San Francisco Traffic Schools

Earlier this summer, I got a speeding ticket in Marin County and elected to take traffic school. The court gave me 60 days to complete the schooling. Of course, I waited until today (57 days) to look at the letter they sent me. It read:

“PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COURT DOES NOT ACCEPT HOME STUDY OR INTERNET TRAFFIC SCHOOL.”

Actually, the entire letter was written in capital letters, but that’s a gripe for another post.

Great. Apparently Marin county isn’t aware of this thing called the Internet. So, I searched Google for a list of approved traffic schools for California. Of the 25 schools that operate in San Francisco, a paltry 5 of them had websites and only two offered online booking. One of numbers even connected me to an advertisement for a phone chat line instead of a traffic school (brilliant scam, by the way). Of course, you wouldn’t know this from the information provided by the DMV. They just give you a phone number and the (often ridiculous) names of the schools.

Of the two that offered booking online, only one offered a class within the timeframe that I needed. It made me happy that this school also had a simple, easy to understand website that didn’t require me to enter a credit card or any information that I thought was unnecessary to be able to make the reservation. (See my choice at the end of this post.)

So, in case you’re unlucky enough to get a ticket in one of the few counties in California that doesn’t accept certificates from internet traffic schools, here’s what I found when I called the traffic schools in San Francisco:

Great Comedians Traffic School
800-925-1707
http://greattrafficschool.net/
You can sell them your email address for $3 (they email a coupon to you)
No information about class times on the web

Pizza 4U – Great Comedians
800-775-5233
No website

Improv, The Comedy Club Presents
800-775-5233
http://www.trafficschoolbyimprov.com/
Save $3 on all CA classroom registrations when you pre-pay by credit card. Promo code: CACLASS
Class times are available on the web

ASAP Traffic School
800-760-0923
No Website

Fun N Cheap Traffic School
800-748-5933
No Website

National Traffic Safety Institute
800-732-2233
http://www.ntsi.us/
No information about class times on the web

Great Classes on Sat/Sun/Days/Eve
800-500-2307
Announced the school as Pizza 4U when they answered
No website

Pacific Seminar Traffic Safety, Inc.
800-448-4140
No website

Gay Community Traffic School
800-429-4968
No website

Comedy School
800-341-5554
No website

Lettuce Amuse U Comedy Traffic School
800-286-8051
No website

The Smart Choice Traffic School
800-279-3095
The number is an advertisement for a “talk line” (like a telephone chat room, I guess)

Great Traffic Safety Classes
800-257-5357
No website

Cheap School
800-234-7283
No answer (apparently, they’re that cheap!)

Comedy For Less Traffic School
800-218-0013
No website

Academia De Trafico en Espanol
415-865-0900
No website, but the operator did speak a little english, which was nice

SF Bay Driving & Traffic School
415-759-9500
http://www.sfbaytvscounseling.com/
Spoke to Josh who was helpful

Sunset Traffic Academy
415-753-1397
No website

A-Safe Way Driving School, Inc.
415-665-1133
http://drivingthesafeway.com/
Nice, simple wbesite…and you can signup online!

Rosy Driving And Traffic School
415-587-1233
No answer – went to voice mail

Days, Evenings, Weekends D.E.W.
415-558-9899
No website – the operator, Megan, was nice

Nu Tech Driving & Traffic School
415-468-1288
No answer – went to voice mail

Les Driving & Traffic School
415-441-7855
No answer – went to voice mail

Speed Traffic School
415-333-1300
No answer – no voice mail (rang for a couple minutes)

New Chinatown Traffic School
415-221-9050
No answer – went to voice mail

The school I chose: A-Safe Way Driving and Traffic School

In addition to the nice things I mentioned above, it cracked me up that they list the instructor as “the “legendary” Mr. Lee.” I imagine this guy will be as into driving safety and my high-school driver’s ed instructor, Mr. Hanley, which should make for an entertaining afternoon. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Update: Mr. Lee was quite the character. I have a feeling that most of the stories he told were fabricated, but they were all entertaining. I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of them quite often.

It’s also worth noting that Mr. Lee is quite religious. His personal philosophy is what I can only describe as a blend of Catholicism and Buddhism. If you have a problem with people relating everything back to the “word of god,” then A-Safe Way Driving and Traffic School may not be for you.

I am a Bright, which means I don’t believe in god, but I didn’t have a problem with Mr. Lee’s style. He actually had an easy way about himself and I came away with a renewed appreciation for the things in life that really matter: friends, family, health, etc.

I wouldn’t call it the perfect traffic school for everyone, but it was good enough to recommend.

If you found this post helpful. Please post a comment!

