exas Learner’s Permit as a Teen

Getting a Texas Learner’s Permit as a Teen: Step-by-Step Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Sep 07, 2021

As a teenager, you likely can’t wait to get your driver’s license. For many Americans, young adults and teenagers alike, a license is often seen as a symbol of freedom and independence. After getting one, you’ll be able to drive without restrictions.

In the state of Texas, teen drivers must first apply for and drive with a learner’s permit. Student drivers are eligible for one at the age of 15. You should consult with your parents or legal guardians to decide when the best time to start this process will be. They will need to sign off on your application, and potentially accompany you to the DPS as well. 

Many wonder how to get a Texas driver’s permit and the steps afterward. Well, there is no need to worry! We’ll go through the entire process in our complete step-by-step guide.

Step #1 – Complete a State-Approved Driver’s Education Course

Teens under the age of 18 are required to complete a driver education course in order to apply for a Texas learner’s license. This course will teach you the basics of driving, such as traffic laws and road signs, and help you pass the written exam as well. 

There are three different types of driver’s education available for teenagers:

  1. Traditional driver’s education offered by a state-accredited driver training school
  2. Parent-taught driver education (PTDE)
  3. Driver education through a Texas public school

Regardless of the method you choose, the state of Texas requires student drivers to complete 32 hours of their desired driver education method

Step #2 – Prepare Documents to Apply for Your Texas Learners Permit

Like all visits to the Texas DPS, you will be required to provide documentation to complete your application for a learner’s permit. To ensure you avoid any headaches, make sure you have these documents ready beforehand. 

  • Certificate of completed Texas Driver’s Education 
  • Completed DL-14A Driver’s License Application form with parent/guardian signature
  • Verification of enrollment in Texas state high school
  • (2) Proof of residency
  • Proof of Social Security number

Step #3 – The Texas DPS

After preparing the necessary documents, you will need to plan a visit to the Texas Department of Public Safety, where you will complete your application for your permit. The DPS recommends that you make an appointment before arriving. While it is not necessary, it may save you some time. You can also walk-in to your local department, but you will need to go at the right time in order to avoid waiting there all day.

After presenting these documents, you will be prompted to provide your signature, thumbprint, photograph, and pay a $16 application fee. You will also be expected to take and pass a vision exam. 

Step #4 – Take the Written Exam

The written exam is probably the most difficult part of the driver’s permit process for Texas teens. The test covers traffic laws and rules as they relate to operating a motor vehicle in the state. You will answer 30 questions and must get 70% of them correct in order to pass. 

It is important to remember, the exam is not necessarily meant to be difficult, it is supposed to assess your knowledge of pertinent concepts related to driving. Retaining all of this information can prove to be difficult to many, especially students who must juggle studying driver education, as well as other subjects as part of their public school curriculum.

How Best to Study for the Written Test

Contrary to popular belief, studying the Texas Driver handbook is not the most effective way to prepare for the written exam. High school-aged teenagers that are forced to read the driver’s manual are less likely to remember the information. Several hundreds of thousands of prospective drivers fail their written exams every year even after driver’s education.

That’s where Zutobi comes in! With a gamified course, summarized manual, and Texas practice tests, Zutobi is the new way for drivers to study for their written exam. With over 250,000 monthly users, it has become one of the most popular new ways to prepare!

Despite lacking state-approved courses in Texas, our students have gone on to pass both their written and driving exams with flying colors, and it’s commonly used as a study resource in addition to driver’s education. It’s available online, via mobile, as well as tablet devices.

Step #5 – TX Learner’s Permit Restrictions

Your Texas learners permit will be issued to you after completion of the written exam. The DPS will give you a temporary paper license while you wait for your new card to be mailed to you in 2-3 weeks. Be sure to check all of the information on your temporary license to ensure its accuracy.

Now you can officially drive a motor vehicle in Texas! However, the learners’ permit comes with certain restrictions. 

  • Can only drive when accompanied by licensed driver 21 years or older
  • Must drive for 30 hours supervised, in order to obtain a provisional license
  • Cannot use a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, while driving
  • Must hold this license for six months, unless you turn 18

Texas Provisional Driver’s License (16+)

Once you turn 16, you will be eligible for a provisional license after passing the road exam, completing 30 hours of supervised driving, and exhibiting good driving behavior. This will remove a few of the restrictions present with a learner’s permit and will offer you a bit more freedom surrounding who can be in your vehicle and when you can operate it. 

What Are the Provisional License Restrictions?

While you will finally be able to drive alone on a provisional license, you are still prohibited from driving with more than one passenger under the age of 16, driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., and using a cell phone or wireless headset (except when an emergency presents itself). After one year, or on your 18th birthday, these restrictions will be lifted if you have exhibited good driving behavior during this period.

Before then, use your time with a driver’s permit wisely, learning as much as you can about safely driving a vehicle within the state. Easing teenage drivers into the act of driving creates safer roads for everybody!  When you finally get your unrestricted driver’s license at 18, you’ll have lots of skill and comfort behind the wheel.

That’s It!

Be sure to reference this guide to help you navigate the entire process of getting your Texas driver’s permit as a teenager. Good luck!

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