New Texas Laws Impacting Driver License and Driver Education

Teen Drivers Education requirements effective May 1, 2010

  • 32 hours of classroom
  • 7 hours behind the wheel with licensed instructor
  • 7 hours observation with licensed instructor
  • 30 hours behind the wheel with an adult 21 years or older. This is in effect for students who begin Drivers Education after September 1, 2013.

Beginning March 1, 2010 all Teens must take the DPS road test to obtain a Drivers License after they have completed their Driver’s Education course and their 6 month waiting period is complete. Applies to all teens applying for a Driver License on or after September 1, 2009 regardless of when they took drivers education.

Beginning March 1, 2010 all Teens who enroll with Driving School of North Texas will take the written and and eye exam at the school but must visit DPS to have their photo and fingerprints taken to complete the permit process.

Effective September 1, 2009, all occupants, front and back seat, must wear seatbelts.

The cost of a Learners Permit will be $16.00 effective March 1, 2010.
The permit will expire on the student’s 18th birthday.

The cost of a Provisional DL will be $16.00 effective March 1, 2010.
The Drivers License will expire on the student’s 18th birthday.

New Graduated Driver License restrictions effective September 1, 2009 to teens under the age of 18:

  • No cell phone use of any kind (dialing, talking, texting)
  • Licensed teen may not have more than one passenger in the car under the age of 21 who is not a family member.
  • No driving after midnight or before 5:00 am, unless it is necessary for work, school or a medical emergency

Effective March 1, 2010 adults between ages of 18 and 25 applying for a Drivers.
License must complete an approved 6 hours driver education course and take a road test.

When can I Drive?

Graduated Driver’s License

The Texas Graduated Driver License (GDL) was implemented as a result of Senate Bill 577. This law changed original licensing requirements for persons under the age of 18. GDL creates two phases of driving requirements for minors. The effective date of this change in the law is January 1, 2002. Basic requirements for obtaining a license have not changed.

Phase One:

Applicants under the age of 18 must hold an instructional permit (learner’s permit) for a minimum of six months prior to receiving a provisional Class A, B or C driver’s license. In addition, the minimum age of the person who must accompany any instruction permit holder while driving is 21 years of age.

Once the student has held a valid instruction permit or hardship license for a minimum of 6 months, has reached the age of 16 and has completed both the classroom and driving portions of driver’s education, they are eligible to graduate to Phase Two.

Phase Two:

Phase Two restricts the driving privileges of teens until their 18th birthday. These teens may not operate a vehicle with more than one passenger in the car under the age of 21 who is not a family member.

In addition, they may not drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless it is necessary for the teen to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency.

All drivers under the age of 18 may may NOT use a cell phone in any way, dialing, talking on or texting.


Provisional Driver’s License:

All original licenses, other than an instruction permit, issued to persons under 18 years of age will be marked “Provisional.” The license will be vertical and will be dated to expire on the applicant’s next birthday occurring after the date of issuance. A fee is required to obtain this license. The renewal fee is required for each one year of renewal period. No renewal notice will be sent as it is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain a verification of enrollment and attendance from their school. If the instruction permit or the driver’s license is not due for renewal a fee is required for a duplicate instruction permit or duplicate license (i.e. lost license, change of address, removal of GDL restriction.)

This ’n That:

There are 46 states and the District of Columbia which have some form of a graduated driver’s license system. Studies have proven that students become better and safer drivers when they learn to drive with few distractions.

Can I drive out of State with my Learners License?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions of new drivers. It’s also hard to answer. While Texas will allow you to drive in another state with a Learners License, the following states ban permitted drivers: Arizona, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Vermont. Because policies do change it is best to contact the DMV or DPS in the states you are planning to visit.