22 thoughts on “San Francisco Traffic Schools”

  1. sick,
    Aaron got a ticket a while ago too. He went to the dmv to pay it and she gave him a crappy photocopied piece of paper with a website on it. he had to send something in to make sure his record was clean enough, and they let him take an internet class that basically voided the ticket. He had a time frame he had to complete the class by, it took him about 20 mins online to answer a bunch of questions, and then i think they sent him some confirmation he had to bring back into the dmv. How funny is that? That us, in backwoods Ak, can have our dmv more savy than 1000s of people in Cali. hehehe stuff like that makes me laugh. Sorry about your troubles, but your post was funny.
    love you—del

  2. What was your experience like at “a safe-way driving school”? I ran into the same situation you did and you are right Marin has not heard of the internet. I had just started my search for a school and I ran across your blog. Actually had I known that I was going to have to sit in a class for 8 hours I may have just paid it.LOL I appreciate your input.

  3. In a way, I can understand
    why certain counties don’t allow anyone to attend an Internet Traffic School. Here is the reason:
    The person taking the course online could be taking it for someone else who received a citation. Alot of this goes on and it really should be taken by the person who received the citation. People take advantage of the situation.
    Online Traffic Schools open the door for cheating. The person receiving the citation is the one who needs a refresher course on the “rules of the road”.
    I truly feel they should not allow this online.
    Lets face it…..we got the citation because we obviously did something wrong…..no use being in denial – no use cursing the officer. Either take the course….or get a point on your record. Which do you prefer? They
    are giving us one more chance! Thank you.
    I recently received a speeding ticket in El Dorado County and I knew I was absolutely guilty. That ticket is a good reminder for me to stop getting carried away with the gas peddle as I have a tendency to speed. I am older and wiser now and can easily admit when I am wrong. Many drivers have a real attitude. I am just happy that I can have that point removed from my record and not have my insurance rates go up!
    We have 60 whole days to do this….why wait till the end…..it isn’t going to go away. Just do it and get it over with. Driving is a privelege not a right!
    Take it from Grammy.

  4. I got nailed in Marin and noticed that unfortunate exclusion. How was thelegendary Mr. Lee? I have to make a choice in the next few weeks.

  5. Thanks. This was really helpful. I got nailed in Marin too. For the heinous crime of helping out a bicyclist with a flat tire. Who knew he wasn’t allowed in the back of my truck with his bike? What I really want to know is how come there are comedy traffic schools, pizza traffic schools and cheap traffic schools but there are no sex or porn traffic schools. This my friend is an idea whose time has come!

  6. Man, was I glad to find your post here.

    The amount of info out there about the local traffic schools is dismal. It drives me insane (and doesn’t exactly fill me with a lot of confidence) that most of them have no web site, much less online registration.

    I’m just glad to have had anything resembling a personal recommendation! I got nailed in Mill Valley – first moving violation in more than 20 years – and as long as I have to spend 8 hours in class, I’m glad that I’ll be able to do it someplace with a little character and personality.

    BTW, I’m also intrigued by this whole thing about the Brights (which I’d never heard of before), so I’ll be reading up on that a bit, too…

    Thanks again.

  7. Thanks for posting this info. I was about to start calling all the numbers on the stupid DMV list and just look for the place closest to my house. Saved me a lot of time. This whole thing is a scam. I got nabbed for an illegal right on red in Marin b/c I didn’t see the sign – first ticket in forever. So, now I’ve gotta sit in traffic school? Oh – and pay like $200 in fines/fees. WAIT – THAT’S the reason – everyone’s makin’ a buck off me outta this deal and the only reason I’m going to 1 less person can make a buck off me (my insurance company). You can’t fight city hall!

  8. Hey, great site on the list of traffic schools. I actually had Mr. Lee as my driver’s education teacher way back in high school and I’m 32 now so that should tell you how long they’ve been around. Brad is right: He is a character and you’ll either love him or hate him. I personally was entertained but in a mocking kind of way towards him (hey, I was in high school). I got cited on the GG Bridge a few weeks ago going 65. Message to folks crossing the GG Bridge: WATCH YOUR SPEED LIKE A HAWK. The officer said they crack down big time on the GG Bridge and on both the SF and Marin County side approaches. I’m not a speed demon, but they’ll get you if you are even 6 miles over the limit according to this officer. Nice guy though.

  9. Great information and it is a shame Marin County does not allow Traffic School Online.com As the nations 1st traffic school via the Internet, we have been trying to get into Marin County since 1997. There are 58 counties in California and only 5 do not allow online traffic schools.

    We believe online education is here (colleges are doing it) and we certianly hope Marin County would consider if you can recieve a degree online, you should be able to take a driver refresher course online.

    Remember, this is not for getting your drivers license but simply a refresher program.

    Keep up the good work with this blog.

  10. Brad,

    Thanks for taking the time to write the post. I’ll be seeing Mr. Lee soon.

