It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, your teeny tiny baby is about ready to start driving, and that’s a little terrifying. On the other hand, you’ll soon be free of chauffeuring duties, and you’ll have someone to run to the store for you when you’re elbow-deep in canning tomatoes and realize you’re almost out of jars, and that’s truly priceless.
I Drive Safely is a division of eDriving, LLC, which is a leading online driver’s ed provider in the U.S. with over 15 years’ experience in online driver training. Based in Carlsbad, California, they offer two Texas driver education courses for teens: their Texas Education Agency-approved Driver’s Ed and their Online Parent-Taught Driver’s Ed. Both courses cost $99 and adhere to Texas’ requirements for teen driver training. Your child must be at least 14 years old and under the age of 18 to take either course.
Texas TEA-Approved Drivers Ed
This standard, 32-hour course satisfies the first of four steps required to get a Texas driver’s license. If you choose this option, you’ll need to sign up and pay for 14 hours’ worth of behind-the-wheel practice with a certified driver instructor from a licensed driving school in your area, and you (or another licensed driver over 21) will need to provide Junior with 30 hours of supervised driving practice, 10 of which must be at night.
Texas Online Parent-Taught Drivers Ed
If you want to skip the driver school and be the one to teach your child the driving ropes, this is the course you’ll want. You’ll receive a packet with everything you need to be your teen’s driving instructor, including a log book and a lot of helpful tips.
I Drive Safely’s website is well-organized and easy to navigate. It tells you exactly what you need to do, step by step, to complete the course, apply for the learner’s permit, log the driving hours, and get the driver’s license. The website also offers some great resources for both you and your child, from tips for getting the best auto insurance rate to handling car emergencies big and small.
Features of I Drive Safely’s Course
The $99 course fee can be paid online with a Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, or Discover credit or debit card, or you can make the payment over the phone or via Paypal.
The money-back guarantee lets you get a refund, minus an administrative fee, as long as you cancel within 72 hours of signing up, and you can get a prorated refund for unused time up to 6 months after enrolling in the course, as long as the 32-hour course certificate hasn’t been issued.
The course itself is designed to meet the most current Texas Education Agency standards, and it features animations, entertaining videos, audio narration, and other interactive features to keep your teen’s interest and make learning about the rules of the road and safe driving habits fun and interesting.
Texas-based customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email to answer any questions or resolve any technical issues.
How it Works
Once you sign up for the course, your teen will be assigned an instructor who will answer questions and grade the coursework.
The course will take 32 hours to complete. Students are limited to two hours a day of coursework, which means the class can’t be completed in fewer than 16 days.
All assignments are completed online and are graded by the assigned instructor. The course consists of 10 chapters that cover 49 units, including vehicle management, the physics of driving, adjusting to different environments, and alcohol, drugs, and driving. Each unit concludes with an assessment that can be taken as many times as it takes to earn a passing score of 70 percent and move on to the next unit. Additionally, your teen will have to complete 23 drive plan assignments that are graded by the online instructor and given a pass or fail grade. Those who fail can resubmit the drive plan as many times as it takes to pass.
In lieu of a final exam, the final grade will be assessed based on the drive plan assignments and end-of-unit assessments. Once your teen passes the course, a certificate of completion will be sent to either the driving school or the parent teaching the driving portion of the course.
In addition to the coursework, your teen is required to log 7 hours of in-car observation, 7 hours of driving instruction, and 30 hours of supervised practice, 10 of which must be completed at night. If you’ve opted for the course only, you can find a quality driving school through I Drive Safely’s Preferred Partner Network, or you can choose your own. You’ll register the driving school in your My Account Profile area on I Drive Safely’s website.
Texas offers two methods for completing driver’s ed. If you choose the block method, your child will finish the entire 32-hour course before starting behind-the-wheel training. If you choose the concurrent method, your child will complete the first two chapters of the course, get a learner’s license, and do the behind-the-wheel training while completing the rest of the course.
What Others Say About This Course
I Drive Safely has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2003 and enjoys an A- rating based on the length of time they’ve been in operation and the satisfactory resolutions to 127 complaints as of this writing.
Of 17 reviewers on Yelp, 14 gave I Drive Safely’s course a 4- or 5-star rating, one gave it a 3-star rating, and five gave it a one-star rating. The complaints range from not being aware that there’s a 270-day time limit for finishing the course, after which you have to pay $20 a month until it’s done, to complaints about the fact that the coursework consists entirely of reading the screen (which is surely to be expected when taking an online course!) The positive comments mostly relate to how easy the course is to follow and the fact that it’s interesting, convenient, and entertaining.
Reviews on SiteJabber are overwhelmingly negative, mostly due to customers having a great deal of trouble getting ahold of customer service. However, the majority of these reviews are related to I Drive Safely’s traffic violator course and not the Texas online driver’s ed, which features Texas-based customer service rather than support through a national call center.
Rating for I Drive Safely’s Online Texas Driver’s Ed Course
On the positive side, I Drive Safely has over 15 years’ worth of experience providing online driver training, and the price of this course is just about average for online driver’s ed, which ranges from around $60 to over $150. The website is chock full of well organized information about how the course works and the exact steps you need to take to get your teen a learner’s license and driver’s license. The resources section of the site provides a whole lot of valuable information for both you and your teen, neatly organized in a blog and covering anything and everything related to driving. I Drive Safely offers a money-back guarantee, so if you’re unsatisfied, you’ll get at least a partial refund, depending on when you cancel and how much of the coursework has already been completed.
On the negative side, there’s a time limit of 270 days to complete the course, after which you’ll need to pay an additional $20 a month until it’s finished.
All told, I Drive Safely is a reputable company with an entertaining, up-to-date course that can be taken at your teen’s own pace. Therefore, they earn 5 out of 5 stars, making them an above-average option for online driver’s ed in Texas.