Battle of the Traffic Schools: Traditional versus Online
August 17, 2006
The cost of driving increases every year, and drivers are often willing to do whatever it takes to keep their costs down. That means going to traffic school if they commit a traffic violation. Traffic school saves drivers from having points added to their driving records, a necessary step to ensuring that already hefty insurance rates don’t skyrocket.
Fortunately, today’s drivers aren’t forced to go to a traditional classroom traffic school, although they may certainly choose this option. More and more people, however, are turning to online traffic schools, like TicketRelief.com to complete their traffic course quickly, easily and affordably. (Most online traffic schools charge anywhere from $17 to $50.)
Of course, as with anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to both online and traditional traffic schools. It’s important to consider each option carefully, choosing the one that best suits the student.
Traditional Traffic School
Social Interaction. Some critics of online traffic schools will say that there’s simply nothing like a classroom setting for traffic school. To some extent, this is true. Students who opt for traditional traffic school will have the chance to interact with their fellow students and the class instructor. For some people, especially those who thrive in social settings, this is often the ideal way to learn.
The biggest advantage to traditional traffic school may well be the social interaction, especially if the instructor is good. A charismatic instructor can excite students and make the day-long course not only educational but also fun.
Immediacy. If a student has a question, all he has to do is ask and he’ll have an immediate answer. Information that is unclear can be discussed and clarified for students immediately, instead of them having to call an 800 number or having to wait for a return email.
One session and it’s done. Traditional traffic school requires students to appear on the day of the class, participate throughout the day, complete the final exam, and that’s that, if the student passed the final exam. There’s no room for procrastination or thoughts of, "Oh well, I’ll just do it tomorrow." Further, information will be fresh in the students’ mind when they take the final exam.
Certificate is awarded immediately. Students who opt for walk-in traffic school will receive their certificate of completion immediately following the session, an added bonus for those students who put off taking the course until the last minute.
Of course, there are also disadvantages to attending walk-in traffic school. No one knows that better than Mike P. Welch who completed a traditional walk-in traffic course in August 2005. In addition to having to shuffle his schedule to fit traffic school in, Welch found that much of the course material was grossly outdated.
"The instructor had us watch a video that was from the 1970s, and a big segment was on call boxes, which I felt was irrelevant, considering the majority of the population now has cell phones," he says.
According to Welch, students were also required to reveal their ticket violations in front of the class. This ultimately led to some students, like Welch, feeling as though the course was more of a punishment than an opportunity to learn.
Finally, anyone who remembers high school likely can recall those one or two annoying students in the back of the class, out to give the teacher a hard time and cause a distraction. At first, it might be funny but then it just gets downright annoying. Unfortunately, those students who attend walk-in traffic school risk having to deal with such annoyances. "Other students were a distraction. Half of the students didn’t want to be there and were distracting to the learning process," says Welch.
Welch – like thousands of other drivers before him – has already decided he’ll opt for online traffic school if he ever receives another traffic violation.
Online Traffic School
The popularity of online traffic schools and online defensive driving courses has some questioning the future of the traditional walk-in traffic school. Of course, there will likely always remain the traditionalists who will swear by walk-in traffic school. But, more and more people are discovering the vast advantages of fulfilling their court requirements by completing online traffic school.
Saves time. It’s a simple fact that time is a precious commodity and most people simply don’t have enough of it. Online traffic school allows students to complete the traffic course at their own pace. With Ticket Relief, for example, most students complete their course – including all five quizzes and the final exam, in between six and eight hours. Some are able to do it in less time. Students who naturally work quickly can breeze through the course and exam, rather than having to waste a full day in a classroom.
It’s easy. There’s no roll of the dice and crossing of fingers, hoping against hope that the instructor is going to be interesting and enjoyable. With online traffic schools, such as Ticket Relief, students know they’re going to receive clear, detailed instructions and easy-to-understand, comprehensive course materials. Questions can be answered quickly with a phone call or an email to a customer service representative.
It’s convenient. Complete traffic school anytime – wearing pajamas, lounging on the couch or in the middle of the night. It doesn’t matter. Online traffic school is generally available 24/7, allowing students to complete the course at any time.
It’s worry-free. Schools such as Ticket Relief make taking an online traffic course a breeze – students need only a computer and an Internet connection. Registering is simple and safe – with Ticket Relief’s 128bit encryption, students know their personal information is secure. Students can access their accounts at TicketRelief.com, and take the final exam as many times as is needed to pass – for free.
Of course, as with anything, online traffic school does have its disadvantages. In some instances, students don’t immediately get their certificate, but most online traffic schools promise next-day delivery of the certificate for an additional shipping fee. However, some counties process the completion certificate electronically and require students to simply call the court to confirm the certificate was received. A list, of counties that electronically process certificates, can be obtained by calling the court.
Those who opt for online traffic school won’t have the same advantage of being able to get immediate answers for questions they have, however online traffic schools like Ticket Relief generally respond in only a few hours.
However, it was the ease of completing an online traffic course that led Travis to found TicketRelief.com, which today serves California (also offering residents of Los Angeles defensive driving courses.). Ticket Relief also offers a Texas defensive driving course (in partnership with Continued Ed) and a Florida defensive driving course (in partnership with American Institute).
"Traffic school online is a growing trend, and soon, I believe walk-in traffic school will become obsolete. Taking online traffic school is quick, easy and convenient," he says. "Once you register, you can stop your progress at any point and pick up where you left off."
Ticket Relief updates course materials each year, ensuring students don’t have to contend with grossly outdated material. Further, they’re dedicated to providing superior service to their clients and plan to expand operations to eventually include the whole of the United States.
Ultimately, however, the best way for students to decide which option is best for them is to consider each option carefully, talking with traditional traffic schools and checking out online traffic schools. Some people will simply not choose online traffic school because they learn best in an interactive environment such as traditional traffic school. Still others will swear by the ease and effectiveness of online traffic school. When it comes down to it, choosing the right traffic school all depends on the student’s individual personality, needs and preferences.
Author: Beth Williams www.creativeinklings.org February 21, 2006
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