Florida Drug and Alcohol Course, Permit Exam, and the Road to Your License

 

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Some states will have your teen sit through the equivalent of a semester before they can get their learner’s permit. It’s a lengthy and somewhat tortuous process for your teen. One more class to get through, eating up nights and weekends. In Florida though, they do make it a bit easier to qualify for your permit:  Be at least 15 and then you have to complete one 4-hour course and take your permit exam.

You’re required to complete what is called the Florida Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course [TLSAE] or as it’s more commonly known the Florida Drug & Alcohol course. It’s meant to combine awareness of the knowledge of road rules and safe driver preparation with awareness of the dangers of substance abuse and driving.

Topics likely to be covered in your TLSAE course include:

  • Driving at night
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Florida road rules and signs
  • Defensive driving
  • Highway driving
  • Merging and changing lanes
  • Road hazards
  • Substance abuse and the dangers of impaired driving

Upon passing your TLSAE course, your completion will be transmitted to Florida DHSMV by your Drivers Ed provider.

The other really cool thing Florida allows for is online testing of the permit exam. So you won’t have to take it in person at DHSMV. Many Drivers Ed providers also offer the online permit exam so chances are you can do it with the school you take the Drug and Alcohol course with. If you’re prone to testing anxiety, doing it online may suit you better as well.

The permit exam consists of 50 questions [25 on road signs, 25 on road rules]. You have to get 40 questions correct in order to pass. Upon completion of the permit exam, your results will be transmitted to DHSMV. Once they have both your drug and alcohol course completion and your permit exam completion, you’ll be eligible to get your learner’s permit.

Now, when it comes to picking out a great Florida TLSAE Drug and Alcohol course, we recommend DriversEd.com for Florida’s Drivers Ed. They offer courses that be accessed on any device and that includes your smartphone and they do it for the lowest price possible. Check them out!

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Los Angeles County Traffic Court: How to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket in LA!

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There were 1,360,395 cases filed for traffic infractions in Los Angeles Superior Court in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. A study by Nerdwallet.com, finds that 5 of 10 of the most expensive areas to get a ticket in the entire state of California are within L.A. County, with the true costs of a $35 ticket being more like $700 after fines, fees, and insurance increases. There’s big business in tickets for local municipalities who finance their budgets on traffic tickets and for insurance companies that get to say “Gotcha!” and jack up your insurance rates for 3 years.

What’s most important after you get a ticket is how you deal with it. Do not simply pay the fine and try to move on. You’ll see your insurance premiums go up as high as 25% for the next 3 years. Keeping in mind most people in California pay around $1,000 to $1,200 for their car insurance each year that is major jump and will put some serious pain on your wallet. If the violation you’re facing is correctible with traffic school, you absolutely must take that opportunity to avoid points on your license. You’ll still be stuck paying your fine and applicable fees but this is about minimizing the damage to your driving record.

How to apply for L.A. County Traffic School:

That’s right. You have to apply first with the county to be allowed to take traffic school. You can do so by going here. LA will charge you $64 to take traffic school if you’re approved for your violation [that only pays for the right to go to traffic school, you still have to buy your traffic school course].

Sign up for a California Online Traffic School course:

You’ll have 60 days from when you were allowed by the state to take traffic school [like this one] and complete it. Traffic Schools with actual classroom courses have been around for decades, but I tend to recommend online courses since most folks would prefer to take a course in their home on their own time than when a brick and mortar traffic school offers classes. Typically online courses are required to present about 8 hours’ worth of curriculum. It won’t be fun but then neither are rising insurance premiums.

Upon successful completion of your traffic school course, your online traffic school will transmit your completion to California DMV.

Your LA Traffic Court will pull your DMV record to corroborate your completion and from that no points will be added to your driving record. California DMV will typically take about a month to update your record so don’t expect this to happen instantly. Check your driving record about a month later to verify completion. At that point, if your record is incorrect, contact your traffic school about re-reporting your completion.

For Online California Traffic School, we recommend I Drive Safely. Check them out!

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3 Strikes and You’re Out [of a Driver’s License]! Washington DC Advancing Distracted Driving Legislation

The nation’s capital is barreling towards passing some of the strictest distracted driving laws in the country according to a new article at the Washington Post. The bill would lead to real time tracking of prior offenses by police. The full scope of this being a graduated violation system with escalating penalties for those caught committing repeated acts of distracted driving.

