In most states, defensive driving simply means that drivers take conscious steps on the road to avoid dangers to themselves and others, and therefore reduce the risks associated with operating a car or motorcycle. In Houston, many people are also aware that defensive driving courses are their best chance to avoid a misdemeanor traffic ticket.
Most of us will receive a ticket at some point in our lives, usually for a minor traffic violation like speeding or running a stop sign. According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Act 45.051(q), drivers "may be able to require that this charge be dismissed by successfully completing a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course. You will lose that right if before your appearance date you do not provide the court with notice of your request to take the course… You must request DSC or MOTC before your arraignment setting or you will lose the right to elect it at a later time."
It takes 10 days for your traffic violation to be processed, at which point you may have the option to enroll in one of the many defensive driving courses Houston has to offer.
Remember: not everyone will be eligible for a driving safety course. Specifically, more serious traffic violations and repeat offenders may not be eligible. According to Texas law, you aren't eligible for a driving safety course if:
- You do not have a valid Texas driver's license (with an exception for active military and their family members)
- You have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
- You have already taken a mandatory driving safety course for a separate ticket within a year prior to the date of the citation
- You were charged with speeding more than 95 miles per hour
- You were cited for speeding 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit
- You were caught passing a stopped school bus
- For failing to stop, provide information, or render aid after an accident
- Your offense took place in active construction work zones
- Serious traffic violations like driving under the influence (DUI)
Here in Houston, there are a number of defensive driving courses, many of which are available online for as little as $25, although you may be responsible for additional fees and fines ordered by the city. To request a driving safety course in Houston, call 713-837-0311. For help with a traffic violation, many people choose to hire Houston traffic lawyers to help fight their charges.
Defensive Driving: The Most Dangerous Roads in Houston
Thanks in part to the recent energy boom, Texas has become the deadliest state for drivers in the entire country.
If you or the people you love regularly drive on Texas roads, you have right to be worried. That goes double for parents of teens, who have more distractions behind the wheel than any other generation. Sadly, all available evidence indicates that Texas roads and highways have become even more dangerous over the past five years.
In fact, in 2011, the Texas Department of Transportation reported that the most dangerous highway for teen drivers in Texas was right here in Harris County. The Texas DOT reported that, "A study of accident statistics shows that between 2006 and 2010, I-45 recorded the most accidents involving teens between the age of 15 and 19. There were 3,091 teen-involved crashes in the Harris County section of I-45. Interstate-10 in Harris County was second on the list with 1,910 crashes involving teens."
Since then, the Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media found that Houston highways are especially prone to triple car pileups with multiple fatalities, and that "nearly 700 people were killed in 200 major crashes that each killed 3 to 15 people from 2010 to July of ."
Once again, some of the most dangerous roads and highways in Texas were right here in Harris County. U.S. Highway 59, which runs north-south through the Houston area, was the second deadliest road in Texas. Interstate 20 was deemed the deadliest roadway in the Lone Star State.
If you had any doubts about the importance of learning defensive driving before you get a citation or end up in an accident, there is nothing more convincing than those numbers.
Every Driver in Houston Should Learn Defensive Driving Techniques
In recent years, drivers, employers, and state governments have embraced defensive driving not only as a way to save lives, but also to reduce the large financial costs that result from accidents. That is why the National Safety Council's official definition of defensive driving reads, "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others."
Every time you get behind the wheel or pull away from your driveway, you take on a certain amount of risk. Even the safest drivers are still vulnerable to reckless drivers, teenage drivers, drunk drivers, and the unavoidable random accidents that cut too many lives short.
Many basic defensive driving techniques can broadly be defined as common sense. These techniques are especially important for new, young, and teenaged drivers, but they apply to everyone who operates a motor vehicle of any kind.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Never use cell phones or similar devices while driving.
- Avoid activities that may distract you, like tending to children, eating, or entering an address into a GPS application.
- Avoid driving when fatigued or intoxicated.
However, defensive driving also includes more advanced techniques. These active driving skills can help drivers minimize the risks they face on the road and could literally save your life. Like any other type of skill, defensive driving techniques must be practiced and actively learned:
- Maintain a safe distance from other cars at all times.
- Always keep your eyes moving on the road ahead of you.
- Check mirrors regularly.
- Stay aware of the other vehicles and objects on the road and sidewalks around you.
- Go with the flow of traffic; going much slower than the traffic around you is just as dangerous as speeding!
- Adapt your driving and speed in times of inclement weather.
- Use headlights, turn signals, and your horn to make other drivers aware of your presence and intentions.
- Don't forget to check your blind spot.
The best way to teach a teen driver about defensive driving is to lead by example. No matter your age, these are invaluable skills that can help keep you safe when driving on the most dangerous roads in America.
No matter how much practice you may have, accidents still happen. If you have been injured in an accident at the fault of another driver, contact The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian, P.C. today to get started.