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New York Defensive Driving Instructors

New York defensive driving/traffic school instructors teach defensive driving courses to New York drivers. These courses help students understand the importance of safe driving habits, as well as providing them with coping skills to assist them in New York traffic. Defensive driving classes focus on safe driving tips and how to avoid accidents. They also provide valuable information about the effects of alcohol and drugs on your ability to drive, and on driving safety in construction work zones. After  completing the class, New York drivers can submit their certificates of completion to their insurance companies to receive a 10% discount on their auto insurance premiums. Also, once every 18 months, New York drivers can have up to 4 points removed from their New York driving records. Since the New York DMV will suspend the license of a driver who accumulates too many points, defensive driving classes can also help students keep their New York drivers' licenses while giving them the information and skills that they need to drive more safely in the future.

New York traffic school instructors are employed by the traffic schools that offer the defensive driving courses. Each traffic school is, in turn, approved by the company that owns the course curriculum. These companies are called sponsoring organizations. Sponsoring organizations must get their course approved by the New York state DMV before it can be offered to New York drivers. Then, they can train and certify instructors to teach their courses and contract with course delivery agencies to hold the courses. In order to get an accident prevention course approved by the DMV, the organization must be able to present evidence showing that it impacted the behavior of former students, leading them to cause fewer accidents and commit fewer violations than drivers who had not taken the course.



New York traffic schools are regulated by the DMV. The DMV approves curriculum and licenses sponsoring organizations to teach defensive driving courses in New York. The DMV also approves the sponsoring organization's choice of instructors, looking at such factors as criminal history and driving record. The sponsoring organization is responsible for training and certifying instructors to teach their defensive driving courses. They are also supposed to monitor their instructors in class periodically, in order to ensure that high-quality instruction is being provided and that all necessary classroom topics are being covered.

If you encounter a problem with a New York traffic school, you can report your issue to the DMV's Driver Program Regulation division. If necessary, you can make a complaint online using the form available here.


Steps for becoming a defensive driving instructor

In New York, the first step in becoming a defensive driving instructor is to seek employment with a sponsoring organization. They can help you with training and certify you to teach their course. Secondly, you will need to successfully complete their training program. These usually include classroom instruction and some practice teaching under the supervision of an experienced course instructor. Under current DMV regulations, you will be required to complete at least 6 hours of training. The training classes will cover the information taught in the course as well as approved teaching methods and learning psychology. Once you start holding classes, the sponsoring organization may sit in with you occasionally to monitor how the classes are going and to provide feedback to help you improve.

Requirements for becoming an instructor

There are several requirements for becoming a good defensive driving teacher. First of all, you have to be outgoing and have excellent communication and presentation skills. Secondly, you have to be patient. A sense of humor is asset-students often enter a defensive driving classroom expecting to be bored out of their skulls for the next 6 hours. If you can keep them entertained, they will be a lot more likely to listen to what you have to say and to remember it later on, when they are actually driving. Finally, a desire to help people is a must for this job! If you don't care about helping your students learn how to drive more safely, the odds are that they won't care, either.  

The New York DMV also has requirements for potential defensive driving instructors. In order for you to be hired to teach a course by a sponsoring agency, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 19 years and have a high school diploma or a GED.
  • You must be currently licensed in the state of New York to teach a New York defensive driving class.
  • You must have been a licensed driver for at least the past 3 years.
  • No driver's license suspensions or revocations within the past 5 years, and no alcohol-related driving violations in the past 7. Basically, the DMV does not want an accident prevention course to be taught by someone whose own conduct behind the wheel has been less than exemplary.
  • Within the past 10 years, you cannot have been convicted of a crime that involved lying, fraud, or moral turpitude. You must provide this information on your application or it will be rejected.


Of course, you are also required to successfully complete training. The sponsoring agency is required to fire you if you make any false statements on the application and they find out later. You will also lose your job if your driver's license is suspended or revoked, if you are convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, or if you don't hold your classes according to the standards defined in the course. Obviously, coming to work drunk or drugged is grounds for a state-mandated termination. Finally, if it's determined that you are an ineffective teacher and additional training does not help, you need to be in a different line of work and the sponsoring agency is legally required to help you start your new job search.

Continuing Education Requirements

To make sure that you stay up-to-date on current traffic safety research, the DMV requires that all New York defensive driving instructors complete a refresher workshop at least every two years. These workshops are held by the sponsoring organization.  


Job opportunities and income potential 

With New York defensive driving classes, there is a constant stream of potential customers. As mentioned previously, New York defensive driving classes offer drivers a chance to remove up to 4 points from their drivers' licenses and to get a 10% insurance discount. Even though most people are not excited about defensive driving, it's still a growing field because there are so many people who want and need to take advantage of these incentives.
As a defensive driving instructor, your income potential will depend on many different factors:  the number of class sessions you choose to teach, where you work, and who you work for can be major determining factors as far your income is concerned. However, according to's salary calculator, the average salary for a defensive driving instructor in New York City is $40,294.00.

A defensive driving instructor is an excellent career choice. You get to meet lots of great people in the classes, and the information you teach is important. In fact, the defensive driving techniques that you teach in class could prevent an accident and maybe even save someone's life. So, you get a special kind of job satisfaction that comes from knowing you are making a difference and helping others.

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