exas Learner’s Permit as a Teen

Getting a Texas Learner’s Permit: Rules and Requirements

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 07, 2022

As a teenager, you likely can’t wait to get your driver’s license. For many Americans, a license is often seen as a symbol of freedom and independence.

But before you can even think about all that, you will need to get a Texas driver’s permit. It allows you to drive under the supervision of a licensed driver. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll go through the entire process so you know exactly what to expect.

Texas Learner’s Permit Requirements

In Texas, you are eligible to apply for a learner’s permit 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 accompany you to the DPS.

Teens under the age of 18 are required to complete an approved 32-hour long driver education course in order to apply for a permit. 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 a few different types of driver’s education available:

  1. Traditional or online 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

You may be eligible to take the written test after just six hours of drivers ed, if you have chosen the concurrent method.

Requirements if you’re 18 or older – if you’re 18 years or older, you still have to take drivers education, but the course is only 6 hours compared to the 32-hour course you have to take if you’re under 18. You will not need to have a learner’s permit or complete behind-the-wheel training.

How to Get a Learner’s Permit in Texas

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

As detailed above, you will need to complete a state-approved driver education course before you can start the application process.

Step #2 – Prepare Documents

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 – Visit 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 permit application. The DPS recommends that you make an appointment before arriving. While it is not necessary, it may save you some time.

After presenting your 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 – this is to determine whether or not you have to wear glasses or other visual aids when you drive.

Step #4 – Take the Written Exam

The written exam is probably the most difficult part of getting your Texas driver’s permit. 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 the 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.

Step #5 – Receive Your Permit

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.

TX Driver’s Permit Restrictions

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

  • Can only drive when accompanied by licensed driver 21 years or older
  • Cannot use a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, while driving

The Next Step – Provisional Driver’s License (16+)

When you’re between 16-17 years old, you will be eligible for a provisional license if you satisfy the following requirements:

  • You’ve completed the behind-the-wheel portion of drivers education consisting of 7 hours in-car observation, 7 hours in-car demonstration, and 30 hours of driving practice with a licensed adult over 21.
  • You’ve exhibited good driving behavior.
  • You’ve held your permit for at least six months, or until you turn 18

You can then take the road exam and receive your provisional license. 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!

That’s everything you need to know about how to get your Texas driver’s permit. We hope you understand what’s ahead of you and what you need to do. Be sure to reference this guide to help you navigate the entire process. Good luck!

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