Texas Impact Teen Drivers Course: It’s Required and Saves Lives

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Distracted driving is a dangerous problem for people in general, let alone teens whose concentration just might not be there yet. Friends in the car, smartphones, controlling their playlist, even food or drink can take your teen’s eyes off the road at a critical moment. Fact is, distracted driving is the #1 killer of teens. Not drunk driving and not drugs. Texting while driving. It’s with that in mind that DPS started the Impact Texas Teen Drivers [ITTD] course last year. Modeled after a similar program in California, its goal is to educate teens on the unintentional danger they can cause themselves by not paying greater attention behind-the-wheel.

Texas making Distracted Driving into additional required curriculum for Teen Drivers makes a lot of sense. Sure, all teen driver courses cover distracted driving these days but the ITTD course must be completed prior to a road test. In fact, DPS wants the Impact course details fresh in your teen’s mind and must be done no earlier than 90 days prior to a road test. Upon completion of the ITTD course, your teen receives a certificate which must be presented at DPS for their road test. If your teen fails their road test, they are required to retake the ITTD course again. This is required of all teens who have completed a 32 hours teen drivers ed course. While this is not required for Adult Drivers Ed, the information may save a life and is worth the time of plenty of adults as well.

A great example of the sort of facts the course brings to light includes this: Sending the average text can take 5 seconds without your eyes on the road; at 55 MPH that means you drove the length of a football field essentially blindfolded. The two hour course operates on the notion that distracted driving “…is not about bad teens doing bad things, it’s about good teens making poor choices”. This is solid truth because quite honestly, accidents can happen to anyone and we’re all capable of just glancing the wrong way at a critical moment. The course lays out the topic of distracted driving over 8 video sections with a knowledge check at the end of each section.

The course’s 8 sections break down as such:
-LESSON 1: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER LETHAL?
-LESSON 2: RU LETHAL?
-LESSON 3: IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!
-LESSON 4: DISTRACTED DRIVING KILLS
-LESSON 5: TEXTS CAUSE WRECKS
-LESSON 6: InTEXTicated or InTOXicated
-LESSON 7: GDL
-LESSON 8: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The knowledge checks are typically 5 true or false questions relating to the material of the completed section. While no score is given, the course must be viewed in full to generate the required certificate of completion, which you can then print out to include with your other required logs and certificates needed to go into written license exam and finally, your road test.

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To register for the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Course, please visit the official ITTD site: https://impacttexasteendrivers.dps.texas.gov/

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Navigating Through Texas Parent Taught Drivers Ed

In Texas the vastly popular choice for Teen Driver’s Ed is what’s called the Concurrent Method or Parent Taught Driver Education. This is because it allows the teen to practice driving sooner rather than later. The other version of Texas Drivers Ed called Block Method, which typically makes you complete a full 32 hour online course before any practice driving can occur. So now that you know the difference, what next? I’ve created this site and written this article to be your guide, to help you navigate through the rules, regulations, and requirements of Parent Taught Driver’s Ed [Concurrent Method] to get you to the right place where you can help your child learn to be a great driver.

The main thing with Parent Taught Drivers Ed, behind the wheel instruction is truly on you, the parent. For that reason, the state requires you register with TDLR as the parental instructor first. Your teen can register for the program as early as 14 but must be at least 15 years old to be eligible to get a learner’s permit. Once approved you get the Parent Taught Driver Education packet that has logs to maintain times your child has worked on their online driver education course as well as their behind the wheel training with you. Approval to be a parent instructor is not a big deal; any parent or guardian with a clean Texas driving record for the last 3 years qualifies. Under the old Texas DPS system, you used to have to mail a check and registration form to the DMV and wait a few weeks to get approved but things have changed. The Parent Taught Driver Education program is now run by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation [TDLR]. TDLR allows for you to register for and purchase a Parent Taught Driver Education packet online here. [You’re welcome!]

Once you’ve been approved and have your packet, you need a great Parent Taught Online Driver Education course. I always recommend DriversEd.com in Texas. They have a fantastic Texas Teen Driver’s Ed course that runs on multiple devices. It’s highly interactive with strong video presentations to keep your child engaged as they learn.

Texas requires that for a teen to get their learner’s permit, they must first complete 6 hours of their online Parent Taught Driver course. The state allows a student to work on their courses about 2 hours a day, and once those 6 hours are completed, your online drivers ed school will send you a 6 hour completion certificate that you can take to the DPS, along with your Parent Taught Driver Education packet to get your child’s learners permit. So your teen really could be driving with you after 3 days.

Now there is a lot of responsibility here for the both of you. Aside from the fact your child still has to complete the remainder of their 32 hour online course, you must also log 44 hours of in-car training with them. Your Parent Taught Packet will also include driving exercises you should go over with them to help them become sure of themselves behind the wheel. You child must be 16 and have held their learner’s permit at least 6 months before they can go into their written license exam and road test.

