Post Updated January 4, 2019 and March 11, 2020
If you have points on your driving license or would like the to reduce your car insurance premiums, the New York DMV has a "Point and Insurance Reduction Program" (PIRP). This program includes approved courses offered by private companies called "course sponsors." The courses review traffic laws and tips for safe driving including driver attitude and defensive driving techniques.
Once you complete the course you qualify you for:
- A reduction in your effective point total by up to 4 points, automatically applied to your record, and
- A 10% reduction in your automobile liability and collision insurance premiums, each year for three years.
If have pleaded guilty to a speeding ticket or any other moving violation in the last 18-months, you have points on your license and taking one of these course would be a good idea if you are at risk for suspension. If you are not sure if you have points on your license, you can request a driving abstract from the New York DMV or your licensing state.
Points are Ignored, Not Removed from Your Record
A common belief about these driving courses is that they remove, or eliminate, points from a driver's record. This, unfortunately, does not occur. The points and conviction remain on your record along with another entry indicating that you completed a course are eligible for your point total to be reduced by 4 for suspension purposes, if that becomes an issue.
In New York, acquiring 11 points in any 18-month period will subject a driver to suspension. If, however, that driver took a driving course, the DMV would disregard 4 of those points toward the 11 point calculation. Effectively, the point total would be 7 and the there would be no suspension. New York Points for Traffic Tickets.
For the driver with an otherwise clean record, who pleads to a 2, 3, or 4 point ticket, taking a course will not make their record clean again. The only way to actually remove a conviction from a driving record is via a formal motion to the court to reopen the case called a "motion coram nobis."
You Give the Completion Certificate to Your Insurer for Premium Reduction
Once you complete complete the driving course, you must give it your insurance agent or insurer. If you give the certificate to your insurance agent within 90 of completing the course, then the premium reduction occurs immediately and dates back to the date you completed the course. If after 90 days, the insurance company may apply the discount only going forward.
Other Important points:
- Your insurance company may still raise your rates for accidents or traffic violations.
- If more than one person is on the policy only the principal operator gets the reduction.
Point Reduction Occurs Automatically
Upon completion of your course, the provider will notify the DMV of your participation within 10 weeks and the DMV will apply the point reduction eligibility. The point reduction applies only to points assessed in the 18 months before the course and cannot be used as credit to reduce future points.
Does not Apply to Driver Responsibility Assessment
Unfortunately, if you are currently paying a New York Driver Responsibility Assessment, the point reduction will not reduce that assessment. The only way to remove an assessment is with a coram nobis motion to the court as mentioned above.
The New York DMV-Approved Driving Courses
The good news is that the DMV Point and Insurance Reduction courses, typically called "Defensive Driving Courses" or "Six Hour Courses", are available live in classrooms and online. The bad news is that each course lasts for about 6 hours and there may be quizzes or tests.
An Online Defensive Driving Course By Improv
The online course is course $37.95. The was created through the joint venture with the World Famous Improv Comedy Club, to provide the most convenient, fun and cost-effective Internet Defensive Driving Course for New York Drivers.
National Safety Council
The online Course is $39.95. It says it is the first point reduction plan approved in New York, can be completed completely on line, and has state of the art animations, graphics and videos.
National Traffic Safety Institute
The online Course is $39.95. It claims to have "the most current information on defensive driving, traffic laws, collision avoidance, and the affects of alcohol and drugs on drivers."
New York Safety Program
The online Course is $49.95 and boasts that it is the "Only on line class with no quizzes and no final exam.".
USA Training Company
The online course is $49.95. It claims to have "All elements of your Internet course, including 12 chapters of reading with streaming videos, multiple-choice quizzes and your completion certificate. There are no additional fees."
The online course is geared to drivers age 50 and over but any person may take it. It costs $15.95 for AARP members and $19.95 for non-members. There is also an $8.00 additional charge to cover fees payable to the New York DMV.
The online course is $34.95 and says that it is " designed to fit effortlessly into your schedule." Which means that you do not have to complete the program in one sitting because the computer remembers your spot. Other programs also have this start and stop, complete-at-your leisure feature.
American Safety Council
The online course is $34.50. the Council states that is it completely online with free electronic reporting.
Driver Training Associates
The online course is $34.50. Easy to use format; Clear, simple language, Videos and animations; Study at your own pace.
New York Safety Council
The online course is $24.95. No final exam.
I DRIVE SAFELY
The online course is $34.95. It is a learn at your own pace and has a 10% Discount for AAA members.