New Drivers' Education Requirements Start May 1

Beginning May 1, anyone enrolling in a driver education course will be required to complete an additional 20 hours of behind the wheel instruction, including 10 hours of night-time instruction.

This training is in addition to the 32 hours of classroom training, seven hours of behind-the-wheel training and seven hours of in-car observation/practice that are already required.

The provision applies to applicants enrolling in a minor or an adult driver education course, a driver education course conducted by a school district or a Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE) course. This provision does not apply to persons enrolled in the new six-hour adult education course required for first-time applicants between the ages of 18 and 24.

The additional hours were required under HB 339, which passed in the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature.

Texas Education Code §1001.101(b)(3) provides that the driver education (DE) course must require the student to complete 20 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction in the presence of an adult* meeting the following requirements of Section 521.222 (d) (2):

• hold a license that qualifies the operator to operate the type of vehicle used for the instruction and
• be 21 years of age or older and
• have at least one-year driving experience and
• occupy the seat next to the driver

*An adult may include a commercial school instructor, parent-taught driver education instructor or any adult meeting the requirements of Section 521.222 (d) (2).