And again, if you’re just starting this journey, we recommend DriversEd.com’s Parent Taught Driver Education course. Check them out!
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How Traffic School Keeps Your California Driving Record Clear of Tickets [And What You’re Probably Doing Wrong Anyway]

This article isn’t so much about taking traffic school. That’s easy. This is about what comes after. After you’ve finished traffic school, and after you’ve received your certificate of completion. Today, I’m going to look at the traffic school reporting process in California. It’s important because most people don’t understand it. And understanding traffic school reporting is the pathway to a clean driving record.

In California, the DMV is where all traffic court completions are processed. Once you finish your course, your traffic school electronically transmits your completion to the DMV. Courts are only able to see completions because they have access to the DMV database’s records of traffic school completions. This also means that if any of the information you provided your traffic school is inaccurate; your completion will not show up correctly. The information your traffic school sends usually consists of the following:

-Your full name
-Driver’s license number
-Date of birth
-Citation #
-Course completion date
-County Court/Court Code

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get the above information right. No typos! Typically if CA DMV rejects the completion your traffic school will notify you but let’s try to get it right the first time!

I also want to point out something important about Los Angeles. In L.A., the DMV sends all its completions down through the Los Angeles Central District Metropolitan Courthouse and they filter it down to all the other courts in the county. So if when you’re filling out your registration for traffic school and when it comes time to pick the court for your ticket at the Santa Monica or Malibu courthouse and all you can find is Los Angeles Central District, just know they handle everything for dozens of other L.A courts and it’s the right choice to pick.

Now you completed traffic school, and maybe you’ve already shown off a certificate of completion to a judge, just know, this still isn’t over. Your traffic school will likely report your completion to DMV right away but your DMV record will probably not reflect traffic school right away. This is where you being the responsible adult that you are is pretty important. You need to stay on top of this. Even if you did everything right, it could be 3-4 weeks before DMV updates your record to keep those violation points from showing up. About a month after you complete traffic school, call the DMV and check the status of your traffic school completion to make sure DMV has it. The DMV hotline is 1-800-777-0133 and is available Monday-Friday 8-5PM. You can also pull your driving record online from CA DMV here to check.

If your record still doesn’t reflect traffic school at about the 1 month mark, I advise you contact your traffic school and ask them to re-report you. Then give it a couple more weeks and follow up with the DMV again to make sure your record now reflects traffic school. Keep in mind, a bad traffic violation can spike your insurance premiums 22% higher for 3 years and even affect prospective employment. I can’t tell you the massive amount of people, six months down the line I’ve seen with bad driving records, and higher insurance because after they got their certificate of completion they figured they’d taken care of everything. It’s worth making sure you do things the right way! Check your records!

If you still need a California online traffic school, please check out DriversEd.com’s course:

DriversEd.com- the most experienced provider of traffic school online. Clear your record online.

Make Your Old Car Smarter With Hum By Verizon

What if you could make that first beater car your teen worked, scrimped and saved for all year long for into a safer, more reliable ride with built-in diagnostics, hands-free talking, emergency roadside assistance, anti-theft tracking? Not to mention software that tells you the parent, if your teen is speeding or joyriding where they shouldn’t be? Even instant accident detection so you know your kids need you even before they do? You’d probably love to do that. Verizon aims to give you just that ability with their new Hum adapter. And they’re offering it now for just $10 a month.

How’s it work? While Apple and Google are concentrating on becoming the replacements of those expensive GPS system upgrades offered at the dealerships on brand new cars, Hum by Verizon works for all cars from 1996 on. You simply plug Hum’s adapter into your car’s OBD port [located typically under the dashboard], and unleash the power of your car’s computer through the focus of Hum. The adapter works in conjunction with a Bluetooth control and phone app that provides not only hands-free talk but 24/7 roadside assistance and even a direct line to a mechanic. The Hum app breaks down data and car computer coding into plain English, to allow for greater understanding of your car’s engine life.

humparts

Can’t find your car in a parking lot? Hum will walk you right to it. If your car is ever stolen, Hum can help authorities track it. Don’t want your kids driving past a certain boundary line? Hum will tell you if they do it, how fast they were going, even how much gas was used.

Now, you don’t have to have Verizon as your cell phone provider to use Hum. This is a separate service for your car and the goal for Verizon is to get Hum in millions of vehicles. The app works on either Google Android or Apple iOS operating systems. Currently, Verizon is running a promotion where you can purchase the Hum Adapter and Bluetooth control for $29.99 with a 2 year $10 a month service contract. That saves $120 right away on the hardware, and gets your new teen driver to 18 with this great protection.

I’ll leave you with this brief video on Hum below. Visit Hum’s website here.

