What Is the Difference Between the 4-hour Drug and Alcohol Course and Driver's Ed in Florida?

First-time drivers in Florida must pass a drug and alcohol course before they can get a driver’s license. This four-hour course is not the same as a traditional driver's ed course, nor is it optional. It is a compulsory course you must take to qualify for your learner’s permit (if you’re under the age of 18) or driver’s license test (if you’re over 18).

Here’s what the Florida four-hour drug and alcohol course covers and how it differs from a standard driver’s ed course.

The Four-Hour Florida Drug and Alcohol Course

The Florida Drug and Alcohol Course (DATA) is also called the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE). It is a short four-hour course you can complete online. 

Why Does Florida Require Teens to Take a Drug and Alcohol Course?

Underage drinking is a concern across the country. Thinking they're invincible, many teens foolishly get behind the wheel of a car and drive drunk. Statistically, drivers aged 16 and 17 have more car crashes than any other age group, especially when under the influence. 

Florida has over 400,000 teen drivers, and approximately 40,000 teen-related car crashes occur every year. Many teens also underestimate the effects that drugs like marijuana can have on their driving ability. To address the problem, the state of Florida implemented the TLSAE course to educate teens on the effects of intoxicating substances and the dangers of driving under the influence. 

Florida also takes a zero-tolerance stance on underage DUIs. Drivers under the age of 21 caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% can have their license suspended for six months for a first offense or one year for a repeated offense. When convicted of a DUI, the court may also instruct you to complete the drug and alcohol course again. 

What Does the Florida TLSAE Course Cover?

All teens are required to take the TLSAE course. If you are under 18, you must take the TLSAE course first before applying for a learner’s permit. If you’re over 18, you are not required to get a learner’s permit but must still complete a driver’s ed course. 

The drug and alcohol test can be completed online. Aceable’s four-hour TLSAE course covers the following:

  • How drugs and alcohol affect the body

  • The costs of drug and alcohol abuse

  • The dangers of impaired driving

  • Florida’s traffic laws

  • How to practice safe driving

  • Defensive driving skills

Once you pass the test, we will inform the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). As soon as the FLHSMV receives and processes your course certificate, you can head to the nearest DMV branch to take the learner’s permit test or the driver’s test if you’re over 18. 

What Does a Driver’s Ed Course Cover?

In addition to the TLSAE course, you can opt to take an in-class or online driver’s ed course. This can be through your high school’s driver’s ed program or with a driving school. A driver’s ed course is typically longer and teaches the following:

  • How to be a safe and responsible driver

  • Traffic laws and road signs

  • Defensive driving principles

  • Driving under different weather conditions

In addition to the theory, you need at least 50 hours of driving practice with a licensed adult, of which 10 hours must be night driving. Driver’s ed, together with behind-the-wheel driving practice, will adequately prepare you for your Florida learner’s permit and driver’s license tests. 

To make life easier for new drivers, Aceable offers a combined 4-Hour Drug and Alcohol Course and Learner’s Permit Exam package at an affordable price. If you're ready to become a licensed Florida driver, sign up for our convenient combo package here.

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