It may be a little unsettling that your baby is ready to start learning to drive – where does the time go? – but soon, your chauffeuring duties will be a thing of the past, and that’s a pretty exciting prospect.
Your first order of business is to find a stellar driver’s ed course and an A-list driving instructor to provide the best possible training. If you’re up for the task, the best way to ensure your child is in the most capable hands is to make yourself the instructor. That’s right, you can be the instructor, thanks to Safe2Drive’s Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education program.
Safe2Drive is operated by Inventrum, LLC, which was founded in 2003 and provides online defensive driving, traffic safety, and driver’s ed courses in 11 states. Safe2Drive’s Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE) Course is approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Read on to find out how Safe2Drive’s course stacks up against the competition.
First Things First: What is Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education?
The State of Texas allows a child’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, foster parent, or legal guardian to teach driver education as long as the parent instructor meets the state’s requirements.
To opt for PTDE, your child must be between the ages of 14 and 17, and the course must be completed before your teen’s 18th birthday.
Features of Safe2Drive’s Parent-Taught Driver Education Course
Safe2Driver’s PTDE course costs a reasonable $84.95. Similar online courses range from $60 to over $150. The fee includes the 32-hour online course your teen is required to take, along with everything you’ll need to provide the behind-the-wheel instruction portion of the course. It doesn’t, however, include the $20 PTDE packet, which you’ll need to order from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
You’ll pay for the course after your child completes the first six hours of instruction, which is required before applying for a learner’s license. Safe2Drive promises no hidden fees, and they won’t sell your information to any third parties. The site is fully encrypted to protect your personal information, and your email will be used only to communicate with you regarding the course.
You’ll need a desktop or laptop computer with Internet access, since this course isn’t available on mobile devices.
Safe2Drive offers a money back guarantee, but there’s no information on the website about it. Chances are, a refund will be offered only if the online course hasn’t been completed.
Customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email, and it’s based in Texas.
How Safe2Drive’s PTDE Course Works
After you register your teen for the course, you’ll need to order your PTDE packet from the Texas Department of Public Safety. A link to the proper form is provided when you register for the course. You must wait until you receive the packet from the DPS, either by U.S. mail or email, to begin the course.
Voice Verification System
At the time you register, your teen will be prompted to call in to Safe2Drive’s voice verification system, as required by the State of Texas, to store a voice print. At certain times throughout the course, your teen will be prompted to call into the system and repeat a phrase to ensure that the person who is registered for the course is the one who is taking it.
Once your teen has taken the first six hours of the course, you’ll pay for the course, and Safe2Drive will issue a completion certificate for that portion so that your teen can apply for a learner’s license. That’s when the real fun begins as you follow the instructions in the Safe2Drive Driver Education Packet to provide behind-the-wheel training, which will be completed in conjunction with the remaining 26 hours of online instruction.
The course itself is designed with teens in mind and includes engaging lessons with interactive exercises, animations, videos, slideshows, and games.
Each lesson ends with a 5-question quiz. A score of 4 out of 5 is required to move on to the next lesson, and quizzes can be taken as many times as it takes to pass.
While your teen can progress through the course at his own pace, Texas law only allows up to two hours of online coursework per day, which means it can’t be completed in fewer than 16 days.
After completing all of the chapters, your teen will take the final exam, which consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. Three attempts are allowed to pass the final exam with a score of at least 70 percent.
Three fails, and you’ll have to start the course over from the very beginning – including paying full price again for the course and paying another $20 for a new Texas PTDE packet.
This course includes everything your teen will need in order to apply for a Texas driver’s license. Concise, step-by-step instructions will guide you through every step of the course from the time you register until the online lessons and driving portion of the course are completed and your tiny little baby – seriously, how does it happen so fast? – is ready to get a driver’s license.
What Others Say About This Course
While Safe2Drive isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, its parent company is, and they enjoy an A+ rating with zero complaints filed.
Out of 69 reviews on Yelp, 51 reviewers gave Safe2Drive five stars, and 14 gave them four stars. Three reviewers gave the company three stars, and one disgruntled student gave them one star for “idiotic games, stupid stories, and audio that made me want to chew my own arm off.”
While the majority of these reviews are for Safe2Drive’s traffic violator course, the high level of enthusiasm for the company is a good sign for anyone interested in any of their online driving courses.
Rating for Safe2Drive Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education
The price of Safe2Drive’s course is very reasonable, compared to the typical fee of $99, although you can find courses for less. However, with over 12 years of experience providing online users with driver training, Safe2Drive is one of the more established driving schools, and it doesn’t hurt that they offer 24-hour, Texas-based customer service.
It’s also nice that you don’t have to pay for the course until your child completes the first six hours, and the clear, step-by-step instructions for completing both the online coursework and the driver training portion take the confusion out of any red tape involved.
This course can’t be taken on mobile devices like a phone or tablet, which limits your teen’s ability to work on lessons while on the go, but it’s compatible with both Mac and PC desktops and laptops.
There’s a money back guarantee for this course, but the website provides no information about it. We know for sure that it doesn’t extend to dissatisfaction stemming from failing the final exam, since Safe2Drive makes it clear that if your teen doesn’t pass the final, you’ll need to re-enroll and pay again for both the course and the $20 Texas PTDE packet.
The good: Reasonable price and 24-hour, Texas-based customer service.
The bad: Questionable money-back guarantee and incompatible with mobile devices.
Rating: An above-average four out of five stars.
Although it isn’t available in all states, DriversEd is approved in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This makes it a bit more accessible than First Time Driver.
Using interactive features such as 3D simulations and games to check your learning, you get first-hand experience while doing coursework.
You also get unlimited practice tests with the course, increasing your chances of passing the final exam!
Another online driving school with a stellar reputation is iDriveSafely. Their driver’s ed course is divided into eight chapters. Each one centers on a single topic, so you only have to focus on one thing at a time.
iDriveSafely uses interactive lessons to help you learn the material, such as 3D graphics, animations, and slideshows.
To officially pass the course, you have to get at least an 80% in their 50-item test. If you don’t pass it on your first try, don’t sweat it – iDriveSafely gives you unlimited retakes.
Unlike First Time Driver, iDriveSafely doesn’t offer a separate exam prep option. Their driver’s ed automatically comes with a free 50-item DMV practice test. You can even upgrade it to a 100-item practice test to make sure you’re ready for the real thing.
If you’re from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, or Virginia, you’re in luck – iDriveSafely is approved there!