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Online Driver Improvement Course


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How did you get here?


You messed up somewhere behind the wheel. Take heart!
There is a silver lining in the dark clouds if you will look for it.

The goal of our online driver improvement course is to make you more aware of dangerous driving behaviors. We want you to choose to give these up on your own.

If you do, the expense, the time, and the upset will be well rewarded

Learn More from the MVA

Why take our course?


Convenience

Take the course on your phone or your computer. Then come to our office in Fells Point / Canton in Baltimore City to take your test and get your MVA credit


Affordable

Taking the course online is free. Hard to beat that.

It will cost you $50 to take your final exam and get credit from the MVA. That is the least expensive price we have found in the area.


Location

Our office is at   2111 Eastern Avenue in Baltimore City.  If you are in Hagerstown, this probably is not very convenient for you. But who knows, we are working on our second location in Essex now, and we may be in your neighborhood before too long.


Popular

Face it, this material can be as dry as the Sahara Desert.

There are 113 slides in our course (counting the 4 test quizzes). Once you get by the first two sections, things get more interesting. There are powerful youTube videos that we hope will help you change your driving behavior. Its vitally important!


Tested

Nobody hates us so far and the code works (actually we have had very nice comments about the program).

We have passed the test, now it is up to you. Pay attention. You need to score 80% on the practice quizzes and the final exam to pass (wait, what happened to 70%?)

If you do not make 80% on the practice quizzes, MVA requires you to retake the section. "A stitch in time saves nine", so do it right the first time. And if you come in and do not pass the final exam, you can retake it at no additional charge but you have to wait at least 1 day.

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Welcome to our Maryland MVA approved on-line Driver Improvement Program

. Before we begin, lets review the basic rules of the road. First, there is no speeding. Watch the entire slide, and use the "Next Slide" button to advance, or use the ""Previous Slide"" button to return to the previous slide to review it. Throughout this presentation there are four short quizzes. You must complete each quiz to complete the program. MVA requires that you have a score of 80% or more or you will have to repeat the section! After you have completed the online course, you are required to pass the final exam with a score of 80% or greater. Call our testing center and you can stop in at your convenience. The fee is $50 and you will be given a certificate of completion and MVA will be notified that day of your successful completion of the course." why are you here? You are here because you have accumulated at least 5 points under the Maryland Points System, or you have received a moving violation conviction while holding a provisional license, and if you fail to complete this class, you will lose your driving privilege and yourlicense will be suspended Here are some statistics about driving in Maryland. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 493 fatalities on Maryland roads in 2011. 154 were alcohol related and 154 were speed related By the end of this class you will be able to describe points and laws related to your driving record, you will be able to define unsafe or dangerous driving behaviors, and reflect on your own driving habits and see how you can make them better

First objective: Understand the Maryland MVA Driver Improvement Program rules, including driving record points and different offenses.

