Understanding Teen Driving Laws in Texas
Getting your license is a big step toward independence. It means freedom, fun, and responsibility. Texas, like many states, is home to a graduated license program. This means there are restrictions placed on young drivers, including passenger limits and curfews. It's important to know the Texas teen driving laws and abide by them if you want to continue to drive in the Lone Star State.
Texas teen driving laws are intended to keep young drivers safe. As you get older, you'll gain additional privileges on the road. Read on to learn about the different types of licenses available to Texas drivers depending on their age.
Step 1: Apply for a Learner License
Before Texas teens can hit the road on their own, they need to get a learner license. Texas teen driving laws allow new drivers to get their learner license when they're 15, as long as they meet all the established license requirements. Drivers who have their learner license are only allowed to drive with a licensed adult who is 21 or older in the front seat. Drivers under 18 are required to have had their learner license for at least six months before they can reach the next rung in Texas's graduated license ladder.
At 15, Texans can also apply for a minor restricted license or "hardship" license if an extenuating circumstance requires them to drive on their own. Qualifying hardships include the illness or disability of a family member, participation in a vocational training program, or "unusual economic hardship."
Step 2: Get Your Provisional License
At 16, Texas drivers can apply for a provisional license. This allows you to drive on your own and gives you more freedom than a learner license, but still comes with several restrictions. It's important to memorize these restrictions and obey them if you want to get a standard adult license when you turn 18.
Unless there's an emergency, Texas teen driving laws prohibit provisional license holders from:
- Driving with more than one passenger who is under 21, excluding family members
- Driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless traveling to or from a school-related function or work
- Driving while using any type of mobile device, including those that are hands-free
In Texas, it's also considered a criminal offense if a driver under 21 is found to have any trace of alcohol in their system. In addition, any minor convicted of buying, possessing, or consuming a tobacco product could have their license suspended.
Step 3: Drive Unrestricted With an Adult License
Assuming you drive safely and follow Texas teen driving laws, you should have no problem graduating to your adult license when you turn 18!