Drivers of all ages have a number of laws and restrictions to abide by when they are on the road. However, teen drivers have more laws and restrictions to follow than any other age group, and with good reason. According to the CDC, car accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The additional driving laws Texas teens must adhere to are designed to reduce the number of teen accident fatalities. Both parents and teens alike should fully understand the restrictions placed on teen drivers and the penalties involved with violating a restriction.
What Age Are Teens Allowed To Drive In Texas?
A teen is legally allowed to obtain a provisional license at the age of 16. However, there are steps a new driver must take before earning a license. In an effort to reduce the risks associated with new drivers, all 50 states have adopted a Graduated Driver License program. The program allows teens to earn a license after achieving certain age and experience related milestones.
The Texas Graduated Driver License Program
All individuals younger than 25 years of age are required to complete a driver’s education course. Texas teens can enroll in driver’s ed starting at 14 years of age, but teens can’t apply for a learner’s permit until they are 15. There are three different ways teens can complete the driver’s ed requirement:
- Through courses offered in public schools
- Through an approved private for-profit course
- Through a parent-taught course
Texas law requires that courses include 32 hours of classroom instruction with 30 hours of supervised drive time behind the wheel. As part of the education requirement, teens must also complete the Impact Texas Teen Driver program. As part of that program, teens have to watch an informational video on the dangers of distracted driving and cannot take the driving skills test without a certificate signifying completion of the program.
The next step is studying for the DPS written exam. Teens can prepare for the DPS written exam by studying the Texas Driver Handbook. There are also free practice tests available online. If the test is passed, drivers will be eligible to receive a learner’s permit. A learner’s permit allows a teen to legally drive a motor vehicle as long as a licensed adult is present in the passenger seat. A total of 30 hours must be logged driving with a learner’s permit before a provisional license can be granted. After logging 30 hours, drivers simply need to pass a driving test to receive a provisional license at the age of 16.
Restrictions Placed On Teen Drivers
A provisional license allows a teen to operate a vehicle without the need for adult supervision. However, there are restrictions placed on drivers with provisional licenses. Teen drivers with an provisional license can’t:
- Have more than one passenger under 21 in the car who is not a family member;
- Use wireless communication while driving unless there is an emergency; and
- Drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
Once a teen turns 18, the restrictions are lifted.
Teen Road Safety
The restrictions placed on teen drivers may seem harsh, but studies have shown that teen drivers are involved in more fatal crashes than any other age group. Lack of skills, experience, and immaturity all play a role in contributing to teen accidents. Driver distraction is increasingly one of the largest causes of teen road fatalities. That is precisely why Patterson Law Group offers a scholarship to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Teens that violate any of the restrictions placed on a provisional license may face fines or license suspension if caught. Texas also operates under a Zero Tolerance law for minors. It is considered a criminal offense for any person under 21 to have a detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle on a public road.
Patterson Law Group Is Here When An Accident Occurs
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a teen driver, or your teen has been involved in an accident, Patterson Law Group is here for you. Our attorneys strive to help all those who have been injured in an accident in Texas, regardless of the severity of injuries. We can investigate the accident and build you a strong case that will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Patterson Law Group today by calling (817) 784-2000 or filling out an online contact form to receive a free initial case review.