What’s Long, Boring and Something You Can Only Do Once in Michigan?
If you've had to do this before, you probably already know what I'm talking about here. If not, welcome, we're talking about a "Basic Driver Improvement Course."
Don't Worry, It's Only if You Get a Ticket
If you've never had to do this, great job! How does it feel to be a good noodle in society?
According to the Secretary of State, a person who is deemed "eligible" to take the Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC) either online or in a classroom.
What do you have to do to be "eligible"? Well, get a ticket!
I got my first ticket EVER back in June so because it has almost been 60 days, and I'm a habitual procrastinator, it's time to settle up!
So, once I got my "judgement" in the mail telling me how much I had to pay for my ticket, the State of Michigan also sent me a letter informing me the Michigan Department of State received notice of my infraction.
By doing this course, if you do have a violation on your record, it gives you the opportunity to prevent the points from your infraction (in my case, THREE) from going on your license and being disclosed to the insurance company.
What's The Catch?
It really is a good thing to do, give people the opportunity to fix their mistake so it does not cost them as much in the long run, we love to see it.
However, the catch is, according to the letter I received with the official seal from the State of Michigan, is "The BDIC program can only be applied once in a lifetime."
Yes, you read that right...a lifetime.
Also, while you do have 60 days to pass the course, it is about four hours of videos or materials to review with mini quizzes at each section and a final exam. The Michigan Secretary of State says you have as many attempts as you would like within the 60 days of your ticket date to pass the test, but you have to pay for each subsequent attempt.
In my letter as well as on the Secretary of State's section of FAQ's about the BDIC program, they say if you choose not to participate or do not pass by the deadline, the points will be added to your license, visible to the insurance company and subject to their discretion.
While you may only apply your success for "passing" the BDIC one time in the rest of your entire life driving in the state of Michigan, if you do not pass, you are able to re-take the test and possibly apply your successful completion on to your next ticket (if you are so unlucky to get a subsequent one).
The Course Itself
When you get the letter informing you of your options to take the course or not, they also tell you how to access the program(s).
In the letter, they say to visit Michigan.gov/BDIC for information on course providers, fees, scheduling, etc. From there, you have to go through a whole rigmarole to get to their list of "course sponsors" and boy, do you have options!
You then sift through the various "sponsors" until you find one you think will be right for you by going to their website.
Each "course sponsor", or rather, provider has their own version of the BDIC in which the letter you receive about your options tells you "course providers establish their own course fees but may not charge more than $100."
So once you find one at a price point you can work with, you can register, pay and begin.
The Course Provider I Chose
The course I am currently listening to as I write this is called "Drive Safe Today." I did pay a little extra to have the video version instead of just audio and reading.
While I can commend them on trying to make it as entertaining and engaging as possible there are some things I just can not ignore.
It's all pretty "common sense" stuff which is a little frustrating because you know you already know it; however, you have to sit through the videos to get the credit for it. Also, though, they have a point because "you wouldn't be here in the first place if you followed these dang rules" so that's on me.
However, I will say I have had a few moments where I thought "oh man, this guy's good."
Using examples like the infamous Vince Neil and Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley crash to illustrate points about drunk driving, talking about Paris Hilton to illustrate DUI's and for some reason pronouncing the word "yellow" as "yell-are" or "law enforcement" as "lar-emforcement" it's kept me on my toes.
At the end of the day, you've got to do what you've got to do and sometimes...well, one time...you might have to do this.
I guess thank you to the State of Michigan for giving me the opportunity to learn the error of my ways. I'll never go through a "steady yellow signal" again.