Defensive Driving School v. Traffic Survival School
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, driver’s licenses are only granted to those who are capable of responsible and safe driving. Any violations on the road can be penalized with the payment of a fine or the suspension of the driver’s license.
To safely bring a violator back on the road, authorities may require them to get a refresher course on safe and responsible driving. This can come in the form of Defensive Driving School or Traffic Survival School. While they seem similar, they are two different programs.
Defensive Driving School
Defensive Driving School, also called Defensive Driving Diversion, is a diversion program that a person can take after they are found responsible for a violation and are issued a ticket. The violator can opt to enroll in and complete the defensive driving program in order to get their ticket dismissed and prevent the violation from going into their driving record.
The diversion program is a 4-hour course that serves as an alternative to paying a fine for the violation and receiving demerit points on the driver’s license. If the violator completes their Defensive Driving Program, they can ask the court to dismiss the ticket.
Traffic Survival School
Traffic Survival School (TSS), on the other hand, can be classified as a punitive program that’s mandatory for a driver who has been held responsible for a traffic violation. It is a directive handed out by the Arizona Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) that requires the violator to attend and complete an 8-hour TSS class to avoid a point suspension on their driver’s license.
TSS comes into play when a court finds a driver guilty of a traffic offense. They report the violation to the MVD who then assesses points on the driver’s license and assigns mandatory Traffic Survival School. MVD mandates TSS for violations that involve:
- Running a stoplight
- Moving violations that result in death or serious injury
- Driving under the influence
- First moving violations for drivers below 18 years of age
- Drivers that accumulated 8 to 12 points on their license within 12 months
If the driver fails to attend Traffic Survival School, they are ineligible to enroll for 24 months, during which their license will be suspended.