Online traffic schools make a joke of violator retraining

Are you a naughty driver? In many states, early offenses will sometimes be forgiven if you complete a session at traffic school. But the time! The nuisance! For drivers in some states, however, an alternative has become popular- the online traffic school. That's right- you (or, dare I suggest it, someone willing to pretend to be you) can complete a course from the comfort of your keyboard. Does something about this smell wrong (and I don't mean burning rubber)?

Completion of an online course satisfies some states such as California, Texas, Florida , Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Alaska, Virginia, Delaware, and others, as well as certain courts in other states. Costs vary from state to state; the NDSS school, for example, charges $14.95 for Florida drivers, $60 from North Carolinians. The NC course requires the miscreant to spend "8 entertaining, self-scheduled hours completing 12 chapters" with "media-rich features like graphics, animations, video clips and audio tracks." The Florida course is only 4 hours long for first-timers. (I hope the print is very large!) A few states require you to actually show up at the BMV and prove your identity before they will accept the credit; most don't.

This industry is privatized, and there are a lot of competitors for your speed-tax dollar. I can see how states would leap at the online model, since they don't need to much beyond collecting their cut of the tuition. However, I presume the original goal was to change the behavior of drivers that broke the law, and does anyone really believe that online traffic schools will be taken as anything but a joke by most of those who take this route?

At least, in real traffic school, the instructor can throw an eraser at the buttheads in the back of the class to wake them up. Here, I'm guessing a whole lot of 12-year-olds are earning extra allowance by doing what they do best; playing on the internet.

If we aren't going to take traffic school seriously, why have it at all? Why not just make it a scenario in Grand Theft- Auto?

Also read: The $3,000 ticket: States double-dip for basic traffic infractions

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