Defensive Driving Resource

Advanced Driver Improvement – Are Senior Drivers Really Better?

The Today show this morning had a story about senior drivers that I wanted to share.  You will be surprised to see where our country’s fastest growing age group ranks when it comes to safety behind the wheel (click here to see the full video: Driver Improvement for Seniors? ).  The story included various reasons for the older driver’s improvements in safety statistics which include: 1.  most seniors don’t drink and drive 2. infrequency for night driving due to vision issues 3. tendency to drive at or below the speed limit.  Another great point that was made by a senior driver in the video was his attitude and frame of mind while driving.  He said that the most important thing is to be patient.  That lesson seems simple, but it is advice that all drivers can be reminded.  Don’t be in a hurry and don’t let the actions of others throw you into a state that might have you taking chances behind the wheel that could result in a traffic ticket or a crash.

Mature Driver Course

Hearing this story made me think of all the great information that is included in a mature driver course.  Not every state has them, but if your state does (i.e. Florida), I would highly recommend them.  They are roughly six hours long in most states and can be taken online or in an live class by drivers age 55 and older.  They are a great way for senior drivers to receive a refresher about the imporant rules, regulations, and responsible strategies that can help on the roadways.  Mature drivers take these courses to be eligible for auto insurance discounts from participating insurance companies or just for safety training purposes.  And don’t think that driver improvement is only for the older driver.  All drivers should consider taking a defensive driving course (a.k.a. traffic school or driver improvement course) for safety training, to save money on your auto insurance, or for a traffic ticket.  Don’t forget that driving is a skill that needs sharpening, so be proactive about your driving safety, and remember the attitude taken by the older driver in this story on the Today show the next time someone cuts your off or frustrates you while driving.

California Making History with Self Driving Vehicle Law.

California Traffic SchoolImagine a time where you get into your vehicle and rather than driving away normally as you do so often, instead you have an interface that allows you to type in the address that you would like to go to and then you just sit back and your vehicle does all the work for you.  If this were possible, you could literally sit in your car and browse the internet or watch your favorite show on your mobile device all while travelling to your destination.  You are probably thinking that sounds pretty cool, but will never happen.  That dream may be closer to a reality than you think, especially based on the new bill being signed into law today by California Governor Jerry Brown.  The bill (S. 1298) is sponsored by California Senator Alex Padilla and Google founder Sergey Brin, which establishes safety and performance standards for self driving cars.

Could self driving cars really be a reality?  Are they really safe? Without understanding how the technology works, it is hard for me to say, but Mr. Brin believes that it is much safer than a car being driven by a human.  The self driving car has been in development by Google for over two years now, but there are more questions than answers currently for how it works.  What would the car do if you are driving down a road without lane markings?  How does it react when on the road with unpredictable human drivers?   Would you trust the system well enough to just sit back and relax or would you be sitting there ready to jump into control if needed?  Is this a feature that could be added to older model vehicles or would drivers have to purchase a new vehicle with this equipment?

The answers to these questions will ultimately determine if this idea takes off or gets stuck on the runway.  So why is Google branching in this area?   According to Sergey Brin in an article by Chloe Albanesius in, Google’s goal is “creating technology to dramatically improve the world.”  He feels that “the self driving car can really dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone here in California, the country, and the world”.  With that in mind Brin envisions a world with self driving cars that could drop you off and pick you up at your job each day and allow you to relax and do other more interesting things during your daily commute or while stuck in traffic.  It also would have an impact on how cities would be developed.  Parking lots could be moved out of the congested city areas since self driving cars could drive themselves to an off-site lot to be parked.  Lastly, Mr. Brin sees this technology as a potential cost saver by trying to drastically reduce the cost associated by the estimated 40,000 Americans who are killed in car crashes yearly.

In my opinion, the idea of a self driving car in theory is a good one, but there are just so many moving parts to traffic safety that must be considered.   One quick example off the top of my head: Who is liable for a vehicular crash between two self driving cars?   It is important to note that this law is not making self driving cars legal, it only creates standards that must be met.  So now Google will go to work with the best and brightest to see if they can make this a reality.  I will be one interested party to see how it turns out.

Until we have have self driving cars most of us from time to time will find the need to attend California traffic school and  DTA offers online courses for only 19.95.