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Light that Red Light Camera Ticket On Fire!

Burn it!” says Tennessee State Representative Andy Holt in a recent Facebook video. Then he does just that, holding up a copy of a traffic camera citation, taking the flame from a cigarette lighter to it. But should any citation be treated so cavalierly? The Tennessee lawmaker is known for shocking statements that make the news but is he wrong here?

When it comes to tickets given out by camera, more and more cities are backing off enforcement of them. Typically, because these tickets are not written by a police officer, they are classified as civil penalties. That means that while there is a fine, there is no reporting of the offense to the DMV, which means no points or higher insurance premiums. This knowledge leads a lot of folks to simply ignore the ticket altogether and not pay the fine. That doesn’t mean a city won’t put you in collections over the fine.

That said, what works in Holt’s state of Tennessee may not work in yours. And just because points are not likely, doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Many folks also operate under the philosophy of “Well I’ll just pay the fine” to make it go away. In Colorado, a red light camera ticket is worth 4 points on your record. In Georgia and North Caroline, you’ll see 3 points added to your record. In California, it’s a one point violation. I will state unequivocally that Arizona is an absolute state-wide red light/speed camera trap. A ticket will get you 2 points there and on top of any fine, you’ll spend an additional $150-$250 in court/state fees for traffic school to clear your record.

If you’ve received a red light or speed camera ticket with points and you need traffic school to fight it, please visit DriversEd.com:
DriversEd.com- the most experienced provider of traffic school online. Clear your record online.

And if you want to watch Rep. Holt burn a red light camera ticket, well, it might be therapeutic!

Top 5 Ways You’ll Get A Traffic Ticket In New York City [According To A New York City Police Officer]

I spoke recently with an old friend from high school who became a New York City Police Officer and I asked him for the offenses most likely to get you a traffic ticket in New York City. Here’s what he had to say:

5. Double Parking
We’re starting with the most obvious and yes really, many people need to be warned that double parking is a stupid thing to do…because apparently they continue to do it anyway. Aside from the fact it’s kind of a jerk tactic, blocking someone else in so they can’t get out, it’s also $115 fine if you get caught. NYC.gov reminds you “Double parking any type of vehicle is not allowed in Midtown Manhattan (the area from 14th Street to 60th Street, between First Avenue and Eighth Avenue inclusive). Midtown double parking is not allowed between 7:00am – 7:00pm daily except Sundays.” For passenger cars, the basic rule is you can never double park [brief unloading of passengers aside] and commercial vehicles may only do so in the course of loading/unloading and making deliveries if there is no available parking or unloading zones within 100 feet of either side of the street.

4. No Right Turn on Red
In most places, you can pull up to a red light at an intersection, stop, and if it’s safe, you can make a right turn. New York City is not most places. In fact, you can never ever make a right turn on a red light unless a sign permits this. An illegal right on red is effectively running a red light. This is a major 3 point violation. Fine amounts can vary greatly depending on if the offense occurs in a city with a population under or over a million people but expect a range of $250 to $450 as a result.

3. Blocking the Box
Gridlock is never fun and New York at rush hour is pure gridlock. “Don’t Block The Box” has been a major slogan of New York City regarding blocking intersections on city streets ever since the 1980s. Before proceeding onward with a green light, always be sure you have enough room in front of you to clear the intersection and crosswalk ahead. If you don’t have room, wait until you do. If the light turns red, wait until it turns green again before entering the intersection. Nothing is more stressful than being stuck in the intersection as cars on opposite sides of you blow their horns at you for blocking them. “Blocking the box” while no longer considered a moving violation which carries points on your record is now reclassified a parking violation which still has a fine of $115.

2. Speeding [The Speed Limit in New York City is 25 MPH]
This one’s easy: don’t drive over 25. The speed limit was lowered from 30 to 25 MPH back in late 2014 as part of NYC Mayor DiBlasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to prevent traffic related fatalities. The 25 MPH limit applies to all streets where no other sign is posted. Highways such as the FDR, West Side Highway and Riverside Drive will still have higher limits and school zones will have lower limits. Mind your signs and if there are no signs, remember, 25’s the law.

1. Failure to Yield to Pedestrians
Yielding the right-of-way is about safety and when it’s at a crosswalk, it’s absolutely essentially. New York City leads the nation in traffic fatalities involving a pedestrian, at just over 30%, it makes it the most dangerous place in the country to try to cross the street. This is a 3 point violation and carries a $150 fine. It is absolutely at the top of NYPD’s list of traffic violations to look out for, especially given the previously mentioned “Vision Zero” campaign and the serious concerns about traffic fatalities. Don’t just push or roll through a crosswalk and always allow a pedestrian the right-of-way.

If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket that’s put points on your record, check out Improv’s New York Defensive Driver Course: