Driver Education and Safety

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News and Updates

Proposed Administrative Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation proposes a new rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter A, §84.3; and amendments to existing rules at Subchapter C, §84.44 and §84.45; Subchapter D, §84.50; Subchapter L, §84.400; Subchapter M, §§84.500-84.506; and Subchapter N, §84.600, regarding the Driver Education and Safety Program.  The proposed rules complete the implementation of House Bill (HB) 105, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019), by requiring the curriculum of a specialized driving safety course to include information relating to methods of safely operating a motor vehicle near an oversize or overweight vehicle. The proposed rules also implement a recommendation by the Curriculum Rules Workgroup and Department staff to transfer rule text related to course content and minimum instruction requirements for driver training courses to Department created program guides for use by licensees.

The proposed rules were published in the April 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2641).  The program guides proposed to be adopted by reference were published in the April 30, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2919). The Department will accept comments on the proposal until May 31, 2021.

The Department encourages anyone interested in the Driver Education and Safety Program to review the rule proposal online. A copy of the program guides online may be reviewed at the Texas Register.  Comments may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website.

Rule Review Adoption Justification

At their meeting held March 3, 2021, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted the rule review of 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 84, Driver Education and Safety, effective March 15, 2021.

The rule review adoption was published in the March 26, 2021 issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2050).

TDLR encourages all persons interested in the Driver Education and Safety program to review the rule review adoption.

Governor’s Executive Order Regarding Masks and Business Capacity

The Governor’s Executive Order removes state-imposed restrictions on business capacity and masks. Effective Wednesday, March 10, there are no COVID-19 related operating limits for any business or other establishment.

Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person who does not live in the same household. (Please note that counties in trauma service regions with hospitalization rates above 15% for 7 days can implement other requirements.)

According to the Governor's executive order, nothing prevents businesses – including hair, esthetician and nail salons, lash salons, barber shops, barber or cosmetology schools, laser hair establishments or massage establishments – from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including wearing a mask.

Driver Education schools may choose to require employees or students to wear masks and to social distance.

The order also strongly encourages all Texans to use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the DSHS health recommendations.

Update for Parents/Students Affected by the Closure of the Sears Driving School

SSES, INC DBA Sears Driving School, (Sears) (CO186) permanently closed on Sept. 8, 2020, adversely affecting more than 900 students. The school had locations in Arlington, Hulen, Humble, Houston, and Mesquite. 

Our first priority is to provide answers to your questions. The Education and Examination Division is focused on assisting you by issuing Verification Letters based on student records received from the school, as well as providing information about other paths to accessing another driver education curriculum.

In order to assist your student in finding alternate driver education curriculum, we have compiled a list of driver education schools that have expressed interest in accepting displaced students. You may also find a complete list of licensed driver education schools and parent-taught course providers on the TDLR website. You should be aware that when enrolling in another program, you may be required to pay for those services.

We have been asked about the possibility of refunds for the cost of the tuition paid to the school. Sears’ letter of credit expired on December 12, 2020. We are not aware of another regulatory avenue to access refunds. We would recommend that you seek your own private legal counsel to discuss your rights in this matter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding driver education school closures can be found on the website, in an effort to provide information to all students and answer your questions.

Please note that any records older 9/8/17 will not be available and the student will need to retake a driver education course if they are under the age of 25.

If you have not received your student’s Verification Letter, please email TDLR at des@tdlr.texas.gov. Your email must include the following:

  1. Student’s Full Name;
  2. Parent’s Full Name;
  3. The address of the Sears location at which the student attended; and
  4. The date the student was enrolled with Sears.

