Did you know that Texas has more summertime teenage driver deaths than any other state in the country? It’s a grim statistic and a strong reminder of the importance of easing young drivers into the responsibility of safe driving.
This is why Texas uses a Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program. It gives young drivers a chance to gain real-world driving experience under a provisional driver’s license before they graduate to a full driver’s license. The provisional driver’s license in Texas is a stepping stone between a learner’s permit and full driver’s license for 16- and 17-year-old drivers. The provisional license allows teens to drive without the supervision of an adult, but it provides legal restrictions in an effort to keep these new drivers as safe as possible during this transition.
Let’s take a closer look at provisional driver’s licenses in Texas.
Who Gets a Provisional Driver’s License in Texas?
If you’re a 16- or 17-year-old Texan who wants to drive, you’re going to need to get a provisional license before you can graduate to your full license when you turn 18. But the Texas Department of Safety (DPS) isn’t just going to hand you a provisional license; you’ll have to earn it.
Here are the eligibility requirements for getting a provisional driver’s license in Texas:
You’ve held a learner’s license for at least six months
You’ve completed Texas driver’s ed (either the parent-taught program or the instructor-taught program)
You’ve got the required 30 hours of supervised driving practice (including 10 hours of driving after dark)
You’ve completed the free two-hour Impact Texas Teen Driver Video Program provided by the DPS
You’ve passed your driving test
What Are the Restrictions of a Provisional Driver’s License in Texas?
So what can and can’t you do with your Texas provisional driver’s license?
Drive with family members in the car, even if those family members are under 21. So if you carpool with a sibling to school, that’s totally okay.
Have one passenger at a time who is under 21 and not a family member. So you and your best friend can go hang out together.
Drive freely between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and midnight.
Drive with more than one non-family passenger under 21.
Drive between midnight and 5:00 a.m. But there are a few exceptions. If you need to drive to or from work or a school function between these hours, you can. And if there’s a medical emergency, you can drive during these restricted hours (like to take someone to the hospital).
Use a cell phone or other device while driving even if it’s hands-free. There is an exception for emergencies.
How Do I Get My Provisional License?
When you meet all the eligibility requirements for your provisional license, you can apply for the license with your local DPS office. You’ll just need to complete the driver’s license application, provide some documentation, pay the DPS fees, and get your photo taken.
Your provisional driver’s license expires when you turn 18. You can make an appointment with your local DPS branch to get your full driver’s license at that point.
Get Started Today!
The first step to getting your provisional driver’s license in Texas is to enroll in your Texas driver’s ed course. With convenient online courses, you’ll be able to study any time from anywhere; all you need is a phone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection. Plus, online courses allow you to work at your own pace so you can meet your driver’s ed requirements quickly. And they’re more affordable than classroom courses!
No need to wait; enroll in your Texas driver’s ed courses online today and get ready to hit the road (safely!).