    You can add Colusa County to the list of barbarian counties that don’t accept online traffic school. Sigh…….

  11. Hey Brad,

    Thanks for posting all this information. I can’t believe they give you that list with those ridiculous names and only phone numbers. It almost looked like a joke. As I was reading and searching into the websites that you posted I had the feeling that A-Safe Way Driving & Traffic School was a good option, then I saw it was also your choice.

    This might sound stupid for some (like my friend who is right next to me now) but I feel that I don’t want to waste 8 hours with comedians trying to make me laugh, instead I want to take advantage of the time there and see if I can learn something. It seems that Legendary Mr. Lee might have something interesting to say. Oh, this is funny: I just enrolled online and made a mistake of choosing Friday instead of Saturday, so I call thinking I would get an answer machine (it’s almost 10:00pm). Surprisingly, Mr. Lee answered the phone!! He will fix the day for me.

    Well, I’ll tell you later how it went.

    Thanks again,
    Julia

  12. GREAT NEWS!!! Marin County now allows online traffic school! They have hand picked several that they feel are credible schools and yes, we are one of them. Click Here Now for Details: http://www.opentrafficschool.com/ to get a link to the Marin county traffic court for details.

    From their website:

    “You can find more information about traffic schools through the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ Traffic Violator School Classroom Location List (list is in PDF format) at http://www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also complete an internet traffic school of your choosing. (A partial list of internet traffic schools: trafficschoolonline.com, traffic101.com, goodbyeticket.com, abettertrafficschool.com, idrivesafely.com, removeaticket.com, trafficschooltogo.com, warpspeedhomestudy.com, gotaticket.com, simplefastfun.com, and opentrafficschool.com.)”

  13. Thank you sir…. I also got a ticket in Marin County…the cop was way hot though, but I digress. I tried finding a comprehensive list of Bay Area schools which I could read on my old computer. I was actually looking for a gay school…and then I came across your site. Thanks for having an inclusiv listing, heck, maybe I will even get a date.

  14. The DMV does not even give you a list of schools, just an “INFORMATION SHEET” (re-stating what you already got when you received the Notice in the mail) with a URL printed on it. When you go to the DMV web-site, GOOD LUCK FINDING ANY TRAFFIC SCHOOL! You have to figure out for yourself how to search for the school listings, then you get a fourteen page Acrobat document which is all in small print and not infomative. If you try looking up traffic schools on any of the weak “yellow page” web-sites (which are always less user friendly than the book itself), you get a lot of nonsense, and you can’t even tell which listings are for a DMV-approved school.

    At least this web-site gives a little bit more to go on. Even though I am in San Diego County, I appreciate the public service offered by it.

  15. 2007 Update on A-Safe Way Driving School: Don’t go. I showed up, understandably depressed, starting out the new year spending 8 hours at traffic school. I was a bit confused when I arrived at the location and it appeared to have been very recently on fire. I heard a rap-tap-tap from a window on the second floor above me, and Mr. Lee escorted me over the ashes and brought me upstairs into a cold and messy classroom. The restaurant below had caught fire the day before, and he still held the class. The smell of burned building was overwhelming, and within 2 hours most of us had sore throats and burning eyes. He wouldn’t let us out for air breaks without adding time to the total class time. He told jokes I found somewhat offensive, and I’m pretty chill. Then, he agreed to mail me my certificate since I couldn’t find my paperwork that morning (totally my fault) but then he sat on it for 6 days making me late in submitting my paperwork (still somewhat my fault, but annoying nonetheless). Overall, Saturday Night Live couldn’t have done a better parody of the absolute punishment that is traffic school.

    p.s. I’ve never posted a complaint about anything before now.

  16. I am a traffic school instructor for Improv, The Comedy Club Presents traffic school in Mill Valley and Novato, as well as the rest of the Bay Area.

    We always think one learns much more from a live instructor than from the web.

    Steve Verret
    Improv
    http://www.MyImprov.com

  17. Was having the exact same experience with a citation from Calaveras county. Found your info very useful. Actually found a school Monday & Tuesday evenings which I needed.

    Thanks for the bright posting.

    Rob

  18. Brad,
    I went to S.F.Bay Traffic School On Irving St, and I can say this they were “cool”.
    It was fun, I realized with the eleven other students whom seemed upset about their situation, that we weren’t alone in out angst.
    The teacher was sharp….he knew his stuff, but fun we stayed busy the time went by quickly.
    We had two teachers Tim and Ray…..one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
    The thing that I liked the most is when we went on a field trip and counted cars that didn’t stop at stop signs and cars who’s driver was more concerned about talking on their cells as opposed to driving…..”eye” opener.

    I recommened S.F Bay….they are courteous, respectful and they don’t treat you like a common criminal

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