Driver Education

Turning your teen into a safe driver is a complex task. Part of the process involves learning the rules of the road and how to safely operate a vehicle – two big areas where professional driver education and training can help tremendously.

Quality driver education provides a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that can help mold a safe driver. It can also help preserve your relationship with your teen, as even very skilled and safety-conscious parents might not have the time or temperament to be the best teacher.

Choosing a Quality Driving School

When the time comes to pick a driving school, look beyond your budget and timeframe to seek out a quality driving school—one that focuses on your teen’s safety, not just passing the license test at the cheapest price.

  • Ask around. Does your local high school offer driver education? Check with friends and neighbors about driving schools they’ve used.
  • Call several driving schools. Ask questions about the quality of their operations, and ask for references.
  • Talk to people about classroom vs. online classes.
  • Visit several driving schools. Ask to sit in on a session, take a look at the vehicles and student materials. Check to see if they use current training materials, have professional instructors and maintain clean classrooms and safe vehicles.
  • Focus on quality. Don’t settle for driving schools that advertise quick or easy programs.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau.

 

Quality Driving Schools Requirements for Schools Displaying the AAA Symbol
Require instructors to complete ongoing education. Newer, well-maintained driver training cars.
Have reasonable student-teacher ratios. Up-to-date training materials.
Are members of professional associations such as American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association and Driving School Association of the Americas. Professionally trained instructors.
Want, encourage and facilitate parental involvement. A record of good business practices.
Have a solid history of resolving complaints to their customers' satisfaction. Discounts to AAA members.

 

Teens under age 18 wishing to obtain a driver’s license must present a Driver Education Student Completion Certificate and a Behind-the-Wheel Student Completion Certificate prior to scheduling the mandatory road test. To obtain a driver education student completion certificate, a student must complete a classroom course. The classroom phase of a driver education course is at least 32 hours, which cannot be completed in less than 16 days. The student completion certificate for the driving laboratory component requires 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training and 7 hours of in-car observation with a DOT certified instructor. Additionally, parents are required to provide the student with 30 hours of supervised driving practice, with 10 of those hours taking place at night.

The Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE) program became law in 1997 as an alternative to driver education in a conventional school setting. This program allows teens to take their driver education course online (with DPS-approved providers) and allows parents to provide the in-car driver training. In order to participate in PTDE, the parent must first submit a Request for Parent-Taught Driver Education Packet from the Department of Public Safety.

View a list of Texas Department of Public Safety-approved driving courses.