Schools Accepting Displaced Sears Students

The following schools have contacted TDLR about the possibility of enrolling displaced Sears students in their programs. You may contact these schools individually to discuss the enrollment options which may be available to you. You may also view a list of all Driver Education Schools and Parent Taught Course Providers licensed by TDLR by using the license search tool available here: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/DESSearch

ARLINGTON LOCATION

Austin Driving School, 4004 Little Rd Ste 100, 512-280-4499

Austin Driving School, 2325 North Davis, 817-561-0002

MT Driving School, 3201 E Pioneer Pkwy Ste 35, 832-640-9567

AK2 Drive Driving School, 3201 E Pioneer Pkwy Ste 35, 817-382-2356

HULEN LOCATION

First Class Driver, 4255 Bryant Irving Rd Ste 105, 817-731-0200

Austin Driving School, 3401 Altamesa Blvd Ste 148, 817-292-5666

HUMBLE LOCATION

Elite Driving School, 2325 Atascocita Rd Ste E 103, 281-446-2608

3-Way Instruction, LLC 8530 FM 1960 Rd E Ste 114, 118, 119, 281-764-5113

Life Saver Driving School, 9156 Will Clayton Pkwy, 713-633-6614

SafeWay Driving, 9319 Katy Freeway, Houston 77024, 844.DRIVE.SAFE

MESQUITE LOCATION

Cypress Creek Driving Academy, 10540 Cypress Creek Pkwy Ste B, 281-477-7630

Aacurate Driving School, 5228 Gus Thomasson Rd., Mesquite, Texas 75150, 972-613-0288

Sears Driving School Closure

Sears Driving School closed its primary and all branch locations on September 8, 2020.

Verification Letters have started going out for the following schools:

  • C0186; located at 3871 South Cooper; Arlington Tx 76015 (Parks Mall)
  • C0186B; located at 4900 S Hulen St; Hulen TX 76132
  • C0186E; located at 20131 Highway 59, Humble TX 77338 (Deerbrook Mall)
  • C0186H; located at 3000 Willowbrook Mall; Houston TX 77070 (Willowbrook Mall)
  • C0186N; located at 2063 Town East Mall; Mesquite TX 75150

If you have not received your child’s Verification Letter, you may send an email to des@tdlr.texas.gov. Your email must include the following:

  1. Student’s Full Name
  2. Parent’s Full Name
  3. The address to the Sears location the child attended

Please continue to check back, as the website will be updated with additional information. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Texas Driving Schools May Operate at 75% of Occupancy

On October 13, 2020, the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas issued updated minimum standard health protocols for Texas driving schools, allowing them to increase operations from 50% to 75% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction. Driving schools must ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between students and instructors, except when receiving in-car instructions or participating in a DPS road test.

Driver training schools should review the minimum standard health protocols created by the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas.

For questions about reopening, schools can contact DES@tdlr.texas.gov.

Commission Adopts Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter A, §84.1 and §84.2; Subchapter C, §§84.40 – 84.42 and §§84.44 – 84.46; Subchapter D, §84.51 and §84.52; Subchapter E, §§84.60, 84.62, and 84.64; Subchapter F, §84.70 and §84.72; Subchapter G, §§84.80 – 84.82 and 84.84; Subchapter H, §84.90; Subchapter J, §84.200; Subchapter K, §§84.300 – 84.302; Subchapter M, §§84.500 – 84.506; and Subchapter N, §84.600; new rules at Subchapter C, §84.43; Subchapter G, §84.85; Subchapter I, §84.103; Subchapter M, §84.507; and Subchapter N, §84.601; and the repeal of existing rules at Subchapter C, §84.43; and Subchapter N, §84.601, regarding the Driver Education and Safety Program (DES). The adopted rules implement three separate rulemaking initiatives: (1) implement House Bill 2847, Article 2, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019); (2) address the need to update course curriculum requirements to complete the second phase of the Department’s reorganization and clarification of the rules, following the transfer of the DES program to the Department in 2015; and (3) implement recommendations of the DES Fees and Curriculum Workgroups pertaining to reducing program fees and course curriculum changes.

The adoption justification was published in the August 28, 2020, issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 6069). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of September 1, 2020.

Information Related to Rule Upcoming Changes

The following information is related to the upcoming rule changes effective September 1, 2020.

