There’s a lot to love about the prospect of driving along Texas’ beautiful, open roads, but before you do, you’ll need to ensure that you’re legally able to do so by first acquiring a driver’s license. This is the document that grants your permission to operate a motor vehicle.
All states have their own legal requirements for obtaining a driver’s license, and Texas is no different. In this blog, we’ll run through the different types of Texas drivers license available and the process of getting them.
Texas Driver’s License Requirements
As we mentioned above, there are various Texas driver’s licenses available. The one that you need will depend on various elements, most notably your age. For instance, if you’re aged 15-17, then you’ll need a Learner License in order to get behind the wheel.
But let’s skip forward a little and focus on the requirements for getting a Non-Restricted Class C Driver’s License, which is the main license that the majority of driving Americans have.
For that, the state of Texas requires proof of the following:
- U.S. Citizenship
- Texas Residency
- Your identity and social security
- Texas Vehicle Registration and proof of insurance for all vehicles you own (if you own any).
Steps to Getting a Texas Driver’s License for Teens
You can’t get your full driver’s license until you reach 18. But you begin the journey much earlier, at 14, at which point you can get to work on completing the classroom phase of your driving education. Once you’ve done that, you can get your Learner’s License. After six months of holding that license, you can apply for your Provisional License.
Phase I: Learner’s License / Instructional Permit
A learner’s license allows you to drive a vehicle for learning purposes if you’re accompanied by an adult aged 21 or over, provided they have at least one year of experience in driving, they are sitting in the passenger seat, and they are not intoxicated or asleep. Think of it as the license that allows one of your parents to teach you how to drive.
Phase II: Provisional License
A provisional license is available to people aged 16 – 17 who have held a learner’s license for at least six months. Additionally, the driver must have completed various parts of their driving education, including:
- Seven hours of sitting beside a driving instructor, who will demonstrate various safety and operational aspects.
- Seven hours of driving accompanied by an instructor, who will observe that their driving lessons have been taken onboard.
- Thirty hours of driving, at least ten of which must have been at night, accompanied by an adult aged 21 or over in possession of a full driver’s license.
You can’t have more than one non-family passenger under 21 in the car while you drive with this license, cannot drive between midnight and 5 am, and cannot operate any sort of device, even hands-free options.
Phase III: Your Non-Restricted Class C Driver’s License
Once you’ve met the requirements of your provisional license, you’ll be able to upgrade to the non-restricted class c driver’s license once you reach eighteen. This is the “full driver’s license,” with which you’ll have complete freedom of the roads.
Texas Approved Driver Education Course
You’ll need to complete a driver education course before getting behind the wheel. Some schools offer this service, while it’s also possible to have your parents teach you if they meet the criteria. However, the most common method to meet this requirement is by taking a course with a driving training school, such as Champions Driving School.
IMPACT Teen Course
You’ll also need to complete the IMPACT Teen Course program before getting your license. This is a free, two-hour video course which you can take at home.