FAQ – Teenage Driver’s Ed

FAQs about Teen Driver’s Ed

How long is the teen driver’s education course?

The classroom portion of the driver education course is at least 32 hours, which cannot be completed in less than 16 days. The in-car portion of the course consists of 7 hours of driving plus 7 hours of in-car observation which cannot be completed in less than 6 days.

Is a teenager required to complete a driver education course before receiving a driver's license?

Yes. Texas law requires persons under 18 years of age to successfully complete a State-approved course in driver education before they are eligible to receive a driver's license.

If I am absent for a day or two from the classroom phase, may I get an excused absence and miss those classes?

No. To obtain a Texas driver’s license prior to the age of 18, all driver education hours in both the classroom and in-car must be attended or made-up.

If I make-up the material that I missed from a classroom session, may I do it in less than the time it would have taken in the classroom?

No. Both the material that you missed and the class time must be made-up.

How old do I have to be before I receive a Texas driver’s license?

You must be at least 15 years of age to receive an instruction permit.  You must be at least 16 years of age to receive a provisional driver's license.

When can my son or daughter receive an instruction permit license?

A student is not permitted to apply for an instruction permit until he/she is at least 15 years of age and has completed at least Module One (six instructional hours) of a driver education classroom program. Application for an instruction permit license requires the student to pass a written examination administered by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and to meet all other DPS licensing requirements.

My son (age 16) has successfully completed a driver education course, but I don’t want him to get his driver’s license for at least another year. Will he have to re-accomplish the course then?

No. The course completion form (DE-964) will be proof that he successfully completed the course.

I am now 19 years old, and I completed my driver education course before I turned 19. Do I have to take an in-car driving test at the DPS before receiving my driver’s license?

Yes. The DPS established the following policy that was effective on August 1, 1994: “The driving skills test will not be waived if the applicant is nineteen (19) years of age or older.” This means that regardless of when you completed your driver education course, all new drivers who are 19 or more years of age are required to pass an in-car driving test at the DPS in order to receive a driver’s license.

Is there a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program in Texas?

Yes. The GDL program went into effect in Texas on January 1, 2002. It creates two phases of driving requirements for minors under 18.

What is this 6-month period that I have to wait before I can get my license?

There are actually two 6-month periods for licensure, and both are mandated by Texas law. The first six-month period occurs while a teen holds a learner’s permit. After the teen has held the permit for 6 months, is at least 16, and has passed the teen driver’s education course, the teen can obtain a Provisional License which will allow him/her to drive without anyone else in the vehicle, but there are restrictions concerning the times of day when you can drive and who can be carried as passengers. Those restrictions will be lifted after the teen has held the provisional license for the second 6-month period. For more information,

    click here

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I am a high school student, age 16, with a permit. I heard that it is legal to drive directly to and from school alone even though my permit says that I have to drive with a person 21 years of age or older in the passenger’s seat. Is it legal for me to drive along to/from school?

No, it is definitely not legal. A permit is a license that allows you to practice driving, but you must be accompanies by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and has had at least one year driving experience and who is occupying the seat beside you. You will be permitted to drive along after you receive your provisional driver’s license.

My daughter will be visiting us in Texas this summer and she has a driver’s permit from California that allows her to drive if an adult is in the front seat with her. Can she drive on that permit in Texas?

Texas honors the licenses and instruction permits from all other states as long as an individual remains a visitor status and abides by the restrictions on the valid license or instruction permit. However, if an individual chooses to become a resident of this state, he/she will be required to surrender the out-of-state driver’s license or permit within 30-days of establishing residency.

My son already has his driver education permit. Doesn’t that mean he has completed the classroom phase?

Not necessarily. A student is allowed to apply for an instruction permit after completing as few as only 6 hours of classroom, but he must successfully complete at least 32 hours of classroom to finish that phase.

Are there any restrictions on the number of hours of driver education training per day?

Yes. Driver education training is limited to five hours per day no matter what combination of training is provided (classroom or in-car), with the exception of classroom make-up lesson. Further, for each calendar day, a student shall be limited to a maximum of:

  • two hours of schedule classroom instruction
  • one hour of behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction (note: On one day only per student, a two-hour BTW session may be conducted)
  • four hours of in-car observation
Is it true that there is a new law that makes it illegal for a new teenage driver to use a cell phone while driving?

