Across America, drivers who take a walk on the wild side and earn a ticket use online driving schools to offset their points and decrease their insurance surcharges. For the most part, the individual states’ departments of motor vehicles (DMV) either accept such programs or they do not. For example, Michigan does and has a formal program including the driving schools. Some states, like Massachusetts, only accept in-person, expensive, state-certified courses for the worst behavior, like DUI and other serious offenses. Colorado does not fall into either a clear-cut category.
Instead, each individual “court” within the state of Colorado makes its own rules regarding online courses to offset penalty points and the resulting insurance surcharges. Car Talk researched the Colorado driving school market and DMV policies. We found there are three possibilities. First, the court adjudicating your case will allow you to participate in an online driving school to “erase” driving points you earn with bad behavior. Second, the court normally does not do so but is open to you asking about it in person on a case by case basis. This group of courts also sometimes only allows in-person traffic schools and not online courses. Last, court, Denver for example, doesn’t play ball. That court does not allow traffic scofflaws to take online courses to remove points.
The online traffic school courses applicable to Colorado are simple to use. One simply enrolls and follows the instructions that the app provides. You will need an internet-connected device like a phone, tablet, or similar. The course will cover the required material and will limit your ability to skip through the material. This is to ensure you spend the appropriate amount of time on the course.
For example, the course offered by iDrive Safely.com includes animated 3D video clips and interactive graphics. The easy-to-understand subject matter covers Colorado traffic law, defensive driving techniques, the basics of safe driving, and common road signs. The material is broken up into chapters so that you can work on a section and then set the course aside and return to the course later. At the end of each chapter, you answer questions from that section and you need to correctly answer 8/10. You can take the chapter quiz an unlimited amount of times and re-watch the section as often as necessary until you pass. Once you complete the course there is a final quiz at the end. If you took a similar class in person, you’d still be quizzed, so there is no downside to doing it online.
Since the Colorado courts are not participating with the providers directly, you will get a certificate of completion in the email once you are done. You then forward that on to the court to satisfy the arrangement with the court.
Unfortunately, the Colorado DMV does not make answering this important question simply. There is no Colorado DMV-supplied list of the courts that allow online traffic schools. Nor is there a list of “approved” course providers.
However, the folks that want to provide you with an online traffic school course have done much of the legwork. We are relying on second-hand information here supplied by iDriveSafely.com, so be sure you verify it before you sign up. Here is a list of the Colorado courts that the folks at iDriveSafely.com say will accept an online course:
iDriveSafely and other providers that we researched indicate that Denver is not amenable to such courses. That said, all of the courts allow you to request a citation, and its points be removed or resolved by taking an online course. It doesn’t hurt to ask is the general theme.
Like the courts in Colorado, the insurance companies in the state are under no mandate to reduce your surcharge from a ticket. However, they might. The only way to be sure is to speak with your insurer. Which will be a fun chat. We would suggest waiting to find out first if the court itself is going to accept the class. If it does, it would strengthen your argument that you don’t deserve to be stung in the pocketbook by the insurance company. Furthermore, if the points are removed or the case dismissed, you may not incur any surcharge.
Car Talk researched the prices of the online traffic school courses offered in Colorado. They range in price from about $26 to about $50. So the price is low compared to the damage to your budget a ticket and a surcharge can do. We would offer you a matrix of prices, but it is not possible. The differences in prices vary from provider to provider. Making it even trickier, the prices vary within the providers by individual courts. For example, If you opted to take the course from GotoTrafficSchool.com, the price for the Littleton court is $34.74. The same provider charges $48 if your case in the Bow Mar court and the course is not accepted by the Parker court in Colorado. Clearly, you need to know which court accepts such classes before you can even begin to look for one.
Save time and money with online classes
A: It might. You need to check with the individual court in Colorado where your case is being handled. Only the court can answer this question for you.
A: The court will advise you on the outcome of your case based on the completion of the course.
A: In Colorado, you first check with the court and ask if they will accept a course. If they will, you sign up with a provider online.
A: Generally, the courses are used to reduce points. It is unlikely your ticket will be canceled and unlikely you won’t pay a fine. Your court can give you an exact answer.
A: Traffic schools take between 4 and 8 hours to complete, but you can take breaks during the online course.
Taking classes online is often faster and cheaper than the classroom.