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
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.
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
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
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!