Finding yourself a state certified California online traffic school for ticket dismissal isn’t very difficult. On last count, there were hundreds of certified online traffic schools approved in California. Now, if all these online traffic schools were forced to meet certain quality or customer service requirements, no problem. But wow, some of the so-called “traffic schools” the state of California has allowed are just awful. In the time online traffic school was approved in California about 20 years ago, the vast majority of courses have become extremely outdated. As if getting a traffic ticket wasn’t bad enough, right?
The first thing you’ll want to do is get a full list of California online traffic schools that have actually been certified. You can obtain the full list on the California DMV website, but it is just a raw list without any reviews, ratings, discounts, etc. When you decide on which online traffic school you want to take, just double-check and verify that it is on that list.
Not in the slightest! While all courses need to be approved by the state, for some reason California doesn’t require much from these schools to get approved. Quite frankly, we’re not even sure how some of these schools became certified in the first place. Yes, they are that bad. You see, in the late 90’s and early 2000s, California finally approved online versions of traffic school, but they privatized it. What we’re left with is a bunch of old, outdated, poor quality, and overpriced schools with only a handful of them being high quality while still offering low pricing. To be fair, the state of California is conducting a major overhaul of their certification requirements, so hopefully we will see some improvements soon.
Nearly any online traffic school will say they are “state-approved.” First of all, make sure they are state-approved in California. If you spend time taking a course that is “state-approved” in, say, Texas or Florida, you’ll waste your money and 6 hours of your time, too. Some of these online driving schools do not do much to warn you if your state isn’t approved. In the state of California, online traffic schools are approved on a statewide basis, so it doesn’t matter which court jurisdiction your citation was in. Any online traffic school you sign up for should ask for some basic info such as where you got the ticket, the court, etc. If you are not specifically told that you are approved, do not give them a dime. Call their customer service number or just move on to another course.
In addition to the hundreds of online traffic schools that exist in California, you also have a bunch of resellers. What is an online traffic school reseller? Technically, it’s a completely legitimate service. They set up a website that looks like an authentic and certified California state-approved online traffic school, then they advertise their website. People go to the site, sign up, and are simply redirected to a legitimate course they are reselling. This is often called “co-branding” as many times you’ll see both brand names in the checkout page. In other words, they become the middleman. Going through a middleman can work out sometimes, but you need to make sure you’re actually getting the best price. Some of these resellers have their own checkout pages where they can set their own prices. How can you find out who’s a middleman and who’s legit? Check the official California DMV state approval list.
Earlier, I had mentioned that a bunch of courses got started in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Among the hundreds that didn’t do so well came out a few winners. You want to find those winners. They offer the least boring courses and have the best prices. Make sure you find an online traffic school that is mobile-friendly and offers content in multiple formats such as text, video, graphics, and animations.
Also, be aware that the state of California no longer requires course timers. That means you can get through the course as fast as you can click “next page” and pass the quizzes. Be absolutely sure any online traffic school you sign up for in California does NOT have a course timer. It is NOT required!!
By the way, never trust the Better Business Bureau rating on any of the online traffic school websites. We have found some schools either outright lying about their rating or showing the ratings of their parent companies while the school itself receives a much lower rating. Always verify their BBB ratings personally using the Better Business Bureau website.
This part you’ll like. Most of the legit schools allow you to sign up and start taking the course without entering any payment info at all. No credit card numbers, no PayPal accounts, nothing. Just start taking the course. Don’t like it? Find another one! If you do like the course, they usually require payment about halfway through, but will not charge you until you take the final exam. Any point up until the final exam you should be eligible for a refund. Find a school that guarantees you pass the final exam as well. Usually, you can just keep retaking the final exam until you pass it.
The entire point of taking an online traffic school vs. attending a classroom is that you can do the course at your own pace, from home, whenever you want. What’s the point of 9 to 5 customer service if you’re taking the course at 10 pm after the kids are asleep? Before signing up, find out what their customer service hours are like. Some online traffic schools offer 24/7/365 United States based customer service and most offer extended hours 365 days per year.
A majority of these online traffic schools in California were created in the late ’90s and early 2000’s – right when the state first began allowing online traffic school. Some of these courses are so old, they don’t even work on mobile devices. So, if you want to take the course from your phone or tablet, too bad.
The majority of online traffic schools will say they are mobile-friendly, but in reality, it is clunky, slow to load, and doesn’t work well at all.
Most online traffic schools in California have various coupon codes floating around. In fact, we bugged them for some coupons of our own, and we got them! Check out our online traffic school discount codes to see what is currently being offered. Not all states allow discounts to be used as pricing is set by the state itself, but California does allow discount codes and coupons to be used. Unfortunately, there is no real consistency with these coupons and discounts. Sometimes fantastic discounts are being offered and other times, there aren’t any discounts at all.
Ok, this isn’t exactly a scam, but it’s poor practice in our opinion. Many online traffic schools charge insanely expensive fees for expedited shipping. If you wait until the last minute and need to have your certificate of completion overnight shipped, it’ll cost you $20 to $30. Yeah, crazy! Luckily, California online traffic schools are allowed to deliver your completion certificate electronically in most cases. Make sure whichever school you sign up has FREE electronic certificate delivery to your court. If they do not state this upfront, there is very possibly a hidden charge at the end.
Many people get enticed into paying extra for a video-based traffic school course instead of a plain-text course. However, this is actually a bad idea. As discussed earlier, there is no course timer required in California, so why sit through boring videos? Take a plain ol’ text-based traffic school. They are MUCH faster to get through with lots of people getting through it in about an hour. You can also more easily find the answers to quiz questions.
In the state of California, your certificate of completion can be electronically delivered by the online traffic school you go through. You’ll want to verify with the court clerk that they received your completion certificate, but once that is done, everything else happens automatically. You may also want to contact your insurance company to see if you qualify for a discount as many time going through a traffic school does qualify you.
Well, hopefully this info helps you find a state-certified California Online Traffic School that won’t rip you off and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a few things about safe driving along the way. You’ve got to do it anyway, might as well make the best of it. If you’d like to see specific online traffic school recommendations, be sure to check out the many reviews on the site.
Highest Rated & Certified California Online Traffic Schools
Page last updated on December 16th, 2019
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