The State of Texas Graduated Driver License Program
The Texas graduated license program establishes two phases of driving requirements for teen drivers under the age of 18. Both phases establish restrictions and education requirements that help limit high-risk driving situations for teen drivers. By implementing these requirements, the Texas graduated license program helps to keep teen drivers safe as they practice driving and graduate to a less restrictive license level.
The State of Texas Instruction Permit
Candidates for the Texas instruction permit must be a minimum of 15 years of age with a completion certificate from an approved driver education course. They must follow these rules:
- all applicants under the age of 18 must have their application signed by a parent or legal guardian that has custody of the teen driver.
- both the applicant and the authorized adult must also sign a Zero Tolerance Law notification document that explains the suspension procedures if a teen driver is found to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.
- all applicants for an instruction permit must provide valid identification such as an original or certified birth certificate, social security number or a valid United States passport.
Prior to receiving an instruction permit, teen drivers under the age of 18 must submit verification of attendance and enrollment in school or present a valid high school diploma or State of Texas certificate of completion equivalent. In addition, teen drivers must pass a vision screening and a written exam to receive an instruction permit. Once all of the criteria have been met, a State of Texas Instruction Permit will be issued.
The instruction permit is issued without a photo and may only be used to practice driving while accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age with a minimum of 1 year of driving experience. The licensed adult must sit in the front passenger seat next to the instruction permit holder at all times during the practice driving sessions. The instruction permit is valid until the applicants next birthday plus 1 year and is not renewable as an instruction permit.
Phase 1 of the Texas Graduated Driver License Program
Applicants under the age of 18 must hold their learner permit for 6 months before graduating to Phase 2. If the teen driver has their instruction permit suspended or revoked during the 6-month period, they must serve their suspension and then remain suspension free for the remainder of the 6-month period to graduate to Phase 2.
During the Phase 1 period the teen driver must complete an approved driver training course that consists of both classroom and on-the-road driver training. After this is completed and the instruction permit holder has reached the age of 16 they will be eligible to graduate to Phase 2.
Provisional License: Phase 2 of the Graduated Driver License Program
For the first 12 months, a provisional license holder under the age of 18 may not drive with more than 1 person that is under the age of 21 that is not an immediate family member. In addition, teen drivers may not drive between the hours of midnight and 5:00 AM except under the following conditions:
- Medical Emergencies
- Purposes of Employment
- A School Sanctioned Activity
After 6 months have passed both the passenger and time restrictions are waived.
All Phase 2 drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone or any wireless communication device while driving. All original driver licenses held by teen drivers under the age of 18 are marked Provisional and will expire on the 18th birthday or the next birthday after the date it is issued.
The State of Texas Liability Insurance Law
Texas has what is called The Safety Responsibility Act that mandates that all drivers are financially responsible for any accident that they may cause. By law all vehicle owners must have a minimum amount of liability insurance. The numbers listed below reflect the minimum liability insurance required by state law.
- $25,000 For the Injury or Death of 1 Person
- $50,000 - For the Injury or Death of 2 Persons
- $25,000 Damage to the Property of Others
Proof of financial responsibility must be provided upon the request of a law enforcement officer.
Other Texas Information
The links below provide additional information about Texas driving laws found on this website.
- Texas Cell Phone and Text Messaging Laws
- Texas Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties and Fines
- Texas Driving Laws Topic Page - links covering all aspects of Texas driving laws.