We will now proceed with the first objective and determine points and laws pertaining to your driving record. What is your driving record? Your driving record has a list of everything you have ever done on an American road such as tickets, suspensions, DUI/DWI related offenses including refusal to submit a sobriety test, any revocations, and a list of all points you have accumulated through tickets what is not on your driving record? Changes of addresses, speed camera tickets, parking tickets, back due taxes or any non convicted court appearances Can your driving record be erased or expunged? Points may be able to come off after a certain amount of time, but a record of your tickets will always be there unless you request they be expunged. Anything related to DUI/DWI cannot be expunged What do the points mean? The more serious the offense, the more points you are given, The MVA keeps track of points as they accumulate. this slidegives you an example of how many points are assessed in different situations. There are many more examples not listed here, however it is important to know that speeding is one of the primary causes of accident related fatalities in the state of Maryland. Here you can see the points associated with each speeding offense. Speeding 1 to 9 miles per hour over the limit results in one point. Speeding ten miles per hour or more over the limit, two points. And speeding by 20 mph or more in a posted 65 mph results in an automatic five points, or dip class, or possible suspension How do I accumulate points on my license? Points will be added to the driving record once the traffic offense has been convicted in traffic court or the fine of the ticket has been mailed out. If several tickets have been assessed at the same time, you will only be given points for the ticket that has the most points, although all convictions will still be on your driving record. What does it mean if I just pay my fine? When you pay a fine, it is equivalent to you saying, "I am guilty," And points will be assessed after payment is received. "What if I don't think I am guilty?" Depending on the ticket, you will either do nothing and wait for your court date to arrive or check the appropriate box on the ticket requesting a trial. No points are assessed until after the trial. Why do points matter? They matter on your driving record. At three points you'll have a warning, at five points you'll have to take a driver improvement class, at 8 points your driving priviliges are suspended, and at 12 points your driving priviliges are revoked. Points also matter financially. There are increased costs for automobile insurance and transportation, there is also an impact on employment if you drive for a living, there are court fees and MVA fines, and also attorney fees. Let's think about how you got here. At some point you were pulled over. Was your car towed? Was your car impounded? Were you arrested? Did you have to pay a bail bond? Did you have to pay for an attorney? How much fif you pay in fines and fees? What was the cost of this class? And how much time did you miss from work? Here is one real life example from our friend William. As you can see, getting into trouble can be costly When 8 or more points have been accumulated, your license is considered, suspended. A notice of suspension will be received to your address, you will have 15 days to request a hearing to prove that you really are a safe driver. You will have to pay court fees and costs when you go the hearing. The administration hearing judge will determine the length of your suspension. When your license is suspended, the suspension begins immediately. However, the credit of your suspension does not begin until the MVA receives your license. When the MVA receives your license, it will be destroyed and you will need to get another one, once the suspension has been lifted. When you accumulate 12 points, it is considered a revocation. You will also be given 15 days to request a hearing to prove that you are a safe driver. You will have to pay court costs when you go. Revocation terms vary from 6 to 24 months depending if it is your first, second, third, or fourth revocation. Your revocation credit does not begin until the MVA receives your license. Before you get your license back, you will have to attend a driver improvement program class. You will also have to attend other educational or treatment programs. So if your license is reovked or suspended can you just wait to get your license back? The answer is NO. You will have to prove that you can drive safely before you get your license back. If your license is suspended or revoked in Maryland can you go to another state and get a new license? No. Every state in the United States participates in the interstate compact that shares information about your driving record, suspensions, DUI convictions, and recovations. There is one driving record wherever you go. Does it matter if your license is suspended or revoked? Yes. It is extremely permanent and inconvenient. Revocations and suspensions for any drug or alcohol related convictions, including refusal to test, cannot be expunged from your driving record. You may also lose your job, if it requires driving. Quiz 1 Now that we have completed our first objective of defining the points system and how they relate to your driving history, we will now move to our

Second objective: Learn about unsafe and dangerous driving behaviors.

The following is a list of principle dangers confronted when driving.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol

Alcohol impairs your ability to drive. The more alcohol you drink, the more alcohol that is in your blood. The amount of alcohol in your blood is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or referred to as BAC. As your BAC increases, your reaction time decreases, your vision diminishes, you concentration lessens, and your judgement weakens. If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. There are several factors that affect your BAC. Some of which include: Weight, drugs, how much you drank, how much you ate, body fat, when you drank, age, gender, genetics, and race and ethinicity Energy drinks have ingredients that can cause significant driver impairment and have dangerous side effects. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol, can be deadly. We will now continue to talk about how blood alcohol concentration levels or BAC affect your system. At .02, you may become relaxed, you might feel happy, tingly, but you may also experience a decline in visual function and a decline in your coordination. Your driving may be impaired. At .05 BAC, you may experience impaired judgement, exaggerated behavior, lowered alertness, release of inhibitions. You may also experience a decline in coordination, reduced ability to visually track objects, reduced ability to focus, and reduced ability to respond quickly. For most people, driving is impaired. At .08 BAC, you may experience poor muscle control. You may also have trouble concentrating on any task and may have a significantly reduced ability to process information. For most people, driving will be significantly impaired If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. It is very difficult to assess your own BAC or level of impairment. There is nothing safe about drinking and driving. What is the legal limit? For a DWI, or Driving While Impaired, the BAC is between .07 and .08. For a DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, the BAC is .08 or more, but you can be stopped and charged with a BAC as low as .05. According to Maryland law, it is illegal to drive when you have more than the legal limit of alcohol in your body, even if you think you are able to drive If you are stopped, the police officer can measure your BAC, which can be measured in two ways. Either a breath test or a blood test at a medical facility. What happens if you refuse to take a breath test for alcohol? Please check the back of your license. When you got your license you agreed to be tested upon request. Any time of refusal of implied consent, will result in stronger penalties. Our next topic is drugs How do drugs impair driving? Drugs acting on the brain can alter perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination, and reaction time. These activities make driving possible. Drugs that affect your ability to drive may be legal or illegal. Drugs that are legal include prescription and over the counter. While they are legal, they may cause driving impairment. Be sure to read the warning labels for all drugs. No recording How specific the drug affects you and your driving depends on how the drug interacts with your body. It also depends on how much you have taken, whether you have taken the drug in the past, whether you have consumed other drugs, whether you have consumed alcohol, and there are millions of other factors. Drugs that are illegal are referred to as controlled dangerous substances also, CDS. The penalties for driving under the influence of an illegal substance are higher Marijuana is the illegal drug most commonly detected in impaired drivers. Its effects last up to 24 hours and can be detected in your body for 30 days or more. Marijuana impairs your alertness, ability to concentrate, coordination. It also impairs your ability to react quickly, including reaction to sounds and signals. It also impairs your ability to judge distances. More than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over the counter drugs. This means that almost one in every five drivers driving on a Saturday night is driving impaired. Drugs can be detected and measured by the police by an exam by a drug recognition expert or by a blood test. What if I do not want to take a blood test for drugs? Remember-implied consent means stronger penalties for refusal. Quiz 2

