The best way to avoid traffic accidents and costly tickets is to learn how to become a safer driver. American Safety Council's Florida Defensive Driving course teaches effective crash prevention techniques and provides a wide range of benefits to drivers who received a traffic ticket.
Our online and mobile-friendly course, officially known as the 4-hour Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course, is approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
If you were ticketed for a non-criminal moving violation, you can elect to take the course to reduce the cost of your ticket, prevent points from being added to your record and avoid an increase to your insurance rate. The Defensive Driving course can also help you satisfy a court order to complete Basic Driver Improvement training.
You can complete our flexible online course at your own pace. And when you finish your training and pass the final exam, we'll automatically report your course completion to the FLHSMV.
Read on for more information about our state-approved online defensive driving course, including what you'll learn, the requirements to pass and the steps you can take to protect your driving record.
Florida Defensive Driving Course Details
Satisfies Training Requirements for:
Florida 4-hour Basic Driver Improvement course
Digital certificate and course completion reporting to FLHSMV
100% online course
24/7 customer support
Who Can Take the Florida Defensive Driving Course?
Florida drivers who received a traffic ticket can volunteer to take a state-approved defensive driving course to reduce citation fees, keep points off their driving record and avoid an increase to their insurance premiums. Only drivers with a non-commercial driver license who received a non-criminal moving violation are eligible to take the course voluntarily.
Florida courts can also order you to take a defensive driving course if you are ticketed for certain driving violations. When the Florida Defensive Driving course is court ordered, the driver must complete a state-approved course by the court's specified deadline.
When Is a Defensive Driving Course Mandatory for Florida Drivers?
According to the FLHSMV, Florida requires drivers to take a 4-hour Basic Driver Improvement course if they:
- Elect to attend BDI school to avoid having points added to their record
- Are cited for an at-fault crash in which anyone is transported to the hospital
- Are involved in two crashes within a two-year period that resulted in property damage greater than $500
- Are convicted of one of the following in Florida or another state:
- Passing a school bus displaying a stopped signal
- Racing on a highway
- Spectating a highway race
- Reckless driving
- Running a red light
When a Florida defensive driving course is required by the court, you must complete the course by the court's deadline. Otherwise, the court may suspend your license until the course is completed.
How Do I Satisfy My Florida Defensive Driving Course Requirements?
You can satisfy your Florida Defensive Driving Course requirement in four easy steps. Because each county sets its own procedures for the process, it's a good idea to request information about any specific requirements from the clerk's office in the county where your ticket was issued.
Step 1: Elect to Take the Course
Within 30 days of receiving your citation, you must notify the court that you are electing to take a Basic Driver Improvement course.
Step 2: Complete the Course
Complete our online Basic Driver Improvement course by the deadline your court provided. The four-hour course includes seven learning modules and a final exam.
Step 3: Verify That the Court Processed Your Completion
It is your responsibility to confirm the court has received and processed your course completion. We report your successful course completion to the Florida DMV within one to two business days. Most courts in the state of Florida can access these records to confirm you completed the course.
However, some courts may require you to provide a certificate of completion in person. We suggest that you follow up with your local court after finishing the course to make sure your course completion was processed correctly. You will receive a digital or print certificate of completion that you can provide to the court if needed.
Step 4: Pay Fines and Fees
The final step is to pay any fines or fees associated with your traffic violation.
Point Reduction, Reduced Fines and Other Course Benefits
Volunteering to take the Florida Defensive Driving course provides numerous benefits to drivers who received a traffic ticket.
First, completing the course will prevent points from being added to your driving record. If you've already accumulated a significant amount of points, this could prevent you from receiving a license suspension.
In addition, completing the course will reduce your traffic citation fine by 9%. You could also avoid paying more for your insurance.
In most cases, auto insurance companies cannot increase your premium or cancel your policy if you elect to take a defensive driving course after getting a ticket. Insurance companies can, however, increase your premium or cancel your policy if you are found at fault in a crash where the insurance provider incurred a loss.
In addition to these great benefits, you can complete our Florida Defensive Driving course from any web-enabled device.
Florida Defensive Driving Course Topics
The following topics are covered in the 4-hour Florida Defensive Driving course:
- Traffic Crash Problems
- The Human Factors
- DUI Prevention
- Crash Dynamics
- Safety Equipment
- Crash Prevention Techniques
- Florida Traffic Laws
- DUI and Other Hazardous Acts
- Dealing with Fatigue
- Relationship Between Amount of Alcohol Consumed and BAC
- Concept of Second Collision
- Head Restraints
- Safe Following Distance
- Speed Limits
- And more
This course includes seven learning modules and a final exam. Each module provides in-depth information designed to help you improve your driving skills. All course modules end with a quiz, and you have up to three attempts to pass quizzes with a score of 70% of higher.
After you complete all course modules, you must pass a 20-question final exam. You have three hours to finish the exam, and you have up to three chances to pass with a score of 70% or higher. Students who do not pass all quizzes and the final exam will not be issued a certificate of completion.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a defensive driving course?
The Florida defensive driving course, also known as the Basic Driver Improvement course or Traffic Collision Avoidance Course (TCAC), aims to help drivers improve their driving skills and make roads safer for everyone.
Florida drivers who receive a traffic ticket can voluntarily elect to take a state-approved course to reduce their citation fee, keep points off their driving record and prevent their insurance rates from increasing.
Who is eligible for the Florida Defensive Driving course?
Most Florida drivers who have committed a non-criminal moving violation are eligible to take a Florida Basic Driver Improvement course. Additionally, any driver who has been ordered by the court to complete a defensive driving course is required to take the course.
What can disqualify me from taking the Florida Defensive Driving course?
According to the FLHSMV, you are not eligible to take the Florida Defensive Driving course if you:
- Elected to take a Basic Driver Improvement course within the past 12 months
- Have taken the course five times in your lifetime
- Hold a commercial driver license (CDL)
- Were cited for going 30 mph above the posted speed limit
If you are not eligible for the course, you will not qualify for point reduction or other course benefits.
Is there a deadline to elect to take a Florida defensive driving course?
Florida drivers must voluntarily elect to take the defensive driving course within 30 days of receiving a traffic ticket. During this window, you must also pay any associated fines and fees. If you miss the 30-day deadline, the state will add points to your driving record.
How will I receive my certificate of completion?
When you successfully compete the course and final exam, your course completion will be automatically reported to the Florida DMV. You will also receive a digital course certificate that, if needed, you can submit to your county court. Please check with the Clerk of Court in the county your citation was issued to find out if you need to provide a certificate of completion.
How many times can I take a Basic Driver Improvement course in Florida?
The state of Florida allows drivers to complete a Basic Driver Improvement course one time in any 12-month period. However, you can elect to take the defensive driving course no more than five times in your lifetime.
What are the penalties for not completing the mandatory Florida Defensive Driving Course?
If you fail to complete a mandatory defensive driving course, the state of Florida can suspend your license.
Do I need to notify the court that I'm taking a defensive driving course?
Yes, it is your responsibility to notify the court that you plan to take a defensive driving course. The court will let you know the exact steps you need to take to prove that you successfully completed the course.
How long do I have to complete the Florida Defensive Driving Course?
Drivers enrolled in the online defensive driving course must complete the course within the specified deadline the court has provided. If you do not complete the course in time, the court could suspend your license.
How long is the online defensive driving course?
Our state-approved Florida Defensive Driving course takes at least four hours to finish. After you complete seven course modules and quizzes, you must pass a 20-question final exam. You have up to three hours to finish the exam.