Central Park Driving School

(210) 344-4351

FAQ

Driver Education Course Exclusively for Adults (18 - Under 25 Years of Age)

I'm 19 years old and want to get my driver's license. I was told that I might have to take a class. Do they mean a defensive driving class?

No. Starting on March 1, 2010, Texas law will require persons from 18 to under 25 years of age who wish to obtain a driver's license to successfully complete a six hour driver education course exclusively for adults or a complete adult and teen driver education course (32 hours of classroom, 7 hours behind-the-wheel, 7 hours observation). A six hour defensive driving course is specifically for ticket dismissal purposes and/or an insurance discount. It cannot be used for this purpose.

My older sister just turned 25 and wants to get her license too. Will she have to take this class?

No. Anyone 25 or older will not be required to take the class.

What is the course about?

The driver education course exclusive for adults includes information on alcohol and drug awareness; the traffic laws of this state; highway signs, signals, and markings that regulate, warn, or direct traffic; and issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, including poor decision-making, risk taking, impaired driving, distraction, speed, failure to use a safety belt, driving at night, failure to yield the right-of-way, and using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle.

That sounds like a Drug and Driving Alcohol Awareness Program (DADAP) course which I took a couple of weeks ago. I received a certificate for an insurance discount when I finished the course. Can I use that certificate to get my license?

No. A six hour DADAP course may not be used for this purpose.

How much does it cost?

Each school establishes a fee schedule for the costs of their programs. Please contact the schools in your area for prices.

Will the school give me a certificate when I finish?

Yes. The driver education school will give you a certificate which must be presented to DPS when you submit your application for a driver's license.

Where can I find a list of licensed driver education schools that offer this course?

Yes. The schools listed on the following web page designated by (A) offer the course: www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/activede.html. The list is alphabetized by city.

Teenage Driver Education

Is a teenager required to complete a driver education course before receiving a driver license?

Yes. Texas law requires persons under 18 years of age to successfully complete a state-approved course in driver education before they are eligible to receive driver licenses.

Is there more than one method for a teen to complete a Texas-approved driver education course?

Yes. There are three methods of instruction for driver education in Texas: LICENSED DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOLS: The Driver Training Division regulates commercial (licensed) schools and can provide information on the driver education programs provided through them. You can view a list of the commercial DE schools at www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/activede.html. If you have a question about commercial driving schools, you may contact one of our Specialists at at (512) 936-6777 or by fax at (512) 936-6799. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Public schools, education service centers, colleges, and universities may offer driver education programs. You can view a listing of the public schools that have DE programs at www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/publicde.html. Contact Nina Saint at Nina.Saint@tea.state.tx.us or (512) 463-9574 for further information. PARENT TAUGHT DRIVER EDUCATION COURSES: The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for the parent taught driver education program. Parents or legal guardians with an interest in that program may contact the DPS Parent Taught Office in Austin at (512) 424-5623 or (512) 424-5624. You may visit their website at www.txdps.state.tx.us.

How much do the driver education courses cost?

Each school establishes a fee schedule for the costs of their programs. Please contact the schools in your area for prices and payment plans.

How long is the teen driver education course?

Current Requirements: The classroom phase of a driver education course is at least 32 hours (32, 40 or 56 hours in public schools) which cannot be completed in less than 16 days. The in-car phase consists of 7 hours of behind-the-wheel driving plus 7 hours of in-car observation. Licensed (commercial) driver education schools must enter into a contract with the parent and/or student. The contract will specify the timeline to complete the course.Requirements starting May 1, 2010: The classroom phase of a driver education course is at least 32 hours (32, 40 or 56 hours in public schools) which cannot be completed in less than 16 days. The in-car phase consists of 7 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, 7 hours of in-car observation, and an additional 20 hours of behind-the-wheel driving - of which 10 hours must be done at night. The additional 20 hours of behind-the-wheel driving will be monitored by the parent or guardian and are not required to be provided by a licensed driver education school. However, the hours must be completed in the presence of an adult who holds a valid license, is 21 or older, has at least one year of driving experience, and occupying the seat next to the driver. Licensed (commercial) driver education schools must enter into a contract with the parent and/or student. The contract will specify the timeline to complete the course.

What are the contractual timelines and variance policies concerning completion of a teen driver education course?

Specific information on contractual timelines is at www.tea.state/tx.us/drive/DE_Timelines.html.

