Go to Traffic School—and Never Leave Home - Car News
Remember the Traffic Ticket Comedy School? That's nothing — now you can go to class in your underwear.
By Marcus Johnson
CarAndDriver.com, May 2002
Speeding down the highway might be what got you in trouble in the first place, but speeding down the information superhighway could help clear your record and keep you from paying higher auto-insurance premiums.
A number of states allow drivers to clear traffic citations from their driving records by attending traffic school online. According to Eric Creditor of TrafficSchool.com, which offers online classes to drivers in California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia and boasts a 99-percent pass rate, Internet-based schools are becoming increasingly popular.
"TrafficSchool.com has over 6500 graduates each month," Creditor said.
With the California Department of Motor Vehicles reporting more than 1.1 million citations cleared off the books as a result of traffic-school completions during 2000 (or about 92,000 per month), TrafficSchool.com's 6500 monthly graduates may not seem like much. But consider that the online school is only one of about 25 operating in the state.
Although you'll have to sacrifice the camaraderie of eight hours with your fellow deviants, online school has its advantages. But before going online, violators need to be sure the court issuing their citation accepts certificates from online schools. If so, it's simply a matter of choosing from the court's list of approved virtual-education institutes.
Most schools range in price from $17 to $35, and many have money-back guarantees. Cost, visual aesthetics, and conversational tone are essentially the only factors separating one online school from another. Some others are: OnlineTraffic.com, TrafficSchoolOnline.com, and TrafficSchooltoGo.com. So if you're able to keep costs at a minimum, and remain even mildly entertained or mentally stimulated while completing your course, you've probably chosen the school that's right for you.
Online schools allow students to tackle classes in one sitting or complete them over several days. If you're a chronic procrastinator, Internet-based school probably isn't your best option. Since most courts don't accept home-computer-generated certificates, students need to complete their courses at least three weeks before the citation due date to allow time for postal delivery of certificates.
As if receiving a ticket isn't irritating enough, some courts have the audacity to question your integrity and require proof that you completed the online course (and didn't pay your computer-genius little brother to take the course for you). To accommodate these courts, students can complete the test portion of their course at an authorized site—all of which nearly defeats the purpose of the online course. But according to Creditor, TrafficSchool.com, which began offering classes in 1994, has an agreement with postal service center Mail Boxes Etc. to serve as authorized test sites in a few northern-California counties.
Although you won't make any new friends in the solitary confines of your virtual school, online traffic courses are ideal if you would rather work at your own pace or if you simply want to avoid eight hours with (let's face it) a bunch of social-misfit deviants. As an added bonus, you can complete the course wearing only a bathrobe.
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