When it comes to raising your children and supplying them with all the wisdom and tools they need to get out in the real world (where they can succeed and fail all on their own), there are a few challenges along the way. One of those is the dreaded process of teaching your kids to drive and navigating the Drivers Education system.
When I was a teenager, it was simple. You signed up for Drivers Ed through your school, your dad took you driving, you passed the class and the rest was teenage history. However, today it’s far from that easy and the training options and timeline of the process can get a little confusing at times. After going through it twice now, I think I’m a pro… Maybe.
The Road from Learner’s Permit to Driver’s License
In the state of Texas, new drivers can and must retain a Learner’s Permit before they can obtain a state-issued Driver License. A teenager can get a permit once they turn 15, as long as they’ve met all the state requirements. New drivers who have their learner’s permit are only allowed to drive with a licensed adult who is 21 or older in the front seat.
New drivers that are under 18 are required to have had their permit for at least six months before they can obtain a driver’s license. Teens must complete at least the first 6 hours of a 32-hour TDLR-approved Texas driver’s education course in order to apply and receive their permit. Once they have the permit, they’re ready to begin logging driving hours toward completion of their driver’s education training.
For driver’s education, there are a few different options but one thing remains the same wherever you choose to learn – the number of hours you must log behind the wheel.
Types of Driver’s Ed in Texas
In Texas, driver’s education is mandatory if you’re a first-time driver 24 years old and younger. To complete driver’s ed in Texas, you must be at least 14 years old (although you cannot apply for your Learner’s Permit until you turn 15.)
While parent-taught driver’s education is an option, the voice of experience suggests that you keep it simple. Find an approved course in Frisco, pay the fee and get your driver on the road with a certified instructor who understands the process well.
The vast majority of Frisco parents that we’ve talked to advise parents NOT to attempt this on their own. With so many emotions involved, the parent-taught route can be a stressful experience between a parent and their child. Having your kid get in the car after class to complain about instructor is much easier to support than having your child yell at you in nervous frustration when you tell him/her to go easy on the brakes.
Having said that, there are resources and guidance available for those who prefer that route, as well as a “Parent Taught vs. Driver’s Ed Course” guide which may help you identify the best decision for your family.
Whichever option you choose, parents recommend that you do not switch mid-course. The DPS doesn’t like it…and things will be much smoother if you stick with one path or the other.
Obtaining a driver’s license can be a very fun and exciting milestone for both the parent and their child, but a bit stressful for everyone as well. Allow me to break the process down for you, below. To begin, know that whichever direction you choose, depending on the learner’s age, there are different requirements.
Under 18 Years Old
Th Driver’s Ed course must include:
- At least 32 hours of classroom instruction. (This must be completed over at least 16 days.)
- 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training. (These hours must include 7 hours of in-car observation, 10 hours of night driving.)
18 to 24 Years Old
The Driver’s Ed course must include:
- 6 hours of classroom instruction (can be completed online).
- 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training; not required if enrolled in an adult Driver’s Ed course. (These hours include 7 hours of in-car observation, 10 hours of night driving.)
- You are also required to take an Impact Texas Driver course.
Usually, when a teenager or parent first reads about the required hours involved in obtaining a permit, they respond with, “How do I complete and log all of these hours??” My advice is to make this complicated yet very important chore as easy as possible for you and your new driver by enrolling in a formal, instructor-led course.
Once you complete your Texas Driver’s Ed course, your course provider will provide you with a Certificate of Completion (Form DE-964) that you’ll need to bring to a Texas DPS office when you apply for your license.
Driving School of North Texas
I highly recommend Driving School of North Texas because they’re very easy to work with and I honestly can say from personal experience that the experience is pretty painless. They have two locations in Frisco and a few others in surrounding cities. Their website offers a lot of helpful information for each stage of the learner’s process, including a Parent Taught vs. Driver’s Ed guide, how to prepare for your driving test, a link to the permit application form, and more. The school tracks and logs all hours for you, and they offer a lot of days and times to fit everyone’s schedule.
Not only do they teach new drivers the Texas Driving Laws, but the program incorporates alcohol awareness, defensive drive procedures, distracted driving awareness, and more. Visit their user-friendly website to enroll your student as well as to check availability for classes.
Sears Driving School
Conveniently located inside Sears at Stonebriar Centre, Sears Driving School is s fully certified to teach driving education and has completed both criminal background and driving record checks on all instructors. They’re dedicated to creating safe drivers by providing a quality education and experience while keeping the learning process convenient and enjoyable.
Simply register on their website, and select the upcoming course that works best for your schedule.
Right Start Driving School – Carrollton
Although outside of Frisco, one advantage of Right Start Driving School is they’re authorized by DPS to give the official teen and adult driving tests. Some Frisco parents have said it’s easier to schedule the test there and far less complicated than going to the DPS office. Bonus, if you attended another driving school or were parent-taught, you can still take your road test with Right Start.
For those who choose the parent-taught route, Aceable is a highly recommended option for online support, tracking hours and receiving a completion certificate.
The Road to Driving Independently
Once the new driver has their permit, on to the next stage of the new driving adventure…getting their license and becoming an official Texas Driver!
The process has a lot of little steps and a lot of waiting in line, so make sure you read and understand what needs to be completed before you arrive at the DPS. If you’re missing anything or don’t have the proper paperwork filled out, you’ll be moved to the back of the line to start over. That could mean another whole day of waiting in line, putting more stress on the parent and the new driver.
Make sure you visit the DPS website to see all the requirements and make a checklist so you’re 100% sure that everything is in order.
This major milestone in a teenager’s life can be stressful for many parents and for most new teen drivers, however, knowing what to expect before you begin this journey can ease some of the anxiety. Talk to other parents who have been down this road already, and ask as many questions as you need to feel confident about the process. If you’ve been through this process already, please leave a comment below with your advice and local referrals!
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