Michigan Driver Improvement Online

Michigan Basic Driver Improvement
In December of 2010 the state of Michigan followed the lead set forth by states such as Texas, Florida, and Virginia before them to allow for their drivers to complete a defensive driving course online. Michigan drivers may call it a Basic Driver Improvement Course, however, the reasons for taking such a course is pretty universal. In most states driver improvement courses are taken to keep a ticket from going on your record, to remove points from your driving record, or for insurance discounts. In Michigan if you receive an eligible traffic infraction, you will receive a letter from the Michigan Secretary of State’s (SOS) office alerting you of your option to complete an approved Basic Driver Improvement Course to keep the points off of your driving record and from being reported to your insurance provider.

Driver Improvement Course Online in Michigan
A basic driver improvement online course in Michigan allows users the option to log in and out of the course at their convenience. The course consists of 6 short and easy chapters, followed by a 5 question quiz at the end of each chapter to validate that the user is comprehending the material. Users must score at least 80% on each quiz to move to the next unit, and are given the opportunity to take a unit quiz up to 3 times should they not pass on the first try. The Michigan online defensive driving course also includes animiations and video throughout making it very educational and entertaining.  There really isn’t a more convenient or entertaining way to complete a Michigan defensive driving course today! A successful course completion of the online Michigan driver improvement course is reported to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office to ensure that points are removed and the ticket is not reported to the associated auto insurance company. If a user would like a copy of the completion for their records a Proof of Completion can be purchased and delivered electronically via email or printed upon completion.

The only stipulation is that the user complete the course before the deadline set in their letter from the Secretary of State’s office.  Drivers are not eligible to take a course if they were cited for serious traffic tickets such as negligent or carless driving. Violations while operating a commercial vehicle also are ineligble.

Sign up today for a Michigan Driver Improvement course online.

Group Seeks to Bring Back Online Driver License Testing in Florida

National Safety Commission, a Florida company that previously provided online driver license testing, would like to see the State bring that program back in the future. Online driver license testing for first time Florida drivers was terminated on December 31st, 2010, after the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) determined that the program should be discontinued.

Tom Bishop, representing National Safety Commission, presented an argument in favor of reinstating the online testing program before the Florida Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations on February 10, 2011. During his presentation, Mr. Bishop suggested that the online testing program, which ran from 2004 to 2010, contributed to the decrease in teen fatalities and crashes among Florida’s youthful driver population.

Mr. Bishop also noted that it was likely the online testing program had a financial impact on the State’s administration of the driver licensing program, since driver license examiners would not have to take time away from other duties to proctor a test for an applicant who had already completed his or her test online. Another positive aspect of the online testing program, according to Mr. Bishop, was that it caused many parents to become directly involved with overseeing the testing process instead of relegating this responsibility to a State employee.

One of the main reasons given for the cancellation of the program was that a DHSMV study found that students who took their test online and were retested later at the driver license office achieved lower scores during the retest than students who took their test as part of a driver education program. Mr. Bishop suggested that the State’s study was flawed because it did not use a control group and did not retest a large enough sample of the students who originally took their Class E test online.

Julie Jones, Executive Director of DHSMV, also spoke before the Senate subcommittee on this topic. Ms. Jones noted that during the six years in which the online testing pilot program was in operation, DHSMV had asked test providers to improve security measures that would prevent students from being able to cheat on the online test. Despite the inclusion of increased measures such as an affidavit signed by parents stating that they had proctored the exam, the State still decided to cancel the program in June 2010. Ms. Jones noted that even with all of the added security measures, she still could not be certain that students were taking the online exam without assistance.

The Senate subcommittee members listened attentively to both sides and asked many questions about various aspects of the online testing program, as well as the Florida teen crash statistics that were provided by Mr. Bishop and Ms. Jones. Opinion appeared to be divided as to whether the online program should be reinstated. Senator Gaetz concluded the discussion by stating that the committee could review the matter further if a bill is introduced to bring back the online testing program.

Update: Since the writing of this blog post, the Florida DHSMV is once again allowing for private companies to offer a Florida driver license test online for first time drivers.  Prospective drivers must pass both the road signs and road rules tests before they can go to the Driver License office to receive their license, which can now be taken online.  If you fail to pass one or both of these tests in 3 tries, users are required to take a course in person at the driver license office. 