If a school is approved to offer simulator in-car training, would that reduce the number of actual driving hours required?

Yes, it may. Simulator hours may be exchanged for driving hours at a ratio of 4 to 1, so the driving portion at a commercial school could consist of 12 hours of simulator, 4 hours of actual driving, and 7 hours of in-car observation. Other variations of both classroom and simulator hours are authorized, so discuss the program with the school staff.

If I am absent for a day or two from a commercial driver education school, may I get an excused absence and miss those classes?

No. To obtain a Texas driver license prior to the age of 18, all driver education hours in both the classroom and in-car must be attended or made up. Therefore, all absences must be made up no matter if the absence is excused or unexcused. Each school is responsible for developing a make-up plan based on state guidelines. Contact the driver education school staff to obtain a copy of the make-up policy. Schools must limit the number of absences that are allowed and must require students with excessive absences to re-enter or repeat the course.

I heard that I can now miss one full week (10 hours) of driver education classroom sessions and make them up later. Is that true?

Yes. If you are attending a commercial (licensed) driver education school, the Rules that became effective on April 21, 2005 effectively increased the permissible number of missed hours from 8 to 10, and you could make up those 10 hours at a later date.

I'm 17 and finished a driver education course last month. I'm still driving on my permit. Do I have to take a road test at DPS?

No. If you received your permit before September 1st you are not required to take the road test. Starting on September 1, 2009 any student submitting an application to DPS for a permit or a driver's license must take a road test.

If I start at one driver education school, am I allowed to transfer to a different school?

Normally, yes, but there are exceptions. Transfer of training that you've accomplished at one commercial driver education school can normally be transferred to another school, and you should also receive a partial refund of the tuition and fees not used (less an administration fee). An exception would occur if you have exceeded the timelines for classroom or behind-the-wheel training that were written on your contract with the first school. If that occurs, you may not be permitted to transfer, and you may have to start over again. Please note that DPS expects you to complete a driver education course in the same method that it was initiated. This means that if you start in the Concurrent method of instruction (i.e., simultaneous classroom and in-car instruction after the first 6 hours of class) at a commercial or public school, DPS expects you to complete the course in that method. If you desire to transfer classroom credit from a commercial or public school to the DPS Parent Taught Program with the goal of accomplishing the in-car portion of the course with your parent or guardian, you must start in the Block method of instruction (which means completing the entire classroom portion before starting the in-car portion), and you must finish the classroom portion at the public school or the commercial driver education school before transferring to the Parent Taught Program. If you attempt to transfer only part of the classroom training, you will have to start all over again in the classroom. With regard to transfers between public and commercial schools, you would always be able to transfer the completed classroom activities from a public school to a commercial driver education school in order to complete your in-car training there. However, transfer of partial credit may be more difficult because of the difference in their programs; i.e., 56 hours of classroom requirements in the public school versus 32 hours of classroom requirements in the commercial driver education school.

I started a driver education class in another state before my parents moved to Texas. May I transfer any of those classes to a driver education program in Texas?

It may be possible to transfer some or all of those credits from the other state. You'll need to obtain a letter from the previous school, written on the school's letterhead, identifying the quantity and types of training; i.e., the number of hours of classroom, subjects covered, number of hours in-car, types of driving or observing, etc. It should be signed by the chief school official of that school, and you'll need to present that letter to the driver education (DE) school in Texas that you want to attend. If you have any other questions about transfer from another state to a driver education school in Texas, contact Nina.Saint at (512) 936-6784.

If the commercial driver education school that I am attending closes, do I lose credit for all the training I received as well as my money?

No. There are provisions in law to prevent you from losing the training and to recover some or all of the tuition and fees if a commercial driver education school closes. The contract that you or your parents sign at a commercial school should indicate: "If the course of instruction is discontinued by the school, preventing a student from completing the course, all tuition and fees are then due and payable". The TEA driver training staff will assist you in transferring your credits to another school. Call (512) 936-6777 or send a fax to (512) 936-6799 if you need help concerning a commercial driver education school that has closed.

I've heard that my daughter can complete the classroom phase of driver education at her high school or a commercial driver education school, then we can switch her to the Parent Taught Program so I can teach her the in-car portion. Is that true?

