Defensive Driving Courses (also called Driver Improvement Courses) give drivers the necessary techniques for safer driving.

You may be required to go through a state-approved defensive driving class for these reasons:

  • Point reduction
  • Court-ordered
  • Driver's license reinstatement
  • Personal education voluntarily
  • For an insurance discount

North Carolina

​​​Drivers may request to complete a Driver Improvement Course if they accumulate four points (on the eight-point scale) or seven points (on the 12-point scale) on their driving record.

To receive point credit, an individual must qualify and have a conference with an administrative hearings officer.

Drivers can take the course once every five years. Upon satisfactory completion, three points are deducted from the driving record.

South Carolina

If you have points, you may have them reduced if you complete an in-person 8-Hour Defensive Driving Course. Your record contains all the convictions and the number of points charged against you under the point system. Check the points on your record. By completing the course, the points are reduced by half after one year from the violation date on the ticket.

The course must be taken after the points have been assessed (violation date). If you take the course because your license is in danger of being suspended, you must complete the course before the suspension begins. Once the suspension begins, the point reduction will not cancel the suspension.

Drivers can take the course once every three years. 

View a list of local South Carolina driving schools that offer in-person Defensive Driving Courses.


​​​Drivers may complete a Driver Improvement Course to earn safe driving points. A driver may accumulate a maximum of five safe driving points. You may earn five safe driving points by completing a driver improvement course. Annual safe driving points are awarded for the previous calendar year in April.

If you are required by the court to attend a driver improvement course, the court will determine if you are to be awarded safe driving points. You must present documentation from the court to the driver improvement clinic you attend before DMV can award points. Safe driving points will not be awarded if the clinic does not receive this documentation.