The Texas driver's license test is administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). It’s a three-part test consisting of a written test, vision test, and driving test. If you’re applying for a driver’s license in Texas, here’s how the process works.
Pass the Written Test
All new drivers in Texas are required to pass a written exam that covers road signs and driving laws. You can start learning for the written test as early as 15 years old. If you are under 25 years of age, you must first take a driver education course at a Texas driving school. The written test consists of 30 questions. You need to answer 21 questions (70%) correctly to pass. To prepare for the test, you can use the Texas Driver Handbook.
Take the Driving Test
Once you've successfully completed a Texas driver’s ed course and passed your written test, you can schedule your Texas driver’s license test at your nearest DPS office. You must be 16 years old, have had a learner’s permit for a minimum of six months, and had at least 30 hours of practical driving experience.
The driving test takes approximately 20 minutes. The examiner will start by doing an inspection of the vehicle to check that it has two license plates, seat belts, a functioning horn, speedometer, head and taillights, brake lights, turn signals, wipers, and a defroster in winter.
You’ll start your test by doing parallel and reverse parking. You are allowed to use a vehicle's back-up camera, but you cannot use an automated vehicle parking function. If your parking test goes smoothly, you’ll proceed to the next part of the test, i.e. driving in traffic.
You’ll Be Scored on These Four Areas:
- Control — Your ability to make your car do what you want it to do.
- Observation — Your ability to see what other traffic is doing and spot things that may create problems.
- Positioning — Your ability to drive in your lane.
- Signaling — Your ability to use turn signals as required.
Your Examiner Will Also Observe the Following:
Proper adherence to road signs and traffic signals.
Use of clutch on a standard transmission.
Navigating an intersection.
How you take a turn. A wide turn that takes the car across into the oncoming lane will disqualify you.
Your understanding of right-of-way.
Following, passing, and proper lane observance.
How you handle a quick stop. You may be asked to stop the car as quickly as possible at about 20 mph without skidding your tires.
If both hands are on the steering wheel.
You Will Fail the Test if You:
Violate the law.
Refuse to follow instructions.
Drive dangerously or crash the car.
Have 30 points deducted on the driving test.
When Will I Receive The Results?
The examiner let you know right away if you passed or failed and provide feedback on your driving strengths and weaknesses. If you didn't pass, you can retake the test two more times within 90 days. If you don’t redo the test in 90 days or if you've failed your second and third attempt, you'll have to file a new application and pay the application fee again.
Penalties for Driving Without a License in Texas
Don’t be tempted to drive without a license in Texas. Sergeant Brian Catlett of the Dallas Police Department says, “Driving without a license or with an invalid license is considered a misdemeanor in Texas. For a first and second offense, you'll be fined up to $200. A third offense carries a fine of up to $500 and can land you in jail for up to six months. If you've caused an accident that seriously injured or killed someone, that’s a Class A misdemeanor. You could face a fine of up to $4,000 or jail time for up to one year, or both”.
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