Have all fees been updated?

Most fees have been updated. For specific fee information, please see Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter K. Fees.

What changes have been made for Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) course providers related to issuing certificates?

PTDE course providers must receive proof the student has completed Module One or the approved parent taught driver education before issuing the “For Learner License Only” or “For Driver License Only” portion of the DE-964.  

What changes have been made for Driver Education Schools?

Schools that elect to operate using only an Alternative Method of Instruction program are no longer required to maintain a brick and mortar facility for students.

With the removal of the Teacher of Record, who is responsible for signing student records?

The signature and license number of the instructor conducting the course shall appear at least once on the forms and, if applicable, a licensed Supervising Teacher, Driver Education Teacher, or school owner shall sign or stamp all completed classroom instruction records.  

Have the requirements to become a Supervising Teacher, Driver Education Teacher, or Teaching Assistant changed?

Yes, you can review the new licensing requirements in rule under Texas Administrative Code, Section 84.44.

Can I advertise my new driver education school before my license has been issued?

Advertising for a new school is limited to posting a notice that states “Driving School Coming Soon” and displaying a functional phone number and email address. You CANNOT publish advertisements that contain the school name or upcoming class sessions prior to obtaining your school license number.

Where can I find the changes in the minimum required time for courses?

Times for all courses can be found under Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter M. Curriculum and Alternative Methods of Instruction. 

Where can I find the course information for the Driving Safety Course for Drivers Younger than 25 Years of Age?

Course information may be found under Texas Administrative Code 84.507.

Face Coverings During the COVID-19 Disaster

Effective Immediately, all driving school employees and customers must wear a face covering (over the nose and mouth) wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another individual not in the same household.

All driving schools should follow the revised minimum recommended health protocols established by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

Update to Class C Road Rules Test

Effective June 10, 2020, the Texas Department of Public Safety has updated the Class C Road Rules Test (DL-11/DL-11s). Due to the repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program, questions 39, 64, 66, 83, and 91 have been replaced with distracted driving questions. DPS General Stores is ordering the updated version for its stock. All driver education schools will need to purchase the updated test. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact DPS General Stores.

Driving Education Schools May Reopen Classroom Instruction Up to 50%

On June 3, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19.

Under Executive Order GA-26, driving schools may now operate up to 50% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction. Driving schools must ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between students and instructors, except when receiving in-car instructions or participating in a DPS road test.

Governor Issues Proclamation Reopening Driver Training Schools

Today, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation expanding Executive Order GA-23 to allow all driver training schools in Texas to reopen immediately. You can read the proclamation here.

Before reopening, driver training schools should review the minimum standard health protocols created by the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas.

These protocols provide that schools may operate up to 25% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction.

For questions about reopening, schools can contact DES@tdlr.texas.gov.

Provisions for Temporary Emergency Distance Education for Driver Education and Driving Safety Schools

The health and safety of all our licensees is of the utmost importance. To proactively address the concerns regarding COVID-19, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has enacted temporary emergency distance education provisions to allow current licensed Driver Education and Driving Safety schools to offer distance education.

Effective immediately, Driver Education and Driving Safety Schools may teach all Driver Education or Driving Safety classroom instruction courses in a distance learning setting. This provision only applies to courses that would normally be provided in a classroom setting; this does not include AMI or ADM. The purpose of the temporary emergency distance education provision is to provide flexibility for schools to help students complete their course work.

This temporary emergency distance education provision does not apply to the in-car lesson requirements in Driver Education. TDLR’s goal is to enable schools to continue to teach their students despite the current circumstances related to COVID-19.

Licensed Schools that may be impacted by COVID-19 can notify TDLR by email at DES@tdlr.texas.gov with the subject line of the email as “COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Distance Education Request” and provide the following information:

  • School name and license number;
  • Course Provider Name and license number;
  • Type of delivery method, including the technology or program being used for distance education; and
  • Type of method which will be used for tracking student attendance, including hours completed.

