I’m not sure the situation that led you to ask this question. Maybe a run of bad luck earned you two traffic tickets this month. Maybe you got a ticket right after completing defensive driving for an insurance discount. Maybe you dismissed a ticket years ago with defensive driving, and now you have a new ticket. Did you already use up your once-in-a-lifetime mulligan?
In Texas, the real question about your ability to take defensive driving is not how many times you can take it but how often. For the purposes of ticket dismissal, drivers can complete a driver safety course once every 12 months. If you have taken defensive driving for an insurance discount, you can take it again every three years to keep the discount in effect.
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VIDEO: Can You Take Defensive Driving More Than Once?
How Soon Can You Take Defensive Driving Again?
Some sites will tell you that you can take defensive driving once a year for ticket dismissal. While this is technically true, it’s a little confusing.
State law actually provides for ticket dismissal once every 12 months with defensive driving. The privilege isn’t based on a calendar year. So if you got a ticket for Christmas this year and took defensive driving for it, don’t think you can do it again for Valentine’s.
If, instead, you took defensive driving to earn an insurance discount, you’ll have to wait three years before you take it again to renew. So how will you ever fill the time until next time?
I guess you could pass the time by getting a ticket. However, having a defensive driving completion certificate on file with your insurance man doesn’t remove your ticket dismissal privilege. So don’t make the mistake of missing out on insurance savings because you’re afraid of not being able to dismiss a ticket later.
By the way, if you’ve recently dismissed a ticket, don’t forget to submit the second copy of your certificate to your insurance company. It might turn out that you save enough on your insurance to cover the course cost and the court fees. Who knew you could make money by getting a ticket? Of course, we don’t recommend this as a practical side hustle, but, still.
Is It Worth It to Take Defensive Driving for a Ticket?
If you have gotten yourself a traffic ticket, you may think that getting it dismissed presents a waste of time and an abundance of hassle. So why not just pay it, vow never to make the same mistake, and move on down the road?
Let’s take a look at what happens when you “just pay it” and how that decision can turn that ticket into a gift that keeps on giving.
According to CarInsurance.com, insurance premiums in Texas increase by 15% after a ticket, which is reflected for three years. What’s worse, if you get another ticket within those three years, you get a new status with your insurance company—high-risk driver. High-risk drivers can pay an extra 40% or more for car insurance. Ready for a little depressing math?
On average, a driver with good credit will pay approximately $1400 dollars per year for car insurance, according to the folks at Nerdwallet. Let’s take a look at the post-ticket numbers, and by numbers, I mean dollars.
Depending on where you were pulled over, the fine for a Texas speeding ticket can range from $150 to $300 dollars. Let’s add that to three years of increased insurance premiums and see where we are.
I can hear your wallet sobbing from here.
On the other hand…
You could take a defensive driving course for $25 bucks. You could even splurge and level up to a 100% video course. You would have to pay court costs of about $125 dollars to get permission, but you’re never going to see an insurance increase. That puts you up a net of over $700 dollars. Still think defensive driving would be too much of a beating? Look at it this way.
Let’s say it takes you an hour to deal with the court and six hours to complete the course. That means your time taking defensive driving earns you about $100 bucks an hour. Not bad, especially considering that your completion certificate could earn you a further insurance discount. You’d have to have a pretty high-powered job not to want to make that kind of scratch!
What If I Have Two Tickets? Will Defensive Driving Help?
There are forums all over the internet discussing ways to skirt the “once every 12 months” defensive driving rules. Some offer some shady ways to attempt it. These “experts” allege that municipalities don’t communicate with each other, so if you request defensive driving from two different courts, chances are good you can get away with it.
Can I just say from personal experience that any time I’ve tried to get away with something, it hasn’t turned out well?
Other forums are more legit, mostly because the advice given there is based in this legal fact: A judge can override the 12-month rule. It never hurts to ask. What can hurt is to get caught trying to game the system.
Tickets and Your Driving Record
Keeping your driving record clean is important. A ticket will go onto your record in the form of points. Depending on the infraction, the points remain on your record for a minimum of three years. Added points mean higher insurance premiums, but that’s not all.
If you get enough points added to your record, the state will assess a surcharge collected annually. The surcharges begin at $100 dollars when you hit six points, with an extra $25 dollars per additional point.
Here are some examples of things that will add points:
Here are some examples of things that will add points:
- In-state moving violation — 2 points
- Out-of-state moving violation — 2 points
- In-state moving violation w/accident — 3 points
- Out-of-state moving violation w/accident — 3 points
Here’s a look at all the things that can add “DRPs” or Driver Responsibility Points.
The thing to remember here is that defensive driving cannot be used to remove points already appearing on your record. Your best strategy is to keep them off in the first place. It’s just like you always heard when you were a kid…
“Wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident and, if you accidentally get a ticket, take defensive driving to keep your record clean!”Mom
Got more questions? Head back over to our FAQ Page.
John FabelI have a long and checkered history with defensive driving. I took my first "court invited" course at age 15 and realized immediately that there had to be a better way. Since that first experience, I have gone on to teach defensive driving classroom courses and to author four internet courses in 2 states. After nearly 25 years in the industry, I can help you find a course that will be the best fit for you.
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