Getting a driver’s license is an important rite of passage. However, it can also be scary for young and inexperienced drivers to get behind the wheel of a metal machine capable of traveling at high speeds and causing severe accidents. Here is what you need to know about the legal driving age in Texas. 

Age Restrictions For Licensure

Texas law allows people under 18 years of age to obtain a driver’s license, but these licenses are provisional and have restrictions. Teens can use the state’s Graduated Driver License Program to become fully licensed. 

What Is a Learner License in Texas?

With a learner license, the teen driver must be accompanied by a licensed adult. This license allows the teen to practice their driving skills. 

When a teen has a learner’s license, they are subject to the following restrictions:

  • A licensed adult aged 21 or older must always be in the front passenger seat.
  • The driver must not use a cell phone while driving except in case of an emergency.

Requirements to obtain a learner’s license in Texas include:

  • Be 15 to 17 years old
  • Completed six hours of the driver education classroom instruction if using the concurrent method or 32 hours of classroom instruction if using the block method 
  • Be a currently enrolled student or obtained a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a Texas resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have evidence of lawful presence
  • Pass the knowledge exam
  • Pass a vision exam

The driver must hold this license for a minimum of six months unless they turn 18. The learner license automatically expires on the driver’s 18th birthday.

What Is a Provisional Driver License in Texas?

After a teen gets a learner license, they can obtain a provisional license when they are between 16 and 17 years old and complete the following:

  • 7 hours of in-car observation beside the instructor demonstrating certain instruction points
  • 7 hours of in-car observation driving and demonstrating to the instructor they have learned the points of instruction
  • 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice, including at least ten hours at night with a licensed driver aged 21 or older in the vehicle 
  • The driving test
  • The Impact Texas Teen Driver Program within 90 days of taking the skills test

There are restrictions on driving with a provisional license, including: 

  • More than one passenger who is younger than 21 cannot be in the vehicle. 
  • The driver cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless for certain reasons, including for work, a school event, or an emergency.
  • The driver cannot use a cell phone except for an emergency.

The provisional license expires on the driver’s 18th birthday. The driver must renew their license within 30 days of its expiration to obtain a driver’s license for individuals under age 21. 

Accidents Caused By Inexperienced Drivers

When people are newly licensed, they may be more susceptible to getting into car accidents than drivers with more experience. Per mile driven, drivers aged 16 to 19 have crash rates about four times greater than older drivers.

Some factors that can increase the risk of accidents among inexperienced drivers include:

  • Inexperienced drivers have difficulty identifying situations that present hazards.
  • Inexperienced drivers do not have built-up reflexes to avoid dangerous situations while driving that could prevent accidents.
  • Inexperienced drivers may not have as much experience in various driving environments, such as at nighttime or in congested traffic.

Graduated driving programs attempt to curtail these problems, but inexperienced driving accidents can still occur. When a driver is under 18, their parent may be responsible for any accidents they cause.

Hurt in a Crash? Contact Our Burnet Car Accident Lawyers For Help

If you were hurt in an auto accident that was not your fault, contact the Burnet car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – Burnet
205 S Pierce St.
Burnet, TX 78611

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – Houston
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – Katy Freeway
11511 Katy Fwy Suite 515
Houston, TX 77079