Driving while distracted

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that causes you to take your eyes off of the road, take your hands off of the steering wheel, or take your mind off of driving.

Distracted driving increases the risk of a crash as much as 500%. Here are some examples of driving distracted. Using a cell phone, using a navigation system, talking to other passengers, eating & drinking, texting, grooming, changing the radio station and reading. A study by Carnegie Mellon indicated that driving while using a cell phone, reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. And according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 6000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver. This is essentially 16% of total fatalities. This is more than half a million people who were injured. Maryland law says you cannot text while driving, or use your hands to talk on a cell phone while driving.

Driving emotionally or under the influence of your emotions

Strong emotions affect your ability to drive. Can you think of a time when you were driving and something caused you to drive emotionally?

Any strong emotion, such as excitement, stress, or anger, can cause you to lose concentration. Anger can also lead to aggressive driving.

Some significant indicators of aggressive driving are tailgating, unsafe lane changing, speeding, running red lights and stop signs. Aggressive drivers show disapproval for traffic laws, safety laws, for other cars and people on the road, and for basic common sense at the wheel. What should you do when you realize your emotions are affecting your ability to drive safely? Pull over to a safe place until you can calm yourself if you find it hard to control your emotions. Practice deep breathing to help you relax and if possible, ask someone else to drive.

Driving while fatigued

Fatigue occurs when you get less than six hours of sleep within a 24 hour period.

As a result, you may feel sleepy or drowsy and this impairs your driving and causes a decrease in coordination, reaction time, and judgement. Driving fatigued or drowsy mimics the effects of drunk driving. According to the A A A safety foundation survey, 41% of drivers admit to having "fallen asleep or nodded off" at some point in their driving experiences. The national highway traffic safety administration estimates that one in every six deadly car crashes results from a fatigue-impaired driver. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between 18 and 29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups. Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving. And, adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children. Researchers in Australia showed that being awake for 18 hours produced an impairement equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .05 and .10 after 24 hours. .08 is considered legally drunk. How can you avoid impaired driving as a result of fatigue? The only way to avoid this is to stop driving and get the rest you need.

Driving too fast - Speeding is a "quick" way to a driving death

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Transportation Administration, 153 people died in Maryland in 2010 as a result of speeding.

The higher the speed, the worse the crash. The higher the speed, the less time to react. The higher the speed, the longer stopping time. And the higher the speed, the harder the impact. Speeding is dangerous. According to research done in Australia, exceeding the speed limit by even 8% doubles your crash risk. This is going roughly 28 in a 35 mile per hour zone. Going 6.25 mph over the spped limit in the same 35 mph zone quadruples your crash risk. Speeding is also expensive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding related crashes across the US cost over 40.5 billion dollars in 2010. To compare, the total budget for the state of Marylabd for 2011 was roughly 29 billion dollars. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also concluded that the group with the highest rate of speeding and the highest rate of speeding fatalities were 15-20 year old males. And many of these males are speeding at a BAC of greater than .08 and are not wearing seat seatbelts. Quiz 3

Last objective: Driving safely and responsibly by understanding and obeying the rules of the road.