Yes, that can be done but there are requirements. First, your daughter must complete the entire classroom phase before she receives her Permit. This is called the Block mode of instruction, and all of the classroom phase must be completed before any in-car training can be accomplished. Second, she must complete ALL of the classroom phase; that is, she must make up any missed classes before classroom credit can be passed to the Parent Taught Program. Third, you must obtain an official "Transfer" of the classroom hours from the high school or commercial driver education school so that you can prove to DPS that she completed that phase, and that transfer is also used to obtain her Permit. Fourth, you must apply to your local DPS Driver License Office for a Parent Taught packet and receive it before you and your daughter can apply for a Learners Permit at DPS so she can begin the in-car phase with you. Finally, you must complete the requirements as specified in the Parent Taught packet, but you only need to accomplish those that apply to the in-car phase.

I lost the form that I received when I graduated from my driver education class, and I need it to get my driver license (or for my insurance company). Who can I contact to get a duplicate?

The driver education graduation form that you are referring to is the DE-964 or DE-964E, and you'll need to obtain your duplicate certificate from the public school or driver education school that you attended or from your local DPS office if you completed the course via the DPS Parent Taught Driver Education Program. If you are unsuccessful in obtaining the duplicate there, contact one of the people below for assistance. If you completed your driver education training at a public high school, college, university, or service center, contact Nina Saint at Nina.Saint@tea.state.tx.us or (512) 463-9574. Ms. Saint cannot issue a duplicate certificate, but she may be able to contact those who can do so. If you completed your driver education training at a commercial (i.e., licensed) driver education school that has since closed, contact the division at (512) 936-6777 or send a fax to (512) 936-6799. If you completed your driver education training through the DPS Parent Taught Program, you'll need to contact the DPS Office for Parent Taught Driver Education in Austin at (512) 424-5623 or 5624. You'll need to provide your legal name, telephone number, mailing address, driver education school attended, and the approximate starting and ending dates of your driver education course so that the person you contact can accomplish the necessary research and can contact you with those results.

What are the lengths and types of driver education programs offered in Texas?

Current Requirements: Most licensed (commercial) and public school programs are conducted under the Core Program Plan. This program consists of at least 32 hours of classroom instruction, 7 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and 7 hours of in-car observation. Under this plan, a student may receive only local credit for the course. Other public school driver education plans may include the following programs: In-car only program. This program shall consist of at least seven hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and seven hours of in-car observation. Classroom only program. This program shall consist of at least 32 hours of classroom instruction. School day credit program. This program shall consist of at least one class period per scheduled day of school, for a semester (traditional, condensed, accelerated, block, etc.), covering the driver education classroom and in-car program of organized instruction or only the classroom program of organized instruction. This class traditionally consists of at least 56 hours of driver education classroom instruction and, if in-car instruction is provided, must include seven hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and seven hours of in-car observation. Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation. Non-school day credit program. This program shall consist of at least 56 hours of driver education classroom instruction, and, if in-car instruction is provided, must include seven hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and seven hours of in-car observation. Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation. Multi-phase school day or non-school day credit program. This program shall consist of at least 40 hours of driver education classroom instruction, four hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, eight hours of in-car observation, and 12 hours of simulator instruction. Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation. Requirements starting May 1, 2010: Most commercial and public school programs are conducted under the Core Program Plan. This program consists of at least 32 hours of classroom instruction, 7 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, 7 hours of in-car observation, and 20 additional hours of driving (10 hours at night). Other public school driver education plans may include the following programs: In-car only program. This program shall consist of at least 7 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, 7 hours of in-car observation, and 20 additional hours of driving (10 hours at night). Classroom only program. This program shall consist of at least 32 hours of classroom instruction. School day credit program. This program shall consist of at least one class period per scheduled day of school, for a semester (traditional, condensed, accelerated, block, etc.), covering the driver education classroom and in-car program of organized instruction or only the classroom program of organized instruction. This class traditionally consists of at least 56 hours of driver education classroom instruction and, if in-car instruction is provided, must include seven hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and seven hours of in-car observation. Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation. Non-school day credit program. This program shall consist of at least 56 hours of driver education classroom instruction, and, if in-car instruction is provided, must include 7 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, 7 hours of in-car observation, and 20 additional hours of driving (10 hours at night). Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation. Multi-phase school day or non-school day credit program. This program shall consist of at least 40 hours of driver education classroom instruction, four hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, eight hours of in-car observation, and 12 hours of simulator instruction. Under this plan, a student may receive one-half unit of state credit toward graduation.

