As a certified driving instructor, I am often asked about how drivers ed in Texas works since it is a bit different than other states. There are two ways someone under the age of 18 can take drivers ed. You can take what is called Parent Taught Drivers Ed in Texas (PTDE) or you can take Instructor Taught Drivers Ed in Texas (ITDE).
Over the years, parent taught drivers ed has become the preferred option since it provides so much flexibility. While many parents don’t feel comfortable taking the role of “driving instructor”, students typically only spend 14hrs with an instructor anyway and most parent drivers have many years of safe driving experience they can pass along.
There is a bit of a process to signing up for the parent taught drivers ed program in Texas as this program requires a parent to be “approved” as an instructor. It’s easy to get approved, but there’s some paperwork involved. So, let’s explore how this process works.
Parent Taught Drivers Ed Requirements in Texas
As part of Texas’ Parent Taught Drivers Ed requirements, a student must be at least fourteen (14) years old to be eligible to attend the classroom hours. However, they will not be allowed to take the test for a learner license until they are fifteen (15) years old.
A PTDE course consists of at least 76 hours of instruction time. Out of these 76 hours, 32 hours should be in the form of classroom instruction. Note that this part should be completed within 16 calendar days.
The rest (44 hours) will be completed by in-car or behind-the-wheel training. 7 hours should be dedicated to in-car observation, another 7 hours for the actual behind-the-wheel instruction, and the remaining 30 hours will be for driving practice. Out of these 30 hours of driving practice, 10 hours must be done at night.
The in-car instruction must be completed within 44 calendar days, with a maximum of 2 hours of training per day. It’s up to you if you want it to be a full 2 hours worth of classroom instruction or if you want to facilitate 1 hour of classroom instruction and then 1 hour of in-car driving practice.
However, after the classroom hours are complete, the in-car instruction and practice hours will be limited to 1 hour of driving per day.
Keep in mind that you are not allowed to give the in-car driving instruction or practice until the student has been issued a learner license. This is considered unlawful since it means driving without a valid license on a public street or highway.
Meanwhile, those who are qualified to be a student instructor include his/her parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, foster parent, or a legal guardian appointed by a court.
Note that a power of attorney is not considered a legal guardian. Only a parent, legal guardian, or a judge of a court with jurisdiction over the student can designate a person to instruct the course as long as the candidate is at least 25 years old and he/she will not charge a fee for conducting the course. He or she will also need to have at least 7 years of driving experience.
In addition, the instructor must have a valid driver’s license and he or she must have held it for the past 3 years. If he or she has an out-of-state license held during the past 3 years, he or she will be required to provide a copy of his or her driving record that shows the last 3 years of his or her licensed driving history.
Moreover, a qualified instructor must not have a conviction (including a probated sentence) of criminally negligent homicide or of driving while intoxicated in the last 7 years. Having a record of his or her driver’s license being suspended, revoked, or forfeited for traffic-related violations in the past 3 years or getting 6 or more points assigned to their driver’s license will also make him or her ineligible to be an instructor.
The 7 Step Process To Parent Taught Drivers Ed In Texas
Here is a quick general overview of the 7 step process of parent taught drivers ed in Texas. This is just a brief overview, at which point I will get into the details below.
Step 1: Order Your PTDE Packet – You’ll need to print out a packet, fill it out, and send it into the Texas Department of Public Safety along with $20.
Step 2: Sign Up For An Online Drivers Ed Course – Before any driving student can start actually driving, they’ll need to sign up for driving course and complete the first 6 hours. Most students elect to take the course online. I’ll give several available online driving schools below, but this is my top recommended course.
Step 3: Get Your Permit – Grab your birth certificate, social security card, as well as your certificate proving you completed 6 hours of online training so you can go get your driving permit! Woot! You’ll need to complete a total of 44 hours of driving with mom or dad.
Step 4: Finish The Online Drivers Ed Course – Go through the remainder of the training in your online course to learn all about the rules of the road and proper driving safety practices, then take your final exam.
Step 5: Complete The Required Impact Texas Teen Drivers Course – Within’ 90 days of your driving exam, you’ll need to complete a special 2 hour video course on the Texas DPS website.
Step 6: Get Your License – The moment that seems to never arrive really does arrive! You’re ready to head to the DPS where you’ll take your driving test and assuming you pass, you get that all important piece of plastic stating you can drive all by yourself. Woot again!
Step 7: Drive – That’s it! Enjoy your newfound freedom!
So, now that you have a basic overview of the process, let’s get into the details.
Ordering Your Parent Taught Drivers Ed Packet
The very first thing that needs to get done is mom or dad has to fill out a form called the Request For A Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) Program Guide. That request can be made through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation here. Don’t forget to send in $20 with this form or your request will be denied until payment is made.
Once this packet is received, it will explain all of the fine print details for both the student as well as mom or dad. An affidavit and purchase receipt will need to be taken to the DPS office before you can receive your driving permit.
Please be aware that parents must meet the minimum requirements to become an instructor.
Quick Tip: You’re able to receive this packet either through the regular mail or through email. If possible, choose the email option as it only takes a couple of days to get a response, where regular mail can take up to 3 weeks.
Sign Up For An Online Drivers Ed Course
I’ve already shared with you that this is my favorite online drivers ed course, but you have several options available to you. Listed below are 3 of the more popular options in Texas…