The New York Guide to Repairing Your Driving Record

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: January 11, 2021

In New York, defensive driving and driver safety courses are known as PIRP, or Point and Insurance Reduction Program.  No matter what you call it, taking a course like this is a good idea.

Why Take New York Defensive Driving?

You may take this driver safety course to reduce points on your driving record or to prevent points from a new citation from being added to it. To be eligible for the course there are a few basic requirements:

  • You must hold a valid NY driver’s license
  • If completing the course for ticket dismissal, the citation must not have been received while driving a commercial vehicle

Ticket dismissal is a privilege that you may take advantage of only once in a 12 month period. To ensure your eligibility, contact the New York Department of Motor Vehicles or the court with jurisdiction over your citation.  If your request is approved, you will be provided with specific instructions on how to complete the process.

Things That Defensive Driving New York Can (and Can’t) Do for You

After completing an approved defensive driving course in New York:

  • Up to four points can be removed from your DMV driving record
  • Your insurance premiums will be reduced by 10% for three years
  • You will have refreshed knowledge of safe driving attitudes and skills

On the other hand, you cannot take advantage of a defensive driving course to prevent license suspension or revocation due to your driving record’s excessive points.

How to Take a New York Traffic School Course

To fulfill New York courts and insurance companies’ requirements, a driver must choose a PIRP traffic school course approved by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. These courses are available both in classrooms and online and, generally, drivers are free to select which of the two methods they prefer.

More and more New York drivers are finding that online is the better way to go.  With an online course, the curriculum can be completed all at once, or students are allowed to log in and out as often as they would like to break the course into segments that fit their schedule.

To help you find a course, listed below are the top online defensive driving providers in New York State.

Best DMV-Approved New York Defensive Driving Providers

Website Name Phone I DRIVE SAFELY, LLC 877-860-5275 New York Safety Program 888-292-0397 Online Defensive Driving By Improv 800-660-8908 American Safety Council 877-689-0674 Driver Training Associates 800-558-9887 National Traffic Safety Institute 800-733-6874 USA Training Company 800-972-4659 American Safety 800-800-7121 Empire Safety Council 800-246-3603 National Safety Council 800-962-3434 AARP 800-350-7025

After successfully passing your course, you will receive a completion certificate.  This certificate will be mailed within 45 days if you took a classroom course or 14 business days if you completed the course online.

More Questions? We Have More Answers!

If this is your first time taking a New York defensive driving course, or it’s been a minute since your last one, here is some more useful information just in case.

How long is a New York defensive driving course?

All NY DMV approved defensive driving courses are required to be a minimum of 320 minutes (or, if it makes you feel better, a little over five hours) long. The time is the same whether you take the course in person or online.

If I take defensive driving, how many points will come off my NY driving record?

According to the New York DMV, points don’t actually come off your driving record after completing a defensive driving course (also known as a Point and Insurance Reduction or PIRP) course. In essence, you will be credited with a four point reduction when they are calculating your total. This credit will certainly reduce your insurance premiums and may prevent your license from being suspended.

How many points will it take for my NY drivers license to be suspended?

If you accrue 11 points in an 18 month period, you could be facing a license suspension. Don’t worry; they’ll send you a letter to let you know. However, if you rack up 6 points in an 18 month period, you’ll definitely be paying a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee.

If you are unsure about your license status, you can check it for free at