Currently, distracted driving laws in DC are fairly lax: a first offense of using your phone while driving is a $100 fine though the fine can be thrown out with proof of purchase of a hands-fee device. The new law would remove that option. It also sets escalating penalties for subsequent violations within 18 months of that first violation. A second offense would cost you $150, and a third, $200. The real penalty though comes with that third violation, as it would also include a 30 to 90 day suspension of your license. This represents the same sort of penalty you’d see with a reckless driving charge. It’s a very big deal in that regard.

While I don’t know that a graduated violation system will do the job, tougher penalties are needed to save lives. The main issue with this 18 month violation timeline is what is the likelihood violators would even be found repeatedly committing distracted driving in that time period? It seems like very tough penalties that would be unlikely to be enforceable with regards to repeat offenders. Unless of course DC is truly looking to distracted driving tickets as a revenue booster and having this be a top priority of police officers is the plan all along. Even if that is the goal, the DC Police Department would be years away from being able to track violators in a meaningful way as this graduated violation system requires. Even if the law is enacted in 2017, violation tracking wouldn’t be available until 2020 according to the same Washington Post article.

Distracted Driving continues to become a nationwide epidemic. As technology allows us to do more on our phones, we have to fight that urge to do more irresponsibly behind the wheel. The CDC estimates 1 in 5 crashes in 2013 were caused by distracted driving, causing some 3,000 deaths and over 400,000 injuries. DriverSafetyCenter.com believes greater public awareness as to the dangers of distracted driving in combination with technological advances from phone manufacturers which disable the bulk of a phone’s capabilities while driving [aside from hands free talking and GPS] would do far more to save lives than simple ticketing.

Seniors: How To Make Yourself and Your Vehicle CarFit!

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I want to start this article with a visual. It’s a cliché but it’s a visual. You’re driving down the road and a car is moving slow in front of you. You go to pass them and as you do, you sort of get a look at the driver. It’s a little old lady and the poof of the top of her hair is just about the only thing raised above the steering wheel. Like I said, it’s a cliché but I bet you’ve seen it. The truth is we all change as we get older. How we change as we age may also be affecting our experience as a driver.

Older drivers are in many ways safer drivers than their younger counterparts. However, unlike younger drivers, arthritis and other rigidity issues can come into play, particularly when it comes to blind spots for seniors. The same can be said of changes in your vision. Add to that an increasing fragility with age and the need for the optimum safety/comfort experience behind the wheel becomes that much more important.

With that in mind, AARP, AAA, and the American Occupational Therapists teamed up to create CarFit. What is CarFit? It’s an educational program designed to make sure your car gives you the safest and most comfortable experience possible. CarFit events are held locally in cities all over the country and you’ll likely be in and out in less than a half hour. At each event, drivers and their vehicles check into a 12 point inspection to help determine a proper fit in their car.

The 12 areas addressed during the CarFit program are:

  • Are you the only driver of vehicle?
  • Seat belt check
  • Steering wheel tilt, Position to Air Bag and Head Restraint
  • Distance between chest and steering wheel
  • Line-of-sight above steering wheel
  • Position to gas pedal
  • Position to brake pedal
  • Mirror adjustments
  • Neck mobility and blind spot check
  • Ignition key or system
  • Operation of vehicle controls
  • Review of checklist

CarFit hosts local events backed by volunteers in your community to help better adjust seniors to their cars and their cars to them. While many senior driver education programs exist out there, they tend to be geared towards general driving knowledge. CarFit is concerned with the personal experience you have in your own car. Even the slightest change that may come from attending one of their events is worth it if it improves how you feel and react in your vehicle.

Check CarFit out here.

Top 5 Halloween Safety Tips For Motorists

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Halloween should always be fun and carefree for children. For parents, it’s chaperoning the kids around and candy inspections. For the average motorist, it’s definitely a night of a lot of variables that requires you put your game face on. Here are some helpful hints to keep you and pedestrians safe during Halloween.

Scan from one side of the street to the other:  Watch what’s happening not only right ahead of you but to your right and left. You need to be aware of who could come darting across the street. Most costumes may be bright and noticeable but plenty of others could be dark cloaks and masks. You need to know who’s out there to be prepared for any sudden actions by trick-or-treaters.