Yes. Senate Bill 1257 passed during the 79th Regular Session, and it specifies that effective September 1, 2005, a person under 18 years of age, during the six-month period following issuance of an original Class A, B, or C driver’s license may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications devise.

Is there a new law that requires persons younger than 25 to complete a driver safety course if he or she gets a ticket?

Yes. Senate Bill 1005 was passed during the 79th Regular Session, and it amended Article 45.051, Code of Criminal Procedure concerning persons younger than 25 years of age who commit a moving traffic violation. It specifies that, if penalty is deferred, the judge shall require the defendant to complete an approved driving safety course during the deferral period. Additionally, if the defendant holds a provisional driver’s license, he/she must complete a DPS road test (driving skills test) during the deferral period even if he/she previously completed the road test, and there is a $10 fee required for the examination.

My daughter has completed the first 6-hours of classroom training at a licensed driver education school, and they gave her a DE-964 form to take to the DPS to get her learner’s permit. What else do we need to take to the DPS for her to receive her permit?

The following list has been adapted from the checklist provided by the DPS for persons under 18 years of age who go to the DPS Driver’s License Office for a permit:

  • Be a minimum of 15 years of age.
  • Present proof of identity (original birth certificate, Texas ID card, passport with U.S. Visa/resident alien card/citizenship papers) and Social Security card (no copies)
  • Present the Driver Education certificate (DE-964 Classroom provided by us)
  • Submit Verification of Attendance and Enrollment in school (provided by student’s high school)
  • If you own a vehicle, you need to provide proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance
  • Obtain your parent’s or guardian’s authorization signature (notarized)
  • Complete the required forms that are available at any Texas Driver License Office
  • If coming from out-of-state, you must surrender your out-of-state Permit or License
  • Pay the required fee
  • Pass the written and vision examinations unless these were already been completed at the licensed driver education school you are attending
  • The DPS office will take your photograph and a thumbprint; however, thumbprints are not included on the Permit
When it’s time for my teen to trade his permit for a provisionary driver’s license, what do we need to take to the DPS Driver’s License Office?

First, your son or daughter must be at least 16 years of age and have held a valid learner’s permit for at least 6 months. Then you will need the following:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Valid Instruction Permit (The teen must be at least 16 and have held a VALID Instruction Permit for at least 6 months.)
  • Completed Driver Education certificate (DE-964 DPS Copy)
  • Verification of Attendance and Enrollment in school (VOE Form which is commonly known as the TEA form)
  • If you own a vehicle, you need to provide proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance.Your parent’s or guardian’s authorization signature
  • If coming from out-of-state, you must surrender your out-of-state Permit or License
  • Money to pay the required fee
If I pay the fee for a driver education course and attend all classroom hours and all in-car hours, am I guaranteed a license?

No. Attendance is only one requirement of the driver education program. Each student must demonstrate an acceptable level of content mastery of the instructional objectives for driver education. A minimum passing grade of 70% is required, and successful completion in the classroom plus mastery of the in-car procedures are prerequisites to awarding a grade of 70% or above.
Note: mastery of the driver education program is not related to passing the DPS written examination for a learner’s permit.

I think that I am eligible for a hardship driver’s license. Who can I contact about getting it?

You’ll need to contact your local DPS Driver’s License Office. The actual name for the hardship license is the Minors Restricted Driver’s License (MRDL/Hardship), and information is available here (Click here)

I lost the form that I received when I graduated from driver education class. I need to get my driver’s license (or a copy for my insurance company). How can I get a duplicate?

You need to contact the school where you completed the course. If you completed it with us, you can call us at (254) 526-6699. There is a fee.

I’m a 16-year-old who just completed the driver education course. Is it true that I can get a discount on my automobile insurance?

Some insurance companies do provide a discount for successfully completing a driver education course. However, insurance companies are not required to give discounts – it’s their decision. Contact your insurance company for more information.

My teen dropped out of high school and has been told that she cannot get a driver’s license until she is 18. Is that true?

Yes. A Texas law was passed in 1989, requiring that persons under 18 years of age must be enrolled and attending school as a condition of licensing that person to operate a motor vehicle. There was an exception: if the person had a high school diploma or GED, the driver license could be issued. Proof of enrollment and attendance at a school is established by the “Verification and Enrollment of Attendance” (VOE) form which the student can obtain from his/her high school.