quality online traffic schools in California. So, how do you find one that is of higher quality? Here are a few guidelines to follow in order to sign up for the best online traffic school…
State Approved – While this seems obvious, there are some “state-approved” traffic schools that are quite deceitful. You must make sure the traffic school you are signing up for is, in fact, a state-approved course. There are far too many online traffic schools on the market that are deceitful and charge people for courses that are not actually approved for ticket dismissal purposes. Be sure you obtain a list of certified schools from your court clerk’s office.
24/7/365 Customer Support – This is very important. You probably plan to take your online traffic school in California during non-business hours. Due to state requirements and various identity verification systems, customer service is actually something that you will likely need to use. A 9 to 5 customer service department is hardly any help if you are completing the course at 10 pm.
5+ Year Business History – There is no reason to sign up for the new guy on the block when there are other online traffic schools who have been in business for 2 decades or longer with millions of prior students. Check the operating history of each school and read online traffic school reviews to make sure the course you’re signing up for is reputable. Unfortunately, not all of them are.
Check The BBB Ratings – The Better Business Bureau keeps track of many online traffic schools in California. While it’s not unusual for online traffic schools to have complaints against them, you definitely want to make sure those complaints are being resolved. If they are being ignored, that is a red flag.
Course Timers Are No Longer Required – Some outdated online traffic schools will have a course timer throughout the course. What does this mean? Basically, you’ll have to stay on each page of the course for a pre-determined amount of time before you can progress forward. This was a state requirement a few years ago but has since been removed. All the state cares about now is that you pass the course and complete all tests and quizzes in a timely manner, so make sure your course does not have those annoying timers.
Have Realistic Expectation For Your Traffic School In California
Let’s face it, traffic school is boring. Be prepared for this before starting your course. If you do take the traffic school seriously, you will probably learn some interesting information and become a safer driver, but there’s no denying the fact that you will probably get bored with it pretty quick. Start your traffic school course early and complete it in short durations to help loosen the boredom.
What Are The BEST Online Traffic Schools In California?
Check out the list below for our top recommended online traffic school courses. These certainly aren’t your only options but they are the schools we have vetted for…
There are nearly 100 online traffic schools available in the state of California for traffic ticket dismissal, but these are the courses we have found to be the highest quality.
Helpful Tips For Passing Your Online Traffic School In California
Fortunately, the state of California makes the process fairly straightforward. You simply progress through the course and complete a quiz after each section. For most online traffic schools, there will be a total of 6 sections including 6 quizzes and a final exam at the end of the exam covering all of the course material. While the quizzes and tests are not all that difficult, it is a good idea to do a few simple things throughout the course to help increase your chances of passing.
For example, as you progress through the course, you can take screenshots of each page. That way, when you need to take a quiz, you can simply look through the various screenshots of the course and find all the answers you need. This is a sure-fire way to obtain 100% on everything.
Identity Verification Issues
If you run into any problems at all, the biggest issue will be with the various identity verification systems the state of California requires online traffic schools to utilize. This could range from asking questions only you know the answer to or even having to answer a phone call from the online traffic school customer service department. This is why it is extremely important to only sign up for an online traffic school with 24/7/365 customer support.
Notifying The Courts After Course Completion
Once again, the state of California has made this easy for you. The courts require online traffic schools to notify the court electronically and there is nothing else you need to do. Of course, it is a good idea to verify that the court has received your electronic completion certificate. Mistakes can be made and the last thing you want after taking the course is to receive no credit. Make sure you do your due diligence.
Getting Your Insurance Discount
In some cases, your auto insurance provider may give you a discount for completing an online traffic school. That means, you not only avoid having points on your record, but you may be able to save money on your premiums as well. Be sure you call your insurance agent and ask if they give discounts for successful completion of an online traffic school. Savings of up to 15% or more are not unheard of, but most drivers never contact their auto insurance provider to have this discount applied.
Reducing Driving Points Every 2 Years
When you take an online traffic school in California you can reduce your total driving points on your record. What’s more? You are able to take a traffic school every 2 years. That means, if you have substantial points on your driving record, you are able to keep reducing those points until it reaches zero – just keep taking the course every 2 years! California does not allow you to reduce your points into the negative, so if you have no points on your driving record, there is no reason to continue taking online traffic school courses.
The Most Common Online Traffic School Scams In California
With so many online traffic schools approved in California, it can be tough to weed through the scams. Here are the main scams we have seen regarding California online traffic schools…
- Not State Certified – Some online traffic schools will give the impression they are state certified when they are actually not. This scam has decreased over the years but there are some low-quality traffic schools that still partake in this unethical practice.
- Resellers & Third Parties – While not exactly a scam, there are a TON of “online traffic schools” which do not actually run their own traffic school courses at all. Instead, they jack up the price and basically resell you another online traffic school program. This isn’t a scam, but you will end up paying more for a course that you would otherwise be able to get cheaper if you went through them directly. Avoid third party online traffic schools in California like the plague!
- Outrageous Shipping Fees – This is one of the most widely used tactics by online traffic schools to try and increase profits. This is actually a bigger problem in other states which require paper copies to be mailed out, but some online traffic schools in California try to sell you on expedited shipping fees for a paper copy of your certificate. Completely ignore that.
- Rush Procession Fees – Yup, another hidden charge! It may take an online traffic school 1 to 2 weeks to process your completion certificate. Fees for rush processing can be rather expensive, so make sure you complete your online traffic school as quickly as possible and early enough to avoid this hidden fee.