Temporary emergency distance education accommodations will remain in place until further notice.

COVID-19: Continuing Education Waived

TDLR continuing education requirements are waived for all individual licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees still need to submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and TDLR will check their criminal histories, but they will not need to complete any TDLR-required continuing education this licensing cycle. (§51.405, Occupations Code)

Note: TDLR is not authorized to waive continuing education requirements imposed by a certifying or credentialing entity other than TDLR. If a certifying entity requires continuing education to maintain certification, and certification is required for Texas licensure, then that continuing education must be completed. If the certifying entity waives continuing education or allows it to be completed on a delayed basis due to COVID-19, then you may follow the certifying entity’s policy.

Please check the TDLR COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Provisions for Temporary Emergency Distance Education at Barber, Cosmetology, Driver Education and Massage Schools

The health and safety of all our licensees is of the utmost importance. To proactively address the concerns regarding COVID-19, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has enacted temporary emergency distance education provisions to allow current licensed schools to offer distance education limited to the theory hours of instruction to not exceed more than 50 percent of the course. TDLR’s temporary emergency provision is in line with the Department of Education to provide flexibilities for schools to help students complete their course work.

Courses taught by distance education will not satisfy requirements of practical (hands-on) portions of course curriculum. The goal of the department is to enable schools to continue to teach their students despite the current outbreak of COVID-19.

Licensed Schools that may be impacted by COVID-19 can notify the department by email TDLR at education@tdlr.texas.gov with the subject line of the email as “COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Distance Education Request” and provide the following information:

  • School name and license number
  • Type of delivery method, including the technology or program being used for distance education
  • Type of method which will be used for tracking student attendance, including hours completed
  • Timed outline indicating the portion of the course or curriculum which will be completed by distance education

Temporary emergency distance education accommodations will remain in place until further notice.

Commission Adopts Amendments to Existing Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to the Driver Education and Safety Program rules (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter D, §84.50; Subchapter M, §§84.500 and 84.502; and Subchapter N, §84.600). The adopted rules implement House Bill 105 and House Bill 2048, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019). Collectively, these bills created a requirement that (1) all driver education and driving safety courses include information relating to methods of safely operating a motor vehicle near an oversize or overweight vehicle; (2) repealed Chapter 708, Transportation Code, concerning the Driver Responsibility Program; and (3) amended Chapter 1001, Education Code, by specifying the driving and safety offenses which would prevent someone from conducting a Parent Taught Driver Education Course.

The adoption justification was published in the March 6, 2020, issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 1698). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of March 15, 2020.

Updates to Driver and Traffic Safety Education law(s)

February 28, 2020

This message is provided to notify you of changes to the Driver and Traffic Safety Education law(s).

House Bill 2847 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Education Code, Chapter 1001, relating to the licensing and regulation of certain occupations, activities, and agreements; providing a civil penalty; authorizing fees; requiring an occupational registration and an occupational license. House Bill 2847 and the changes to Chapter 1001 became effective September 1, 2019.

House Bill 2048 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Education Code, Chapter 1001, relating to the repeal of the driver responsibility program and the amount and allocation of state traffic fine funds; eliminating program surcharges; authorizing and increasing criminal fines; increasing a fee. House Bill 2048 and the changes to Chapter 1001 became effective September 1, 2019.

House Bill 105 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Education Code, Chapter 1001, relating to the inclusion of information about oversize and overweight vehicles in the curriculum of driver education and driving safety courses. House Bill 105 and the changes to Chapter 1001 became effective September 1, 2019.

TDLR encourages all persons interested in the Driver Education and Safety program to review the updated Education Code, Chapter 1001.

2019 Legislative Updates

House Bill 2847 Changes

When did the changes for instructor licenses go into effect?

Per legislation (HB 2847), the changes in driver education instructor licensing went into effect September 01, 2019.

