Which Driver’s Education Course Is Right for You?
For Teens Ages 14 to 17: Understanding the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) Program
Texas uses a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) Program. The GDL Program means three different tiers of licenses (or levels of licensure) make sure teenagers understand driving laws and how to deal with common driving challenges. The program has three phases: phase one (Learner’s license), phase two (provisional license) and phase three (full driver’s license).
- Phase One—Learner’s License
- Before you get your phase one learner’s license, you’re going to need to be 15 years old, and you will have completed at least the first unit of either the Texas Online Driver’s Education (Self-Taught) Instruction Course or the Texas Parent-Taught Driver’s Education Course.
- Texas law requires that if you issued a Texas learner’s license, you must hold that license for at least six months or until you are 18 years of age, whichever is earlier. During that six months (or longer), you will need to complete the rest of your course.
- You will also need to complete 44 hours of required in-car training with an eligible parent/guardian or a certified instructor and complete the Impact Texas Driver’s (ITD) requirement.
- Phase Two—Provisional License
- Once you’ve held your valid learner’s license for at least six months, reached the age of 16, completed both the classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of driver’s education and completed the Impact Texas Driver’s (ITD) requirement, you are eligible to take the driving test for your provisional license.
- Once you pass the driving test, you’ve earned your provisional license. This means you cannot drive with more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not a family member. Also, you cannot drive between midnight and 5:00 am unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for you to work, to attend or participate in a school-related activity or due to a medical emergency.
- Phase Three—Full License
- If you observe the rules for your provisional license during the six-month period after you’ve received your provisional license, you can go to your local DMV office and have these restrictions removed.
Which Driver’s Education Program Should You Choose?
In the parent-taught driver’s education course, the class is led primarily by your parent. You will complete 32 hours of online instruction under the guidance of your parent or guardian. This program (which is also known as PTDE) will help you go over the important topics of driving safety and ensures qualified adult guidance during driving hours.
Texas Driving School online offers a self-taught driver’s education course for teens who want to self-initiate and fulfill this requirement on their own. This course does not require the aid of a guardian, parent or instructor. This is the better option if your parent or guardian has a busy schedule that could potentially conflict with your class instruction time.
For Adults Ages 18 to 25:
Texas Driving School offers a Texas Adult Driver’s Education course. While the course is optional for adults over the age of 25, it is required for individuals between the ages of 18 and 24.
According to the TDLR, “Starting on March 1, 2010, Texas law changed to require persons from 18 to under 25 years of age who wish to obtain a driver’s license to successfully complete a six hour driver’s education course exclusively for adults or a complete adult and teen driver’s education course (32 hours of classroom, 7 hours behind-the-wheel, 7 hours observation).”
The course will cover alcohol and drug awareness; Texas Traffic Laws; highway signs, signals and markings that regulate, warn or direct traffic; and issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, including poor decision-making, risk taking, impaired driving, distraction, speed, failure to use a safety belt, driving at night, failure to yield the right-of-way and using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle.
To pass the course, you will also need to take the Texas Department of Public Safety Road Signs and Road Rules written examination.
For Adults Interested in Pursuing Ticket Dismissal
Adults can take a defensive driving course in Texas once every year for ticket dismissal. You can also take this course for insurance discounts, but remember: Insurance discounts for defensive driving courses expire every three years. Most individuals sign up for our Defensive Driving Course to remove points from their license. Usually, you will still have to pay for your ticket. The course will work to keep your insurance from raising the rates on your car insurance and will not act against your Texas driving record. To pursue ticket dismissal, you need to request a defensive driving class with the county that issued your ticket.
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/ITD.htm
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/identificationrequirements.htm
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/ssn.htm
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/LawfulStatusDLID.htm
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/residencyReqNonCDL.htm
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-14A.pdf
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/administration/driver_licensing_control/rolodex/search.asp
Texas DPS: https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/fees.htm
Education Code Chapter 1001: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.1001.htm