New York Driving Course Goes Online


new-york-driving-course-goes-onlineNew York drivers now have the option of taking defensive-driving courses over the Internet to qualify for auto insurance discounts and point reductions on their driving records. The five-year pilot program, approved by the New York Motor Vehicles Department, is called the Internet/Alternate Delivery Method Point and Insurance Reduction Program, or I-PIRP for short. It’s open to all licensed drivers, and participation can be voluntary, or the online courses can be used to satisfy a court order for traffic offenses. Drivers who complete an I-PIRP course are eligible for a 10 percent discount on their auto insurance and reductions in their accumulated driver’s violation points (up to four points). Classroom courses will continue to be offered.

“Traditionally, students who were required to take a defensive-driving course in New York would have to give up a Saturday or a few evenings,” said Gary Alexander, founder of the Improv Aware Driver Course, one of four I-PIRP course providers listed on the department’s site. Now students can attend “simply by logging on from their computer any time they like,” Mr. Alexander said.

Fees and courses are set by the individual companies and vary, but each course is required to provide a minimum of 320 minutes of instruction.

Improv Aware charges $48.95, and the course consists of 10 modules, including video clips, covering subjects like driving under the influence, seatbelt use and basic traffic laws, said Mr. Alexander, who started Improv Aware in California more than 20 years ago. Students can “attend” at any time, and have up to 30 days from initiating the course to complete it. At that time, they will receive a certificate to be submitted to their insurance carriers.

The motor vehicles department says the five-year online pilot program will be assessed for its effectiveness, and the agency will report its findings to the governor and the legislature.

{NY Times/ Newscenter}