Texas DMV vs. DPS: What Is the Difference?


Are you getting your driver's license in Texas and wondering where to go? While you may think the DMV handles all issues related to driving, in Texas, that's not the case. Read on to learn the difference between the DMV and DPS. Plus, find out where to go when it's time to get or renew your driver's license!

What is the Texas DMV?

The DMV in Texas refers to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. It's a state agency that helps people with their motor vehicle-related issues, including:

  • Registering about 24 million vehicles each year

  • Processing vehicle sales

  • Issuing license plates

  • Issuing permits for oversize and overweight vehicles

  • Awarding grants to help law enforcement agencies reduce vehicle thefts and burglaries

  • Regulating vehicle dealers

  • Credentialing big trucks and buses for interstate and intrastate commerce

In addition to these services, the DMV also plays a role in consumer protection. Each year, the DMV's enforcement division reviews and investigates approximately 15,000 complaints. This includes people who can prove the new car they bought is a lemon. It can also include those who were subjected to a bait-and-switch scheme on their latest vehicle purchase. 

What Is the Texas DPS?

The DPS refers to the Texas Department of Public Safety. This organization has been entrusted with protecting Texas from numerous public safety threats. Its goals are to prevent crime and terrorism, save lives, protect property, maintain public order, and provide effective, efficient, and secure licensing services. 

When it comes to licensing and regulation, the DPS is in charge of issuing the following:

  • Driver's licenses

  • Licenses to carry handguns

  • Private security licenses

  • Motor vehicle inspector licenses

  • Licenses for metal recycling businesses

  • Licenses for the dispensing of low-level THC

  • Ignition-interlock devices

Additionally, the DPS works to help Texas law enforcement agencies as needed in major crime prevention operations such as securing the border against drug smuggling and preventing mass attacks in public places. 

What's the Difference Between the Texas DMV and DPS?

It can be easy to confuse the Texas DMV with the DPS. Aside from the fact that they both start with "D" and have three letters, the DPS has the responsibility of issuing driver's licenses, which many assume is the DMV's responsibility. Although the Texas DMV handles most services related to driving motor vehicles, the DPS is in charge of public safety. The state determined that some aspects of driving fall under its umbrella. 

Being so, you'll find that when you go to the DMV in-person or online, you'll be directed to the DPS for certain requests such as driver's license issuing, renewals, suspensions, and reinstatements. The DPS also conducts vehicle inspector licensing. 

Hit the Road and Save in Texas

Ready to get behind the wheel in the Lone Star state? The first step is to complete your DPS-approved driver's ed courses, which you can conveniently do online with Aceable. If you already have a Texas driver's license but want to save on insurance or are eligible to remove a ticket from your record, Aceable's also offers an online defensive driving course.

Nowadays, you don't have to go into a stuffy classroom to complete driving school. Enroll and complete it all online, on your schedule, from the comfort of home using a mobile device or computer. Then, when it's time to get your license or renew it, you'll head over to the DPS.


Skip The Classroom and Take Your Texas Drivers Ed Course Online with Aceable!

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