What Is the Florida Drug and Alcohol Test About?

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If you want to obtain a learner’s permit in Florida, you must complete the 4-hour Drug and Alcohol Course as part of the state’s requirements. Approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV), and also known as the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) program, the course is designed so you can complete all of it online.

What Is on the Drug and Alcohol Test in Florida?

The course, using text and video, offers a comprehensive overview of how drugs and alcohol affect a person’s driving abilities. The material covers not only the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs but also the effects of driving when you take prescription or over-the-counter medications.

You will learn all you need to know for the test by simply taking the class, which is available in both English and Spanish.

The six chapters focus on:

  • Drugs, Alcohol, and Your Body

  • The Cost of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

  • Impaired Driving

  • Florida Traffic Laws

  • Vulnerable Road Users

  • Defensive Driving Skills

After finishing the 4-hour Drug and Alcohol Course, you'll take the completion test. This consists of 40 questions, and you must get the correct answer on at least 80% of them — 32 questions — in order to pass.  Questions consist of multiple-choice and true/false answers.

Who Can Take the Test?

In Florida, the minimum age to apply for a learner’s permit is 15. While the bulk of those taking the TLSAE consists of high school students, successful completion of the course is necessary for some other parties. 

Aaron Keller, the Communications Director for the FDHSMV, explains that drivers who have never held — or do not have in their possession — a driver's license from any other state, country or jurisdiction, cannot apply for a Florida license until successfully completing a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course. 

However, there may be a way for some drivers to get around this with the help of Driver Education Licensing Assistance Program courses. Every school is different, though, so it's important to contact your local school board to learn if this will satisfy the requirements.

TLSAE tests are also important for teen drivers who have been caught driving under the influence. All drivers under 21 who are caught with a blood-alcohol level of .02 to .05 can take a TLSAE course to get a hardship license. This isn't their normal driver's license; they'll only be allowed to drive to and from work.

Importance of the Florida Drug and Alcohol Test

The good news is that, overall, drunk driving statistics have fallen in the Sunshine State in recent years. It is likely that the mandatory TLSAE played a role in this drop. That was its original purpose when the program began back in the 1990s because so many accidents involved teens behind the wheel. Back then, the course was not available online, and students had to take a formal, in-class test.

The bad news is that roughly one-quarter of all motor vehicle accidents in Florida still involve driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. That is just one reason why new drivers must learn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol before acquiring a learner’s permit.  The information is vital and may save your life once you are behind the wheel.