The best way to avoid payment increases on your auto insurance premium after getting a traffic ticket is to attend driving school. Another option is to take a safe driving class through your local automobile club, AAA, school district, adult continuing education center, community college or other participating organization.
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Safe driving classes may be as brief as a single evening or could extend for several sessions. Full day classes are also offered, often on Saturdays, as an alternative for drivers who may be too busy to attend during the workweek. Online classes are quickly becoming a popular alternative.
Depending on the rules and regulations in your state, online classes are a fast, efficient, and economical way to avoid costly insurance increases following a minor traffic offense. Most states require that classes be registered and that content be approved.
In many cases, once completed, classes will be acknowledged directly by the state motor vehicle department and the results will be shared with your insurance company. In most cases, state laws set the number of points that may be eliminated with each class and determine the amount of the discount your auto insurance provider may allow.
In New York State, the National Safety Council offers its online defensive driving class. This class is approved by the state and can expunge up to four points from your driving record. Once completed, the class also provides for a mandatory 10% reduction in auto insurance premiums for a full three years.
The NSC reports class results electronically directly to the New York DMV. No final exam is required.The National Safety Council offers classes in both English and Spanish and has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
You can obtain more information by visiting the NSC website.
Florida has a similar arrangement through the state safety organization specifically designed for speeding violators. Enrollees in this four-hour course will be able to keep speeding related points off their Florida driver’s license.
Successful completion of the course also allows drivers to maintain safe driver status and have adjudication of their speeding offense withheld. The course covers a number of important safe driving topics including, general knowledge, risk control, vehicle control procedures and driver exposure and perceptions.
National Safe Driving Programs
Older drivers are often considered higher insurance risks by most auto insurance providers. The AARP provides an economical online class alternative for drivers 50 and older.
AARP members pay only $15.95 while non-members are assessed just $19.95. Online class rates will be higher in New York State, $23.95 and $27.95 respectively. Classes cover the rules of the road and defensive driving techniques.
The class may be completed at your own pace and is backed up by 24-hour customer support. Check in your area to see if the AARP Driver Safety Online Course qualifies for insurance premium discounts.
Tickets Can Affect Your Insurance Premiums
According to the Autoflix website, whether your insurance rates go up or not, is dependent on your driving record and the relationship you have with your car insurance company. Other factors include the area in which you live and by how much you were exceeding the speed limit.
A single speeding ticket is often enough for your insurance company to raise your rates since speed is a huge risk factor for all drivers.
In the case of extreme speeding, your insurance rates could as much as double!
Cars Most Likely to Get Tickets
According to MSN Money, the car most likely to be ticketed by police officers is the Mercedes SL convertible which is four times more likely to receive a ticket that the average car. Second and third on the MSN hot ticket list are the Toyota Camry Solara model and the Scion TC, which are rated as three and one half times as likely to be ticketed, than less flashy car models.
Any model Hummer is three times more likely to receive a speeding ticket than the average car. The Scion XB model is fifth on the MSN hit list followed by the Mercedes Benz CLS-63 AMG sedan, the Acura Integra and Pontiac Grand Am. Last on the top ten list are the Mercedes CLK-63 AMG and the Volkswagen GTI hatchback.
Older, more affluent drivers are just as likely to be ticketed for speeding as their younger counterparts.
Scions are most often purchased by youthful drivers in their thirties, while the average age of a Mercedes Benz owner is 53.
Speeding Doesn’t Pay
U.S. drivers rarely think about the effect of a speeding ticket on their auto insurance premiums until it is too late. Most motorists, especially newer teenage drivers, drive faster than posted speed limits would allow. There are many reasons that drivers speed. Some may be late for school or a business appointment. Others may just not be paying attention.
Obviously, there are not enough traffic enforcement officers on the road to contain the speeding problem, so the odds that you’ll get caught on any particular day are slim. However, in spite of this, millions of drivers are ticketed for speeding violation every year.
According to the website Joe Taxpayer, speeding is the most common traffic violation by far with more than 35 million tickets being issued in the United States each year.
This staggering number works out to almost 93,000 tickets each day, or 65 speeding violations every minute of the day. Younger drivers, between the ages of 17 and 24 receive the most tickets.
Most drivers caught speeding, over 95%, simply plead guilty and pay the fine by mail.
The average fine in the United States for a speeding ticket is about $150.
However, the financial burden of a speeding violation doesn’t end in court.
Following the conviction for a speeding violation, the average driver’s insurance premiums will increase $300 per year! Considering the sheer number of tickets written every year, it is estimated that insurance companies profit to the tune of $9 billion annually!
The worst state to drive in is Ohio, which writes more speeding tickets than any other in the nation, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, and then California. States that write the fewest traffic citations include Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Alaska, according to Executive Travel Magazine.
The Point System
Points assigned for a conviction on a traffic infraction vary from state to state. If you have been charged with a speeding violation, the faster you were driving, the more points will be assigned if you are convicted. In most locales, traveling at 10 to 15 mph above the posted speed limit is a single point. Driving at speeds of 30 to 40 mph faster than the legal limit is another matter.
Traveling at significantly higher speeds will result in charges that are more serious. Charges such as reckless driving or reckless endangerment will usually amount to double or triple the points assigned by the state if you are convicted.
Other minor moving violations include running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield the right of way or making an improper turn.
More serious violations, which result in accidents or cause injuries are dealt with more harshly and can be difficult to expunge from your driving record.
The highest number of points will be awarded to the drivers who commit the most serious offenses. These are DUI and DWI offenses, hit and run violations, leaving the scene of an accident citations, and any traffic violation resulting from the commission of a crime.
Depending on the state, if you accumulate more than 11 or 12 points in any given 18-month period, your license to drive could be suspended or even revoked for a period of time. For those drivers convicted of multiple DWI or DUI offenses, it is possible that they will lose their driving privileges for life!
How to Avoid a Traffic Ticket
While we’ve been talking about eliminating points on your driver’s license, it would be helpful to spend a bit of time discussing how you might avoid a traffic ticket to begin with. The best way to avoid a traffic ticket is not to break the law! Don’t speed! Obey all traffic regulations. Be courteous and considerate to other motorists and drive defensively.
At the very least, if you do receive a traffic ticket, just by answering the citation or consulting with an attorney who specializes in traffic offenses, you might be able to plea to a lesser charge and reduce or even eliminate costly points.
It is always important to know and keep track of what is on your driving record. Know when any traffic offenses were recorded and when, after a three-year period, they are likely to drop off your record. Offenses that fall within the most recent 18-month period are weighed most heavily in calculating your insurance premiums.
Bear in mind that DMV offices may make mistakes and you should make sure that the information they are providing to your auto insurance company is accurate and up to date. A single violation that should have been removed from your record could cost you hundreds of extra dollars when it comes time to renew your auto policy.
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