Maybe you’ve forgotten some of the more important driving rules in your ripe old age, or maybe you just didn’t feel like driving the speed limit or stopping at that red light right before you got pulled over. Whatever the reason for your moving violation, you’re now faced with a point against your license and an increase in your auto insurance rate. But turn that frown upside down, because you can get your ticket masked and keep the point off your license by attending a traffic violator course, and you can take your traffic course online in the wonderful state of California! The Academy of Defensive Driving is one of a huge pile-up of traffic violator courses in California, and you’re about to see how they stack up against the hordes of others.
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Is Academy of Defensive Driving Legit?
The Academy of Defensive Driving was approved in 2005 by the DMV to provide traffic violator school in all counties in the state. That makes them as legit as they can be. But whether they’re the best school out there remains to be seen.
Features of Academy of Defensive Driving
The cost of the Academy of Defensive Driving’s traffic violator course is $19.99, which is pretty standard. A handful of schools cost more than that, and a handful cost less. This price gets you the course, the final exam, and the electronic submission of your completion certificate to the DMV. Now, the Academy of Defensive Driving’s website is frightfully lacking in information about the course. Most traffic schools bombard you with bulleted lists of benefits and perks, but the Academy of Defensive Driving is having none of that nonsense. All we really know is the price of the course and the fact that the course utilizes timers, which isn’t exactly earning the Academy of Defensive Driving any brownie points. See, the DMV used to require timers on online course to ensure folks were spending the required number of hours (eight) studying the ins and outs of turning left and changing lanes. But although the DMV dropped those requirements some time ago, a number of traffic schools still use them, which is confounding, because no one likes timers. If a course is timed, you have to spend at least 40 minutes on each chapter. So if you finish the chapter in 20 minutes, you’ve got to spend another 20 minutes checking Facebook or playing Solitaire until the timer runs out and the system lets you proceed to the next chapter. And that can really suck the life out of your momentum. Customer service is available by phone from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 on Friday, 7:30 to 4:00 on Saturday, and from 9:00 to 1:00 on Sunday. That’s a little better than a lot of traffic schools that limit customer support hours to their office hours, which are typically the same as banker’s hours. And that’s all we know about this course. We don’t know whether you can take it on your mobile devices (probably not,) and we don’t know whether the Academy of Defensive Driving will transmit your certificate of completion the same day you finish the course (probably not) or whether you’ll have to wait up to three business days (that’s probably more like it.) We do know that if there were a price match or money back guarantee, they’d probably let you know, and since they don’t, we’ll assume there aren’t.
How it Works
Although the Academy of Defensive Driving doesn’t provide any information whatsoever about the course, these things are pretty standard, so we can tell you how it’ll all go down. First, you’ll register for the course, and to do so, you’ll need your driver’s license number and the ticket information. After you pay for the course, you can start taking it right away. There will be chapters, and they will be timed. We don’t know how many chapters, and we’re not 100 percent positive how long the timer runs, but we’ll assume it’s the standard 40 minutes. Each chapter is followed by a short quiz, which you’ll have to pass to move on. You can take each quiz as many times as it takes to get the questions right. When you’re done with the coursework, you’ll take the 25-question final exam, which is entirely multiple choice. You have two attempts to pass the exam with a score of at least 70 percent. If you fail both tries, you’ll have to pay to re-take this or another course. But you probably won’t fail, because the test is open book. After you pass the test, your completion certificate will be transmitted electronically to the DMV, and the DMV will send it along to the presiding court. You should probably follow up with the court after about five days to make sure they got it and masked your ticket.
What We Like About Academy of Defensive Driving
The price is pretty standard, so that’s something. And the customer support hours aren’t terrible.
What We Don’t Like About Academy of Defensive Driving
Well, we don’t like the lack of information on the website. Can you take the course on your mobile device? We don’t know! Are there any guarantees? Doesn’t look like it! All we really know is that the course is timed, and we know that a timed course is the bane of many existences.
Rating for Academy of Defensive Driving
$19.99 isn’t a bad price, but if you’re going to take an online traffic violator course, you may as well shoot for one that offers a guarantee or two, provides you with information about the course, doesn’t torture you with timers, and lets you take the course on your tablet or phone. The Academy of Defensive Driving is certainly legit, but their lackluster website and indifference toward the customer, characterized by a total lack of interest in providing you with information about the course, earns them just two sad little stars out of five.