The Graduated Driver License (GDL) program was implemented January 1, 2002 to give new drivers the chance to improve their driving skills over time in lower-risk environments.
Phase One (Learner License)
Individuals who are under 18 years of age must hold a valid learner license or aminor restricted driver license (MRDL) (hardship) for a minimum of six months prior to the issuance of a provisional Class A, B or C driver license. Under the GDL program, there is not a minimum time a person must hold a restricted motorcycle or moped license before he/she can apply for a Class M license.
Individuals transferring/presenting a valid out-of-state learner license but not able to provide proof of successfully completing a teen driver education course, will be issued a Texas learner license. This Texas learner license must be held for 6 months or until the age of 18 whichever comes first, regardless of previous time learner license held in another state.
If a learner license is suspended during Phase One, the initial six-month period increases by the number of days of the suspension because the license is invalid during that time. Individuals must also drive additional 30 hours with a license driver 21 years or older. With hours logged into behind the wheel instruction guide.
NOTE: Phase One does not apply to Class M or MRDL holders.
Phase Two (Provisional License)
Phase Two restricts the driving privileges of individuals who are under 18 years of age.
Once the applicant has held a valid learner license or hardship license for a minimum of six months, reached the age of 16, and completed both the classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of driver education, they are eligible to take the driving test for their provisional license and "graduate" to Phase Two of the Graduated Driver License Program.
Individuals at least 16 years of age that transfer/present a valid out-of-state learner license and proof of successful completion of a teen driver education course will be eligible to take the driving test. Upon receiving a passing score on the driving test the minor may be issued a provisional license.
These individuals may not drive a motor vehicle:
With more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not a family member.
Between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the driver to work, to attend or participate in a school-related activity, or due to a medical emergency.
Individuals who are under 18 years of age and obtained their driver license on or after September 1, 2009 are restricted from using a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, until they reach the age of 18, except in the case of an emergency. Source:
Individuals between 18 and 24 years of age are required to complete a driver education course and present the original certificate of completion at the driver license office. A driver education course is not required for individuals who already hold a valid driver license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, or Canadian province or from France, South Korea, Taiwan, or Germany (i.e. countries with license reciprocity agreements with Texas).
When applying for a license, the driving test is required. The knowledge test will be waived if it was completed during the driver education course.
There are two types of driver education for adults:
Six-hour adult driver education course which can be taken in the classroom
Traditional driver education course offered through a driver training school (this course is recommended for individuals who want additional behind-the-wheel and classroom training) Source:
Set aside time for practice.
• Be relaxed and keep your voice calm.
• Give clear feedback immediately and precisely.
• Plan your route before you start; rush hour traffic may not be the best time to practice.
• Know when to talk; a complicated maneuver may require lots of concentration.
• Reinforce the skills taught by the driver education course and have the Texas Driver Handbook available for reference. • Make this time enjoyable and focus on the driving task, leaving other issues for later.
• Reinforce good decision-making that leads to reduced risk driving practices that will last a lifetime.
• Be a role model by wearing your safety belt and using correct driving procedures such as making a complete stop at stop signs, slowing to a stop at yellow lights, and obeying the speed limit, etc.
• Be patient, calm, and alert at all times making positive remarks frequently.
Suggestions Before Beginning Practice
• If possible, instruction should begin in a car with automatic transmission so that your teenager can focus on mastering basic vehicle control maneuvers.
• Select traffic environments that complement the lesson objectives and the teenager’s abilities.
• Begin in a low-risk environment, which includes parking lots and progress to less traveled residential streets.
• Review previous lessons and explain what the next lesson will be before proceeding.
• Keep instructions simple and concise. First direct where to go, and then state the action to take (e.g., “At the next intersection, turn right.”)
• Check mirrors, and the space to all sides and ahead of the vehicle before giving directions.
• Remind the young driver not to panic when approached by an emergency vehicle and to focus on looking for a safe area to pull over.
• Discuss the rules for sharing the roadway with other users including pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles school buses, trains, trucks, animals, etc and explain the risk each one presents.
• Encourage your teenager to change their route to avoid making a difficult left turn.