A certified Texas defensive driving video course can be taken in lieu of going to a classroom-based course and it can be done entirely online (no DVD’s, no downloads, etc). In most states, you are forced to take a government-sponsored traffic school and you have absolutely no choice in where you can take it. Even when the courses are online, they are normally text-based courses which can be even more boring than a classroom! In Texas, they do things a little differently (seems to be a common theme for Texas!). Classroom-based courses have been long known to be ineffective and painfully boring. So are text based courses that you can take online. That’s why Texas came up with this voluntary alternative.
Other Ways To Complete Your Online Traffic School Requirements
Chances are, you got a traffic ticket and were told to complete a state-certified Texas Defensive Driving Course to dismiss the ticket or at the very least, keep your auto insurance rates down. If you’d like to avoid wasting 6 hours sitting in a classroom, an online course is your best bet. The most common way people fulfill this requirement is to take an online Texas driver safety course (lots of course reviews on that page). While a bunch of great online courses exist, there are hardly any decent video courses out there. In fact, of all the video courses I’ve reviewed, only one of them is available for online streaming (the rest of them are DVD’s you have to order).
My Recommended Streaming Video Defensive Driving Course
Well, they made it pretty easy for me. There is only one company that offers a quality online streaming video course. There are other courses where you can order a DVD, but even those are pretty terrible and way outdated. So my review is going to focus on one single course, the iDriveSafely Video Course (link includes Coupon Code MRDVSF).
Full Review Of The iDriveSafely Texas Defensive Driving Video Course
For starters, here is how the course is structured (I provided a screenshot of the main menu below).
- Chapter 1
- Introduction (7 minutes)
- The Traffic Safety Problem (21 minutes)
- Factors Influencing Driver Performance (26 minutes)
- Chapter 2
- Traffic Laws And Procedures (42 minutes)
- Special Skills For Difficult Driving Environments (27 minutes)
- Chapter 3
- Physical Forces That Influence Driver Control (14 minutes)
- Perceptual Skills Needed For Driving (11 minutes)
- Defensive Driving Strategies (34 minutes)
- Chapter 4
- Driving Emergencies (32 minutes)
- Occupant Restraints And Protective Equipment (24 minutes)
- Chapter 5
- Alcohol And Traffic Safety (38 minutes)
- Conclusion (4 minutes)
Total Time = 5 Hours
Course Difficulty = EASY
Yeah, the state requirement is 6 hours. The reason the course is only 5 hours is that you are required to take a 10-minute break between sections. This is a state requirement and 6 hours is the quickest course allowed for any state-approved Texas defensive driving video course. Any course less than 6 hours is a sure sign it’s not certified by the state and you’re wasting your time. Bottom line? iDriveSafely is the fastest video course you’re allowed to take for ticket dismissal in the entire state of Texas.
First, I’d like to point out that little Help button in the upper right-hand corner of the main menu (above). I was curious to see what would come up, so I clicked on it. I was presented with two links. One was a FAQ link and there was also a Contact Us link. The FAQ link, as you might imagine, includes all of the most commonly asked questions and answers. I was pleasantly surprised that the contact link included phone numbers (including a number for those who are hearing impaired), an email address, and their headquarters mailing address with their local corporate phone number. You also have an option to get live support via chat through their main webpage. Online traffic schools are known for having terrible customer service so it’s nice to see these guys go above and beyond.
Every other course which has been officially approved as a Texas defensive driving video course will require that you have DVDs sent to you in the mail. Apparently these other schools don’t know we are in the 21st century yet! The iDriveSafely video course is not only available online, but you can start and stop the course whenever you want. Do it all in one sitting or split it up over the course of a week, or even a month! They will keep track of your progress for you and you can use any computer with an internet connection.
Starting The Course
When you first sign up, they’ll ask you for all sorts of info that is required by the courts. They will also need to “validate” your identity. Basically, the state requires them to put systems in place to verify that the person who got the ticket is the actual person taking the course. They can achieve this in several ways, such as voice recognition, asking questions only you would know the answer to, etc. It’s not foolproof or anything, but if you plan on cheating by having someone else take the course for you, they will make things difficult.