Keep it under 25 MPH:  The speed limit in most residential areas is usually 25 MPH. Overall stopping distance at that speed is 85 feet, meaning from the moment you realize there’s someone/something in front of you, starting to apply brakes, to actually stopping you will travel 85 feet. You need that stopping time should anyone dart out in front of you. Don’t speed! Going 5 MPH under the limit is a good idea.

Be aware of “Big Kids” in the street: So Halloween is becoming more and more of a grownup holiday. You already know to be concerned about children who might not be paying attention but you also have to worry about adults. Halloween can be big night of drinking for adults. Drunk pedestrians don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t’ care. “They’re an adult” is not an excuse to assume they will cross the street safely. Yield the right of way to pedestrians and be prepared for sudden movements.

Drinking and Driving [watch out for it and don’t do it!]: You should assume there will be a higher percentage of drunk drivers on the road during Halloween [lousy deal but true].  Allow yourself plenty of following distance from cars in front of you and always wear your seat belt. If you plan to go to parties yourself where drinks will be served, do yourself a favor and take a cab or Uber. Stay safe!

Plan ahead: If Halloween is right before or right after a weekend but you should expect parties pretty much from the prior Friday night onward. Know that all of the above should be a concern early on and be ready for it.

 

Ohio Teen Drivers Ed: How To Get Your Permit and Drivers License

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In Ohio, the state BMV uses a Graduated Driver’s License program so that teens are able to gain knowledge and experience on the road over time before they earn unrestricted driving privileges.  What does that mean and what is the process to get your drivers license in Ohio? In this article, I’ll be examining how to get your learners permit and probationary license.

The good news Ohio doesn’t prevent you from learning to drive with a lot of requirements early on, but there are a couple important ones. At 15 1/2 , you’ll go your local BMV Driver Exam Station to take a knowledge exam and vision test [Note: the knowledge exam means you’ll want to swing by the BMV at least a few weeks before and grab a Driver’s Manual so you can start studying].

Prior to the taking the knowledge and vision tests, you’ll be asked to provide proof of identity so be sure to bring your birth certificate or -passport and Social Security card. The knowledge exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions and you must score 75% or higher to pass. If you fail, you have to wait 24 to retake the exam again[ but there is no limit on retakes].

Once you pass the exam, you’ll be granted your learners permit and can begin practicing to drive.

You have to hold your permit for 6 months [and be at least 16] before you can take your road test.

You also have to complete:

  • a 24 hour classroom or online drivers ed course.
  • 8 hours of behind the wheel training with a licensed instructor.
  • 50 hours of practice driving, with 10 hours at night.

If you’ve met all the above requirements, you can schedule a road test here.

Upon passing your road test, you’ll be granted your probationary driver’s license, which will have the following restrictions:

  • May not operate a vehicle from midnight – 6 a.m. unless:
  1.           Accompanied by a parent or guardian
  2.           Driving to or from work with documentation from the employer
  3.           Driving to or from an official school-sponsored event or a religious event                 with appropriate documentation from the event official
  • May not operate a vehicle with more than one non-family member as a passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • A conviction of a traffic offense within the first six months of having a license may result in a parent or guardian having to accompany the driver for six months or until the driver reaches age 17.

If you find yourself at the start of your journey learning to drive, DriverSafetyCenter.com highly recommends DriversEd.com’s Online Ohio Drivers Ed Course. It’s easy to use and works on computers, tablets and phones. Informative and entertaining. Check it out!

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Kentucky Traffic School: Changes Ahead!

Big news from some of my contacts at Kentucky Department of Driver Licensing today. The state’s Transportation Cabinet has apparently updated its traffic school contracts. Unlike most states that allow many online traffic schools to operate as long as they meet certain curriculum requirements, Kentucky has only one single approved provider for online traffic school [the state actually seems to have on stronghold classroom courses as well].

What does any of this mean to you? Well, the school that was the lone provider of online Kentucky Traffic School, IDriveSafely.com no longer is. It also means their DVD Traffic School courses will no longer be available to people of the state either. Yes, for those of you with little to no internet, there was a DVD course option.

The new authorized provider og online Kentucky Traffic School will be Improv. So if you’re a speed demon, a distracted driver, or the type to try really hard to make the light before it turns red, make sure you bookmark these changes. I’ll be updating the main piece on my site for Kentucky Traffic School with all this information but such a big change did seem to warrant its own piece.

Stay Informed, Kentucky and should you need traffic school, be sure to check out Improv’s Online Kentucky Traffic School course!

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