If you live in Texas and are between 18 and 24 years old, you will need to fulfill certain requirements before being issued a driver’s license. If you’re applying for your driver’s license for the first time, for example, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires you to take a six-hour adult education driving course approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
This adult driving course helps drivers, pedestrians, and others who share the road stay safe. Today, it’s not uncommon for young drivers to get their licenses later, some even after their 18th birthday. Some 18-year-olds may or may not have had a learner’s permit, too, making adult driving classes that much more important, says Jacob Smith, program manager for transportation safety at the National Safety Council.
“That age group (18-24) is still really prone to car crashes and there’s a risk that comes with being an inexperienced driver,” Smith said. “There’s also that risk for behavioral issues such as speeding, impaired, or distracted driving, so the need for education is really important.”
If you need to take this adult driving course in Texas, here’s a little glimpse into what you can expect to learn.
Safety Messaging Anchors Course Content
The six-hour driving course Texas requires covers a variety of topics, with safety as its foundational message. Expect to learn about basic right-of-way rules, such as giving the right of way to ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles. The adult driving course goes over a variety of other situations where right-of-way laws apply.
The course also covers traffic control devices — such as markers, signs, and signal devices — found in the state, their purpose, and how they help to enforce safety rules for pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists. In addition, as with the right-of-way section, you can expect to learn about examples or situations where a driver must exercise good judgment when encountering traffic control devices.
These adult driving classes also cover traffic flow, or how pedestrians, vehicles, and transportation infrastructure interact so that vehicles can move safely and efficiently. Perhaps most importantly, the six-hour driving course also examines the effects of drugs and alcohol on your driving abilities. You'll learn about statistics for crashes and deaths linked to drug and alcohol impairment as well as distracted driving. The course also covers how to cooperate with other roadway users and manage risk in potentially dangerous situations.
Online Courses Available, Other Requirements
For added convenience, you can take a TDLR-approved online adult driving class as well. With an online class, you take the course completion exam virtually in lieu of the written test, and you'll get your certificate through snail mail or email.
Keep in mind that if you are a first-time driver’s license applicant between the ages of 18 and 24, you’ll also need to take a road test at a DPS location or a qualified third-party site. You also have requirements before you can take the road test, such as providing proof of identity, residency, and more.
Another sometimes overlooked fact is that the six-hour adult driving course in Texas is not a substitute for the state’s Impact Texas Drivers educational video requirement, which specifically reviews the perils of distracted driving. You still need to view and receive a certificate for either the free one-hour Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD) informational video or the free two-hour Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD) video in addition to taking the six-hour course before you can submit your driver’s license application to the DPS.