With the ease of doing business on the internet – whether it's shopping for groceries, paying bills or taking an online traffic course - online companies are giving brick and mortar businesses a run for their money. There's no better example of this than the increasing popularity of online traffic schools. Gone are the days when individuals, hit with a traffic violation, are forced to spend eight uncomfortable hours with strangers in a stuffy room, watching outdated movies and wishing the day would end.
Online traffic schools may well be the trend of today – and tomorrow. TickeRelief.com founder Travis sees this surge of popularity with online traffic schools as a phenomenon that will only grow, eventually leading to the end of the walk-in traffic school. "Traffic school online is a growing trend and soon, I believe, that walk-in traffic will be obsolete. Taking traffic school online is quick, easy, and convenient," he says.
In fact, statistics for online traffic schools are promising. In 2004, for example, more than a third of the 500,000 people ordered to complete traffic school in Florida did so online. Ninety perfect of those who completed the online traffic course passed the final exam.
An administrator at East L.A. Community College Service, who requested her name be withheld, recognizes the advantages of online traffic school, citing students can complete the course at their own convenience. She, however, disagrees that walk-in traffic school will one day disappear altogether. In fact, she hasn't yet noticed a big difference in attendance. "We have noticed it has somewhat decreased. It (online traffic school) looks like it's doing very well, but it's not affecting us very much," she says.
As for the future of traditional walk-in traffic schools like East L.A. Community College Service, she doesn't think they're going to disappear anytime soon. Attendance will "decrease, but it (walk-in traffic school) won't be a thing of the past."
Travis, however, believes the future of the walk-in traffic school is bleak, pointing to California bill AB2377. Initiated by Democrat Assemblyman John Longville, the bill sought to require the licensing of all online and home study traffic schools by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill in September 2004. Still, the very fact that the bill even made it to the governor’s desk may indicate that all is not as rosy as it may appear for walk-in traffic schools.
“From what I understand about the bill," Travis says, "walk-in traffic schools are losing a lot of business to online traffic school and this bill would increase requirements making it harder for online traffic schools to get approved."
If the bill had passed, it would have required all online traffic schools to be licensed through the DMV, a lengthy process lasting between one and two years. Currently, online traffic schools must be certified before they are able to do business and are added to the list of court-approved schools. Certified by the National Traffic Safety Administration and the Coordinated Courts System, Ticket Relief currently serves California (including Los Angeles and San Diego counties), Texas (in partnership with Continued Ed) and Florida (in partnership with American Institute). Ticket Relief’s partners are certified by the DMV.
Certification, however, is a thorough process that requires online traffic schools to meet legal, curriculum and grammatical standards with its course materials. Ticket Relief’s course materials run between 100-110 pages.
With the rising competition from online traffic and defensive driving schools, walk-in traffic schools are often forced to step up their performance, if they want to stay in business. Many walk-in traffic schools, particularly in Los Angeles, offer incentives such as comedy and pizza. Still, pizza and a few laughs is often not enough enticement for forgoing a Saturday afternoon when individuals can complete Los Angeles traffic school online in as few as six hours in the comfort of their own homes.
Furthermore, online traffic schools like Ticket Relief are poised for major growth in the next few years, a move that could have a major impact on the way drivers do business. "Ticket Relief will continue to grow until it covers all 52 states. Ticket Relief is also looking to venture into other driving related services. Some of the services are: ordering a copy of your driver license record, reducing your insurance rate, renewing your driver's license, and offering a membership with exclusive member benefits. Ideally, I would like customers to come to TicketRelief.com for all their driving needs," Travis says.