How Long Does Traffic School Take?

Written by Staff Writer

The simple answer is the New York traffic school course takes about six hours to complete. The exact amount of time varies depending on how long you spend on the defensive driving lessons and quizzes. If you are fast, it might take as little as five and a half hours to complete the course.

What that course includes, the benefits of online traffic school and how long it takes to get credit are all explained below.

What Is Online Traffic School?

In New York State, traffic school is also known as a Defensive Driving Course or Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course. No matter what you call it, traffic school is part of the New York State Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP).

You can take traffic school online or in a classroom. The internet version of the course is called IPIRP and includes all the required topics covered in the classroom course. Online traffic school has all the benefits of in-person driving school but gives you the freedom to take the class at your pace and complete it at your leisure. You can complete online traffic school from your home or mobile device. The best thing about online traffic school is how convenient it is to take along wherever you go.

How Long Does it Take to Complete Online Traffic School?

The course contains five hours and 30 minutes of instruction. That is the minimum traffic school course length allowed by the New York State DMV. Most students complete our defensive driving course in about six hours. No matter how long you need to work on the course material, you can take our online course at your own pace.

Due to DMV requirements, our online driving school course is available for 30 days after you begin. Choose how long you want to spend on each lesson. Complete the course in an afternoon or spread your traffic school experience out over a month. As long as you complete it within 30 days, you will get full credit.

Progress is recorded automatically. You will pick up right where you left off the next time you log into the course.

What Does Online Traffic School Cover?

The goal of traffic school is to refresh your traffic safety knowledge, make you a safer driver and help you avoid tickets.

The traffic school course covers a range of topics related to traffic safety. Course material includes basic driver improvement, defensive driving techniques and the Vehicle & Traffic Law in four learning modules. The full course outline can be seen below.

Module 1

  • Introduction
  • Traffic Crash Problems
  • DWI and Other Hazardous Acts
  • Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Module 2

  • Psychological Factors
  • Driving Distractions
  • DWI Prevention
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration
  • Legal and Financial Consequences
  • Avoiding Impaired Driving

Module 3

  • Crash Dynamics
  • Safety Equipment
  • Watching the Road
  • Following and Stopping Distances
  • Vehicle Emergencies and Sharing the Road
  • Intersections and Roadways

Module 4

  • New York Traffic Laws
  • Traffic Signals and Signs
  • Streets and Intersections
  • School Buses and Emergency Vehicles

At the end of each traffic school module, you will take a quiz. You have up to five minutes to take each quiz. If you get a score of at least 75% on the multiple-choice quiz, you pass. You will also be prompted to answer content questions periodically throughout the course. These questions are separate from the end-of-module quizzes and are designed to help you engage with the course content. After you meet the minimum time requirement, answer all content questions and complete the last quiz, the course is complete. There is no final exam for this course.

What Are the Benefits of a Traffic School Course?

Online traffic school offers several benefits. Brushing up on driver improvement is important, of course. But an education in defensive driving isn't all you get from completing online traffic school.

New York State uses a point system for driving violations. When you get a traffic ticket, you get points. If you get 11 points in any 18-month period, your license may be suspended. Completing traffic school reduces up to four points off your total, which can be the difference between keeping and losing your license. Points can only be reduced for infractions cited in the previous 18 months.

That's not all! Remember, New York traffic school is called the Point and Insurance Reduction Program. Once you complete online traffic school, you also qualify for a mandatory 10% insurance premium reduction. That insurance discount lasts three years from the date you complete the defensive driving course.

You can take our online traffic school course more than once. How long you must wait to take the course again depends on the benefit you want to renew. You can take the course every 18 months to reduce your license points and every 36 months to refresh your defensive driving insurance discount.

An Important Note:

Taking defensive driving school doesn't remove points or a traffic ticket from your record, but the points won't count toward your total for penalties. You can't use a defensive driving course to prevent a mandatory suspension or revocation.

What Do I Have to Do After I Complete the Course?

As soon as you complete all hours of instruction and pass the quizzes and content checks, the course is complete. We report electronically to the NYS DMV that the course is done. We take less than a week to report.

How long it will take for the DMV to process your course completion can vary. Usually, it takes less than 10 weeks to be reflected on your driving record. We also mail you a certificate of traffic school completion. If you send that certificate to your insurer, you will get 10% off your liability, no-fault and collision premiums. It typically takes 7 to 10 days for the certificate to arrive by USPS mail, but you can expedite delivery for an additional fee after completing the course.