Florida Driver License Online Testing Is a Thing of the Past

In 2004, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (or “DHSMV”) created a new pilot program that allowed Florida high school students to take their road rules and road signs test on the Internet. Effective December 31st, 2010, this test has ended. All students must now take their test at the driver license office.

Florida high school student preparing for her driving testWhen the pilot program was created six years ago, DHSMV hoped that it would reduce long lines at local driver license offices.

By passing their test on the Internet, students could avoid taking the test in person, although they would still have to travel to a driver license office and wait in line to take their behind the wheel driving test, vision test, and submit paperwork to a driver license examiner.

In an effort to include security features in the driver license test, DHSMV restricted test providers to companies that offered online learner’s permit courses. Students who signed up for their learner’s permit course online could only take the online Class E driver license test through the same company. Students were required to submit the answers to security questions in order to gain access to the online driver license test. Students were not allowed to take a classroom learner’s permit course and then take their driver license test online because this was prohibited by DHSMV.

The online test generally cost between $20 and $30 per attempt. Five companies were licensed to provide the online testing, one of which advertised its online test heavily in the Florida driver’s handbook. The online test was extremely popular and has been taken by hundreds of thousands of Florida high school students.

In the summer of 2010, DHSMV officials notified test providers that they were discontinuing the program effective December 31st, 2010. Despite the inclusion of additional security features in the tests, such as requiring that parents sign an affidavit form stating their teen did not receive assistance, DHSMV determined that there was too much potential for fraud with the online version of the Class E exam.

According to DHSMV, this decision was prompted by retests that had been conducted over the course of the pilot. In these retests, the scores of online students were compared with the scores of students who originally took their test at a local driver license office. When retested, online students failed a large percentage of the time as compared with students who originally tested at the driver license office.

Although the online Class E test is now history, Florida teens can still take their DHSMV required learner’s permit course online. This four-hour course instructs teens in Florida traffic law, the dangers of driving after drinking or taking drugs, and defensive driving concepts.

Teens can sign up for the online drug and alcohol / learner’s permit course at They can also study the Florida driver’s handbook to prepare for the road signs and road rules test that they must now take at a local driver license office.

Update: In the months that have passed since this blog post was posted, the Florida DHSMV has begun allowing private companies to once again offer the Florida driver license test online for first time drivers.  The test consists of both a road signs and road rules test, and the user must pass both to receive their learner’s license.  Should a user fail to pass in 3 attempts they must take the test in person at their local driver license office. 

DTA Releases New Florida Traffic School Course

Florida officer writing ticket to driver who is about to take Florida Traffic School online with DTADriver Training Associates recently announced the release of its newly redesigned Florida Traffic School course.

This 4-hour course has been approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for all Florida drivers who are eligible to attend a basic driver improvement course for point dismissal. Attending the course is a popular option for many drivers, since it prevents their insurance rates from increasing unless they were at fault in an accident.

A Better Way to Go To Traffic School

DTA was one of the first companies to offer driver improvement to ticketed Florida drivers over the Internet. Its online Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course has been taken by hundreds of thousands of drivers who needed to meet a court deadline quickly or could not locate a classroom course in their area.

Improvements to the revised online BDI course include larger type that is easier to read, simpler navigation from page to page, the addition of colorful and attractive graphics, charts, and tables, and a writing style that is clearer and simpler for all customers to understand. Statistics and traffic safety data have also been updated throughout the course to reflect the most current information available from NHTSA, IIHS, the Florida DHSMV, and other sources. This new course is a far cry from typical online traffic school courses that simply repeat facts from the driver’s handbook!

New Registration Options

The registration area for the BDI course has been updated to include new registration options such as reckless driving, red light running, racing on the highway, and passing a stopped school bus. The inclusion of these new options ensures that customers taking the course will receive credit for their course completion. Many other online Florida traffic school courses do not include these registration choices, leaving drivers to wonder whether their traffic school completion will be reported correctly.

Florida online traffic school certificate of completionAnother new feature of the online BDI course is the ability to download the completion certificate immediately upon passing the final exam. This option, otherwise known as “electronic certificate delivery,” can be selected during registration or after you pass the final exam.

If electronic delivery is chosen, the customer will see a download link to open or save the certificate, which is in Adobe PDF® format. The certificate can then be printed from the customer’s computer or saved and printed later using Adobe Acrobat Reader®.