You’ll initially be greeted by several animated characters and they will be with you throughout the entire course. The animations are actually done pretty well with several characters that each have a unique personality. Here are the main characters you’ll meet (my favorite is Otto!):
Once you’ve been acquainted, the characters will guide you through the video course with explanations, instructions, and sometimes just entertainment. They usually act as a sort of “intermission” between videos. Which brings me to my next point. They have a nice way of integrating both animations and videos and even have them both simultaneously sometimes.
Pesky Authentication System
Any certified Texas defensive driving video course is required to verify that you are really the one taking the course. One way they do this is by asking questions only you know the answer to and then you have a limited amount of time to answer. For example, one question I was asked is “Based on the vehicle license plate number you provided during course registration – does the vehicle have a lien against it (is it financed)?” You have 90 seconds to answer the question. You’re allowed to get a few of them wrong, but if you keep missing them, they will assume you have somebody taking the course for you and suspend your account.
They also ask questions about things that happened in the video. In other words, you can’t play the video, go get a haircut, and come back later. They actually verify that you’ve been watching and paying attention. Again, this is a Texas state requirement so any state-approved video course will have that feature.
Taking The Assessment Exams
The assessment exams are multiple-choice and fairly simple if you’ve been paying attention. In some counties, you only need 70% to move on but in other counties, you need to get 100%. If you fail it, you can review sections of the course you’re having trouble with and retake the exam (with different questions). As long as you’re paying attention, you’ll do fine. If you’re having trouble paying attention, just log off and do it another time. You can save your progress at just about any point during the course.
Notifying Courts After Course Completion
Once you’ve successfully completed the course requirements, iDriveSafely will automatically send an official course completion certificate to you. For the state of Texas, you are required to sign the certificate before you send it in, so they will need to mail it directly to you instead of the courts. If you procrastinated and need to have things expedited, they can do that for you, but it’ll cost extra (overnight shipping is something like $20, so it’s a little pricey). If you get it done early enough and use standard shipping for your completion certificates, there will be no extra charge for shipping.
Texas Ticket Dismissal FAQs
You may have some questions about the Texas ticket dismissal procedure. So here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Who is Eligible to Get a Ticket Dismissed in Texas?
To get your ticket dismissed you must:
- have a valid Texas driver’s license or permit and proof of insurance
- be an active duty member in the military (spouse and dependent children also eligible)
However, you cannot request ticket dismissal if:
- You are currently enrolled in a defensive driving course
- You have completed a defensive driving course in the last 12 months when you receive your ticket
- You refuse to plead “no contest.” (You cannot plead “not guilty” and still take the course)
- You’re holding a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL when you receive the ticket.
What should I do after completing the course to dismiss my ticket?
Aside from your Certificate of Completion, make sure to also secure a copy of your Certified Texas Driving Record (Check How To Get Your Texas Driving Record Fast & Easy). You’ll need to submit both to the county court where you got your ticket. You may need to go to the court in person.
Do I need a lawyer when I go to court for ticket dismissal?
No, you won’t need a lawyer to represent you if you’re going to court for traffic ticket dismissal. You’ll need to be physically present in the court though on the exact date when your case comes up. Make sure to be at least an hour early.
At this time, your court should already have your plea, along with your request to take a Driver Safety Course. A public defender will likely be in court to assist you.
The court proceedings will be straightforward – the judge calls your case, you state your name, then he will review the traffic ticket you received. The judge will be asking questions about the incident so be ready with your facts. The court will then review your plea and confirm if you have already requested to take the driver safety course to get your ticket dismissed.
What should I bring when I go to court?
Don’t forget to bring the following when you go to court for traffic ticket dismissal:
- Your driver’s license
- A copy of your plea
- Your Driver Safety Course Request Form
- Your certified driving record
- Proof of car insurance
This is hands down the best Texas defensive driving video course available for ticket dismissal. Nothing else comes close and nobody else that I know of offers a 100% online streaming video option. There are even some extras that I didn’t expect in the course such as presentations by Terry Earwood of the Skip Barber Driving School (a well-known racing school).
Keep in mind, the course is 5 hours long (6 hours with breaks), so it does get boring from time to time. But I think this is about the most pain-free way to complete your traffic school requirements online.
It’s certainly better than going to a classroom and in my opinion, it’s a whole lot better than reading through 6 hours of text-based material through other online traffic schools.
Simply use this coupon link and click on the video course to see the most current pricing deal. That’s it! You’re ready to go!