In North Carolina, drivers who commit traffic violations may be ordered by the court to take either a four-hour or eight-hour defensive driving course. Taking a defensive driving course can help reduce or dismiss unwelcome traffic violation points on your North Carolina driving record.
Find out what a North Carolina defensive course covers and how it can benefit your driving record.
How North Carolina’s Points System Works
North Carolina follows a points demerit system for traffic violations. If you’re convicted of a traffic violation, points will be added to your driving record. Your license can be suspended if you:
Accumulate twelve points within three years.
Accumulate eight points in the three years following a license reinstatement.
The length of your suspension depends on how many previous license suspensions you have. If it’s your first suspension, your license will be suspended for only 60 days. A second suspension extends that period to six months, and a third suspension means losing your driving privileges for one year.
There is some good news, though. Motorists who accumulate seven points may be eligible to attend a state-approved defensive driving course. Once you complete the course, you’ll automatically qualify for a three-point reduction on your driving record, provided you have not attended a course within the last five years.
What’s the Difference Between the 4-Hour and 8-Hour Defensive Driving Course in North Carolina?
If you have committed a traffic offense, the court will instruct you to attend either a four-hour or eight-hour defensive driving course. There’s little difference between the two. The one you take largely depends on where you live.
4-Hour Defensive Driving Course
The four-hour courseis more condensed and only drivers in certain counties, like Guilford and Wake counties, are eligible for it.
The course includes eight chapters. You have a choice between a text-based, audio, or video format. At the end of each chapter, you’ll answer a 10-question multiple-choice quiz. At the end of the course, you’ll take a 25-question exam. Score 80% and you pass the course.
8-Hour Defensive Driving Course
In most other counties in North Carolina, the judge will order an eight-hour course. While the eight-hour course is longer, it’s just as easy to complete. The benefit of taking an online course is that it allows you to work at your pace. You can finish the course in less than eight hours if you decide to knuckle down and work through it quickly.
The course is structured in the same way as the four-hour course with eight chapters, 10-question quizzes, and a 25-question exam. The eight-hour course is available in text or audio format only.
Both courses are designed to make the content easy to absorb by using animation, graphics, and videos.
The Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course
Apart from reducing your traffic violation points, taking a defensive driving course has other benefits.
1. Lower Insurance Rates
Insurance companies take your driving record into account when setting rates. The more points on your record, the more your premium is likely to be hiked. Lowering your points can help keep your insurance rate reasonable.
If you have a clear record, nothing stops you from voluntarily signing up for a defensive driving course. Many insurers are willing to offer North Carolina drivers a discount of up to 10% when they complete a defensive driving course.
2. Defensive Driving Makes You a Safer Driver
The purpose of a defensive driving course isn’t to reduce traffic violation points, although that’s a great side benefit. The main objective is to make you a safer driver. In 2018, there were 1,321 fatal car crashes on North Carolina roads.
A defensive driving course teaches you advanced driving skills that can be life-saving. You'll learn techniques to anticipate dangers and spot road hazards early enough to prevent accidents, especially fatal ones.
Sign Up for Either North Carolina Course Today
When taking a North Carolina defensive driving course, it’s important to choose a state-approved driving school, like I Drive Safely, that follows the prescribed curriculum. Our online course is affordable and the easiest way to clear your driving record.