Florida Classroom Courses Still Available

While online traffic school has become the most popular option for busy drivers who receive a Florida speeding ticket or other moving violation, classroom courses are still available in many areas. Classroom courses are an excellent option for anyone who wants to interact with others in a group setting, who prefers an in-person class environment, or who likes to be able to ask questions of a professional instructor.

DTA licenses a large number of Florida traffic schools to offer our classroom Program for Driver Improvement, which is approved by the State of Florida. Click here if you are interested in starting a Florida traffic school where you live.


Texas Adult Driver Education Course

Man in car happy because he took Texas Adult Driver Ed course through DriverTrainingAssociates.comIf you are between the ages of 18 and 24 in the State of Texas, the law now requires that potential drivers complete a 6-hour adult driver education course to be eligible to get your first driver license.

Although it makes things a bit more difficult for new adult drivers to get a license, they have options on how to take the course.  Most of the commercial driving schools across the state of Texas are approved to offer classroom based courses.  However, there is another option, which is online.

Over the past few months, the Texas Education Agency has approved multiple online adult driver education courses.  Although there are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches to taking the course, many people find that online is the most flexible and convenient way to complete an adult driver education course today.

Sign up for Texas Adult Driver Ed Course

Flexibility and Convenience

Some Texas residents that must take this course live in remote areas that may not have a classroom course, and  may only conduct a class once every 2-4 weeks.  Why drive a long distance or wait for a class to fit a busy schedule?  The online courses are available 24 / 7 from any computer with Internet access.

Users can log in and out of the course as many times as they like.  The course consists of nine units and users will be required to pass a short quiz following each chapter.  At the end there is a final exam to test the total course comprehension of the user (70% or greater to pass, with three attempts allowed).

Having to take a final exam may seem cumbersome, but it is important to note that the adult driver ed course exam qualifies as a written driver license exam — the same exam that new drivers would otherwise have to take in person at the DMV office when applying for their license.  That is one less thing that has to be done at the local Department of Motor Vehicles Driver License Office.

Once the course has been completed, a certificate of completion is mailed out to the user.  This must be presented to the DMV office to show that the new adult driver education course requirement has been met.  Since the written driving test will have already been completed, the only remaining items are a vision test and a behind the wheel exam.

For those people who feel that the classroom option is the best for them, we recommend that you visit the Texas Education Agency’s website for a listing of the approved adult driver education schools.

Sign up for Texas Adult Driver Ed Course

About DTA:

Driver Training Associates, Inc. (DTA) is a defensive driving and traffic school course leader with offices in Florida, Texas, and New York.  DTA was started in 1977 as a classroom provider and now offers all of its courses in online formats as well.  The company is approved to offer Texas defensive driving, New York Defensive Driving, and Florida traffic school courses.

Florida Advanced Driver Improvement Course

ADI school drivers in congested freeway trafficThe state of Florida is unique in that it requires special course attendance for individuals whose driver licenses have been suspended by the State for reaching a certain number of points on their driving record, or for being declared a habitual traffic offender.

In either situation, the state mandates the completion of a 12 hour Florida advanced driver improvement course (a.k.a. "ADI school").

ADI courses are available online or in the classroom.  Due to the seriousness of the circumstances that cause a driver to be required to complete an advanced driver improvement course in Florida, the requirements and class curriculum are a bit different from what one might expect from a basic driver improvement course. 

Sign up for Florida Online ADI Course

What to Expect from ADI School

A large portion of the course consists of questions and answers that are designed to stimulate thought and conversation between the student and teacher about the attitudes or issues that may have caused the driver to behave in a manner that resulted in the loss of their driving privileges.  As with all online courses, the Florida advanced driver improvement online course allows the user to log in and out of the course as often as necessary and the course is available 24 /7, so that they can work the course into their schedule.  This is especially important since the total course length is 12 hours. 

As the saying goes, “Driving is not a right, it is a privilege,” and it takes personal responsibility to be safe and make the right decisions while on the roadways.  Failing to do so can cause a driver to lose his or her driving privilege when the state takes away that person’s driver’s license. 

Kudos to Florida for requiring drivers to complete a training course that will cause them to rethink their habits while behind the wheel, and will hopefully improve their attitude and skill level.  It is through this education that they can become less likely to be cited by law enforcement across the Sunshine State in the future. 