Am I required to hold a teaching certificate to become a driver education instructor?

No, you are not required to obtain a teaching certificate. The new requirements to become a driver education instructor can be found under HB 2847, Article 2, Section 1001.2531.

What exam am I required to pass to become a driver education instructor?

If you attend an Instructor Development Course (IDC) or are enrolled in driver training at a college or university, you will need to take and pass the exam given to you at the end of the course. You will need to pass the exam with a minimum score of 70% to meet the requirements on becoming a driver education instructor.

I currently hold a TA-Full or Supervising TA-Full license, what will happen?

If you hold one of those two licenses, they will be upgraded upon your next renewal.

  • TA-Full license will become a Driver Education Teacher (DET)
  • Supervising TA-Full license will become a Supervising Teacher (ST)

What are the levels of driver education instructor licenses?

The available instructor licenses are now: Teacher Assistant (TA), Driver Education Teacher (DET) and Supervising Teacher (ST).

When do the changes for brick-and-mortar schools go into effect?

Per legislation (HB 2847), the requirement for schools offering an online course only, to have a brick and mortar school has been removed and the change is expected to go in effect summer 2020.

I applied for an initial driver education school before the proposed effective date, can I waive the requirement to have a physical site

If your application is postmarked on or before the proposed effective date, the physical site requirements will still apply to you. If your application is postmarked on or after the proposed effective date, then you are not required to have a physical site for your initial driver education school if you are offering an online course.

House Bill 105 Changes

What changes to my curriculum do I need to make because of HB 105?

HB 105 requires that all driver education courses and driving safety courses include information relating to oversize and overweight vehicles by September 01, 2020

What is the department requiring me to submit to show that I’ve updated my course regarding oversize and overweight vehicle loads?

You will need to have your curriculum updated and submit a Statement of Assurance to our department no later than September 01, 2020.

The steps will include the following:

  1. Update your curriculum
  2. Include a curriculum outline to TDLR that shows where HB 105 will be incorporated into the curriculum
  3. Complete and submit the Statement of Assurance

House Bill 2048 Changes

Have the Parent Taught Instructor qualifications changed?

Yes, per HB 2048, the qualifications will be updated to reflect moving violations in the last 3 years instead of points. The update includes:

  • Three or more tickets (moving violations according to Transportation Code 521.304)
  • Two tickets without accidents and one ticket with an accident; or
  • Two or more tickets that include accidents.

Advisory Committee Meetings

March 10, 2021

The Driver Training and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee met March 10, 2021 via videoconference. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR’s YouTube page. The agenda and the staff report are available online.


Additional Information

The Driver Education and Safety program at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is comprised of the licensing and regulation of businesses known as Driver Education Schools, Parent Taught Driver Education programs, Driving Safety Course Providers, Driving Safety Schools and Instructors. Driver Education provides the basic skills and training required by law to provide the knowledge and hands-on experience to prepare people for their written and practical tests to operate a vehicle in Texas. Driving Safety Courses (sometimes known as 'defensive driving') are geared to improve a driver's knowledge, perception and attitude about driving. The Driving Safety Course Providers are required by law to offer curriculum that meets the standards required by law in Chapter 1001, Texas Education Code. TDLR's objective is to ensure that the schools, course providers, and instructors are qualified to develop and offer the courses and that the courses meet the required standards.

On September 1, 2015, the regulation of Driver Education Schools, Driving Safety Course Providers, Driving Safety Schools and Instructors under Chapter 1001, Texas Education Code, was transferred from TEA/ESC Region 13 to TDLR. This transfer is the result of the 84th Legislature enacting House Bill 1786 into law. In addition, the bill transferred the Parent Taught Driver Education program from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to TDLR. TDLR issues and renews licenses; issues certificates and certificate numbers; approves courses, providers, instructors and schools; accepts complaints; and responds to consumer and industry inquiries.

You may now submit complaints online regarding unlicensed activity or license violations in the Driver Education and Safety program.