New Texas Driver's License for Teen Drivers

by Joshua on May 29, 2014

If you’re a teen in Texas, and want to get your driver’s license, you will have to go through Texas’s graduated driver’s license program. In order to help make the process of learning to drive safer, the state of Texas has adopted a program to attempt to minimize the risks that new drivers face by slowly allowing more and more driving freedom as new drivers skills increase. There are things that a new driver must do to get there drivers license, but they can be simplified into four major steps.

  • Attend driver’s education
  • Earn your learners permit
  • Earn your intermediate license
  • Earn your full license

This article should help guide you through what each step involves and how to eventually earn the freedom that comes with a full driver’s license.

Drivers Education

The very first step in obtaining your graduated drivers license is to attend and pass a driver’s education course. Anyone attempting to get a driver’s license in the state of Texas who is under the age of 25 is required by law to attend and pass an approved drivers education course. The earliest you can take a driver’s education course is at the age of 14, but you enroll whenever you would like after that. The course can be taken in one of three ways.

  • Attending any driver education class offered at a public
  • Attending any state approved driver training school
  • Being taught driver’s education by your parents.

More information on the different methods of taking a driver’s education can be found on the website of the Texas Department of Public safety

GDL level one: Learners permit

The most basic level of the Texas Graduated Drivers program is the learner’s permit . Your learners permit will allow you to start getting practice driving. You are only allowed to operate a motor vehicle with your learners permit while under the direct supervision of a licensed adult age 21 or over. In order to get your learners permit, you will need to pass the Texas learners permit exam. This exam tests you on knowledge that can be found in the Texas Driver’s handbook and on what you learned in driver’s education. A full copy of the Texas Driver’s Handbook can be found here . It is extremely important to carefully study the information found in this book if you want to pass your written test and receive your learners permit.

Once you have studied and feel fully prepared for your written test, it’s time to schedule and take it. Tests can be taken at your local DPS office. When you come into take your written test, you will need to have several things with you

  • A form of identification
  • A form proving your social security number
  • 2 forms proving your Texas residency
  • A certificate of completion from your driver’s education course
  • A GED, high school diploma, or verification of enrollment and attendance
  • A fully filled out application for a Texas driver’s license, signed by your parent or guardian
  • 16 dollars for the learners permit fees

After you pass your written test , pay your fees, and have your parents sign all the necessary paperwork you will receive your learner’s permit. Before you can move on to the next stage of your training, you must log at least 30 hours of driving time with a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older. 10 of these hours must be at night.

GDL level 2: Intermediate license

The next step in the GDL program is your intermediate license. An intermediate license allows you to operate a vehicle by yourself. It is basically the same as a regular license with a few key restrictions.

  • You are only allowed to operate a vehicle from 5:01am until 11:59 pm
  • You can only have one other person who is under the age of 21 in the vehicle. Family members under the age of 21 are an exception to this rule.
  • You cannot use a cell phone while driving, even with a hands free device, unless it is an emergency situation

In order to get your intermediate license, you must be at least 16 years old, have had your learners permit for at least 6 months, logged your required hours behind the wheel, and pass a road test that you can schedule at your local DPS office. When you come in to take your road test, make sure to have all of the documents that you had for your learners permit test.

GDL level 3: Full driver’s license

After one year of driving safely with your intermediate license or when you turn 18, whichever comes first, you will have fulfilled all of the requirements of the Texas GDL program. If you are over 18, you will receive a full driver’s license that removes all restrictions imposed by the intermediate driver’s license. If you are under 18, your license will be marked provisional until you turn 18. Provisional licenses still have full driving privileges as long as the requirements for the GDL have been met.
The GDL system can be a bit confusing, but it has been shown to increase the safety of new drivers. Hopefully with this article and maybe some additional information from the Texas Department of Safety’s drivers license page you will be on your way to a full driver’s license in no time.

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