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Simple | Defensive Driving & Traffic School Online



Course Information

Difference between defensive driving and driving school

Reading about the course curriculum above may send you back in time to your high school driver's ed class. What's the difference between driver's ed and defensive driving? First of all, driver's ed classes are aimed at teenagers who are about to start driving for the first time. Defensive driving classes are aimed at adults who already know how to drive and want or need a "refresher course" in traffic safety. Therefore, defensive driving classes are much shorter than driver's ed classes for teenagers. Also, the material covered is different. Everything that would be covered in a defensive driving class is covered in driver's ed, but driver's ed also includes much more basic information about how to operate a vehicle and Illinois traffic laws. After all, if you are just starting out behind the wheel, there's no way you can learn everything you need to know in just 4 hours worth of class time!

 

Who teaches Illinois defensive driving classes?

Illinois defensive driving classes are offered by community colleges and private companies. The organization that offers the traffic school is responsible for training instructors and making sure that they have the appropriate background to teach a defensive driving class.

 

What agency regulates it?

Illinois defensive driving classes are regulated by the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges. Individual courts decide which defensive driving classes can be used to dismiss a traffic ticket in their jurisdictions. Since courts regulate Illinois traffic schools, it's important to make sure that the course you choose is approved by the court that handles your case.

 

Ticket Dismissal

If you've been caught speeding or violating another Illinois traffic rule, you have 3 options to deal with your ticket. You can plead guilty and pay the fine. This is the fastest way to get your ticket resolved. You don't ever have to set foot inside the courtroom-just bite the bullet, pay the fine by mail or online and you don't have to worry about it again. However, even though pleading guilty is the fastest way to resolve the issue, it's not the best way to do so. If you just pay the fine, you'll end up with a conviction on your Illinois driving record. If you get too many of those, you can lose your driver's license, which can be a catastrophe in our automobile-centered society. Also, you'll most likely continue paying for your ticket for the next 3 years, in the form of higher auto insurance premiums. What if you plead not guilty? You may be able to get the charges dropped, but if you really were violating Illinois traffic law, you could also waste a lot of time and effort only to get convicted anyway.


Fortunately for those of us who are not perfect drivers, the Illinois Supreme Court has given us a "Get out of jail free" card. According to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 529 (c),


"In counties designated by the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges, the circuit court may by rule or order authorize the entry of an order of supervision under section 5–6–3.1 of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5–6–3.1), for traffic offenses satisfied pursuant to paragraph (a) of this Rule 529. Such circuit court rule or order may include but does not require a program by which the accused, upon payment of the fines, penalties and costs equal to bail required by Rule 526, agrees to attend and successfully complete a traffic safety program approved by the court under standards set by the Conference." 


What does this mean in plain English? It means that if you take traffic school, you'll still have to pay all the applicable fines for your ticket, but you can keep the conviction from going on your record. That means no points against your license, and you don't have to worry about your auto insurance rates jumping sky-high when your policy renews. All you have to do is complete an Illinois traffic safety school program approved by the court. Before you take any defensive driving class for ticket dismissal, please make sure that the court will accept it.


In most cases, you can request to take an Illinois traffic school course for ticket dismissal through the mail. If you look through the information that the officer gave you when you got the ticket, there should be a form to request traffic school. Fill the form out and send it in with your guilty plea and the appropriate amount of money. 

 

Insurance Discount

Even better, drivers who complete an Illinois traffic school program may be eligible for a discount on their auto insurance. The Illinois Department of Insurance does not require Illinois insurance companies to offer a defensive driving discount, but many insurance companies do anyway. Contact your auto insurance company and ask how much money a defensive driving class could save you. You may be pleasantly surprised! If your insurance company offers the discount, all you have to do is send in your certificate of completion and you can start saving money immediately!


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