I'm a 16 year old who just completed the driver education course. Is it true that I can get a discount on my automobile insurance?

Some insurance companies do provide a discount for successfully completing a driver education course; however, insurance companies are not required to give discounts - it's their decision. If an insurance company chooses to give a discount, it is typically up to a 10% on the liability portion of your automobile insurance premium, and the discount may be effective until age 21 for a girl and until age 25 for a boy although those timelines are again at the discretion of the insurance company.

My teen dropped out of high school and has been told that she cannot get a driver license until she is 18. Is that true?

Yes. A Texas law was passed in 1989, requiring that persons under 18 years of age must be enrolled and attending school as a condition of licensing that person to operate a motor vehicle. There was an exception: if the person had a high school diploma or a GED, the driver license could be issued. Proof of enrollment and attendance at a school is established by the Verification and Enrollment of Attendance ("VOE") form which the student can obtain from his or her high school. Additional information is available at www.tea.state.tx.us/safedriver/voe04.html

My son's high school won't give him a signed verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) Form because they say that he missed too many classes. Can they do that?

Yes. The issuance or denial of the VOE Form is strictly a local decision, and districts (or schools) are permitted to impose conditions and restrictions on enrollment and attendance as they pertain to driver license eligibility. More detailed information is provided at www.tea.state.tx.us/safedriver/voe04.html

What is a student's alternative to getting a TEA form from his or her high school during summer months when the high school is closed?

The Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) Form (CDD-104) is set up so that if it is issued the last week of school or during the summer, it is valid for more than the normal 30 days; i.e., until school starts after summer vacation. If your high school will not issue the VOE form in the summer, that is a local decision and TEA cannot override the decision. You as a parent of the school will need to contact the Principal then the Superintendent. If the principal/superintendent will not help you get the form, then go to your school board.

Can I get a copy of the Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form here?

No, you cannot obtain a completed, signed form on the web, but you may download a blank copy of the most recent VOE Form at www.tea.state.tx.us/safedriver/forms/CDD-104Revised0104.doc You must have that form completed by a qualified person at your high school. Your parent may complete that form ONLY IF YOU ARE IDENTIFIED AS A HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENT.

Do you have a list of the currently licensed driver education schools?

Yes. Check our web page at www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/activede.html for a list of the licensed (commercial) driver education schools by city.

Do you have a list of the public schools that teach driver education?

We have a list of the public school districts that offer driver education at www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/publicde.html.

If I have a complaint about a driver education school, who should I contact?

Please submit your complaint in writing to Gaye.Estes@tea.state.tx.us or by fax to (512) 936-6799. Information about the complaint process and various ways to submit a complaint are listed at www.tea.state.tx.us/drive/dsinfo.html#complaints

I paid a lot of money to a driver education school to teach my son to drive, and he graduated with a certificate, but he is NOT an accomplished driver. Do I need to report that school or complain to someone?

You may certainly submit a complaint to this office, and the details for complaint submission are in the answer above. Before you do so though, please understand that the school probably gave your son only the minimum hours of training, and that it is expected for the parent or guardian to drive a substantial number of additional hours with a teen so that the new driver can gain experience. Just as with any new endeavor whether it be tennis, piano, or driving, it takes a lot of practice/experience to become accomplished and successful.

If I have other questions about teenage driver education, who should I contact?

If your question is about commercial driver education schools or general teenage driver education requirements, call and ask to speak to one of the Specialists at (512) 936-6777. If your question is about public school driver education or about Course 101 of the DPS Parent Taught Program, call Nina Saint at (512) 936-6784. Parent-taught questions should be directed to www.txdps.state.tx.us or call (512) 424-5623 or (512) 424-5624.

Do you know of any online driver education courses for teen drivers?

Recent legislation was passed (Senate Bill 858) to allow for an alternative method of instruction for a driver education course; however, at this time there are no online driver education courses approved by the Texas Education Agency.

Do the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) offer any courses for motorcycles?

Yes, DPS offers motorcycle courses. Go to www.txdps.state.tx.us/msb/ for that information.

Who manages the driver training courses for truck drivers?

Most of the vocational driving courses such as truck driving are managed by the Career Schools and Veterans Education Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). They have a webpage at www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/propschools/propphon.html or you can call them at (512) 936-3100.