Not All ADI Courses Are Created Equal

Online courses are not for everyone.  If preferred, classroom courses are available across Florida, offering the same state approved Florida advanced driver improvement courses that are offered online.  Each school is different in how it breaks up the 12-hour program, and the question and answer session offered as part of the class can be done in a more conversational arrangement, which is not possible in the online format.  The decision for most drivers (online or classroom), depends on how comfortable they are on a computer and the flexibility their schedule allows. 

Hopefully you will never need to take a Florida ADI course, but if you do, you will now be a bit more informed as to what your options are.  Drive Safe Florida!

Sign up for Florida Online ADI Course

About DTA:

Driver Training Associates, Inc. (DTA) is a defensive driving and traffic school course leader with offices in Florida, Texas, and New York.  DTA was started in 1977 as a classroom provider and now offers all of its courses in online formats as well.  We were the first company to develop a State-approved 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement course for Florida drivers.

DTA is approved to offer Texas defensive driving, New York Defensive Driving, and Florida traffic school courses.

New Texas Seat Belt Law Starts in September

Woman wearing seat belt after completing online Texas seat belt courseStarting September 1, 2010 Texas law requires that ALL passengers inside a motor vehicle be secured by a safety belt, regardless of the age or place  in the vehicle.  Currently, the law requires that only front seat passengers (other than children that fall under the child safety seat laws) be secured in safety belts.  In the interest of safety, legislators added the new stricter laws to help decrease the numbers of people who are killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes each year for not wearing their seatbelts. 

Another seat belt related law addition is focused on children.  Starting June 1, 2010 it is violation to operate a motor vehicle with a child who is younger than 8 years old (unless the child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches) without securing them in an approved child safety seat.  This law was modified from less than 5 years old and less than 36 inches tall.  This may seem like a big change, but  again the legislators feel that it is their job to protect the children of this state from being injured in vehicle crashes, and this change will ensure that more children are safely secured.

Sign up for Texas Seat Belt Course

Regardless of how you may feel about the role of government in our society, it is important to stay informed of the current laws so that you are not cited by authorities for a violation that could have been avoided.  These are just a couple of new changes for drivers.  I invite you to check out all of the new changes by visiting the Texas department of Transportation’s website. 

If you get a ticket for a seat belt violation and the court authorizes the use of a state approved seat belt course, check out our course.

About Us:

Driver Training Associates, Inc. (DTA) is a defensive driving and traffic school course leader located in Sugar Land, TX.  DTA was started in 1977 as a classroom provider and now offers all of their courses in online formats as well.  The company is approved to offer Texas defensive driving, New York Defensive Driving, Florida traffic school, florida drivers license, advanced driver improvement courses.

Texas Defensive Driving – Should you just pay the ticket?

Texas Highway Patrol officer writing ticket to driver who can take defensive driving course through DTAMany people ask the question if they would be better off just paying the fine rather than taking a Texas defensive driving course (online or classroom).  My answer to that question is that in most cases it is always best to keep your driver record clean if you have the option. 

So if you are not familiar with the process, in Texas when you get a traffic ticket, you will be given a court date which you must appear in person or contact the court on or before that date to either dispute the ticket or let them know if you plan to just pay the fine, take a driver safety course (a.k.a defensive driving), or take some other action. 

Sign up for Texas defensive driving online

Defensive Driving Courses Not That Expensive

Many people choose the defensive driving course option, but let’s see why this is probably the smartest choice.  If you pay the fine, then that traffic citation will go onto your driver record.  This is not a huge deal if you only have one ticket on your record, but if you are unfortunate enough to get multiple citations in short amount of time, or you were to be involved in a crash and you have tickets on your driver record, you can accumulate points that could trigger insurance premium increases or surcharges from the State.

For this reason, I always advocate taking a Texas defensive driving course if eligible to keep your driver record clean.  This way you are as far away as possible from ever experiencing these expensive premium increases or surcharges.  It is also worth mentioning that in most cases, even though you will still be required to pay a court fee when you choose defensive driving to take care of your ticket, it is still usually less expensive than paying for the ticket. 

For many folks, it is not about the money, it is more about the time.  Since online courses are now approved in Texas, this is less of an issue since the course is available 24 hours a day and you can log in and out at your convenience so that the course will fit into your schedule.   

It is for this reason that everyone should check out a state approved Texas defensive driving online course option, such as the one offered by Driver Training Associates, Inc.

Sign up for Texas defensive driving online