You will be able to define unsafe and dangerous driving behaviors and at the same time, reflect on your own driving habits and see how you can improve them. Why drive safely? It is much cheaper. Think about how much this class cost. How much did your ticket cost. How much did your insurance costs go up? How much did your lawyer cost and how much does your time cost? Think about how you drive everyday. What types of behaviors do you display when you are driving? What kinds of precautions do you take? What are some examples of dangerous driving conditions? How do you predict dangerous dricing conditions and how do you avoid dangerous driving conditions? Do you obey speed limits and road signs? Do you use seat belts and appropriate child safety seats as required by law? Do you check your mirrors? Do you obey traffic signals? Do you stop completely at stop signs? Do you maintain a safe following distance? Do you stay alert and focused? And do you anticipate dangerous driving situations? Choose to drive safely. Watch your speed, follow traffic control devices and lane markings, always wear your safety belt, never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol, focus on your driving task, not on the phone, stay calm, know your surroundings, and make a promise to yourself. Consider your speed and the speed limit on Maryland roads. Most residential areas have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. How can you tell if an area is residential? And what are some of the hazards of a residential area? An example is children playing. Ordinary highways are highways that have opposing traffice and there is nothing separating the traffice. In many cases the speed limit will be 30 miles per hour. And on rural roads speed limits may be higher. What are some of the typical hazards of an ordinary highway? You have oncoming traffic, vehicles turning across your lane, vehicles moving more quickly and more slowly, and cars entering your lane. Divided highways are highways that have some type of barrier or median, but also have breaks in the median for left turns, intersections, traffic lights and other control devices. What are examples of divided highways where you live? What do you think the hazards of this type of road are? Consider also interstate highways. For example, i-95, i-70, i-695, and i-495. The speed limit is 55 miles per hour or 65 miles per hour. What are some of the hazards of an interstate highway? Speed limits are absolute limits. What factors can affect speed? Poor driving conditions such as weather, traffic, or low visibility. Also, work zones. Usually work zones are designated by special signs. We need to protect those people who are out just doing their jobs. Also, school zones. Also designated by special signs - especially dangerous because children are not always alert to danger. Know the colors of all signs. Red means to stop. Blue indicates motorist services. Green indicates a guide. Yellow, a general warning. Orange, construction work. White, regulatory signs. Brown, recreational interest. And flurorescent optic yellow means school and pedestrian. Know the shapes of all signs. An octagon means stop. Triangle, yield. Diamond, warning. Pentagon, school. Pennant, advance warning of no passing zone. Horizontal, directions. Vertical, indicates a law. Round, advance warning of a railroad crossing. And a crossbuck, is a railroad crossing. A steady red light means moving traffic should stop and remain stopped as long as the signal is red, except for traffic moving in the direction of the green arrow. A green light means traffic shall move in the direction of the signal, but should yield to other vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection. A steady yellow means a change is about to occur in the direction of the moving traffic. A flashing red means traffic should stop before entering the intersection. Lane markings are also important to consider. Double solid yellow lines means that passing is not permitted in either direction. Crossing is permitted when turning left. Yellow marks the edge on divided highways. Broken white lanes separate lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Solid white lanes designate turn lanes and prevent changes near intersections. Stop lines, crosswalks, and parking spaces are also marked by white lines. Solid white lines mark the right edge of the pavement. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Transportation Administration, there are five basic thing to know about seatbelts. One, buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Two, air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. Three, to put your seat belt on safely, make sure your shoulder belt is in the middle of your chest away from your neck, and the lap belt is across your hips. Four, when you purchase a new vehicle, make sure the safety belt fits you. And five, seat belts or car seats are for everyone. Don’t drive under the influence. Alcohol and drugs both legal and illegal impair your driving ability. The safest and best plan is to never drink or use medication and drive. If you plan to drink or use drugs, plan not to drive. Taking away the keys, may save someone's life. Focus on your driving task. Driving is risky and things can happen in the blink of an eye. You must keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. And most importantly, keep your mind on driving. Be alert and focused. Be alert to where you are and what you are doing. How closely are you following the person in front of you? How closely are you watching the road for possible hazards? And how closely are you watching your own vehicle to make sure it is performing correctly? Stay calm. The more emotional you are when you are driving, the less focused you are. Whether you are angry or overjoyed, emotions diminish your concentration. If you are going to stay mad or even stay glad, stay home. Please reflect on your own driving decisions while you read our

Our driver improvement program's safety commitment.

I will not drive after consuming alcoholic beverages. I will make arrangements for safe transportation whenever I do drink. I will not drive after taking drugs that could impair my driving. I will learn about possible side effects of any drugs or medicines I take. I will not text while I am driving. I will not use my hands to talk on a cell phone while driving. I pledge to keep my eyes on the road, my mind focused, and my hands on the steering wheel at all times. I will not drive aggressively. I will not drive when I am feeling fatigued, sleepy, or drowsy. I will obey all traffic laws. And finally, I will always wear my seat belt whenver I am in a motor vehicle, whether I am the driver or the passenger. Quiz 4 Congratulations, you have completed the online portion of the driver improvement program. You will be receiving an email with details of phone #, location, and hours of operation. Please give us a call to schedule your final exam. Once you pass, we will give you your certificate and notify MVA that you have successfully completed this course. Thanks for riding along with us, and remember to always buckle up and drive safely.