Learning better driving habits – Defensive driving course mends marred records

Jason Robb

The flashing red and blue lights behind, a quick check of the speedometer — someone is getting a ticket. 

Even tickets for just a few miles over the speed limit can result in higher insurance premiums and a lasting financial impact. For speeding offenses up to 10 mph over, there are 35 points added to one’s license. If a person is given a ticket for 11 mph to 20 mph, some 50 points are added to their license. 

The Utah Safety Council offers a defensive driving course, which allows people to reduce the license points, as well as their insurance bills. 

“You can deduct 50 points from your record,” said Nichole Rilk, traffic safety manager for the Utah Safety Council. 

The program is a four-hour class, which teaches people driving skills and refreshes them on traffic safety. 

“It’s all good information for everyone,” Rilk said. “Really, anyone can benefit from taking the course.”

Some people are referred to the class by a court, such as those who have been ticketed for not yielding to approaching emergency vehicles. 

Others take the class voluntarily to clean up their driving record and reduce their insurance rates. 

“Afterward we do an evaluation of the course,” Rilk said. “About 90 percent come back and say how fun and educational it is.”

The live courses are taught quarterly on a Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. The next one for the south central Utah region is set for Saturday, June 6, at the Richfield City offices. 

“Right now we can have 10 in the class,” Rilk said. She said depending on how social distancing restrictions develop during the next two months, there may be room for more. 

“For insurance and citations, it has to be taught in a live setting,” said Jason Robb, who instructs the course in Richfield. 

He said in addition to those wanting to take points off their license, drivers older than 55 can often qualify for a discount on auto insurance by taking the class — although it is recommended to check with an insurance provider.

For more information, or to sign up for the class, log onto utahsafetycouncil.org. There is a $50 fee to participate.

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