Proposed Driver Education and Safety Administrative Rules

Chapter 84. Driver Education and Safety
Proposal Filed: November 20, 2017 – Published in the Texas Register:  December 8, 2017
Deadline for Public Comment: January 8, 2018

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 84, Subchapter A, §84.2; Subchapter C, §84.41 and §84.44; Subchapter D, §84.51; Subchapter E, §84.62; Subchapter F, §84.70; Subchapter M, §§84.500, 84.502 and 84.503; and Subchapter N, §84.600, regarding the Driver Education and Safety Program. 

Justification and Explanation of the Rules

The rules under 16 TAC, Chapter 84 implement Texas Education Code, Chapter 1001.  These proposed amendments primarily implement Senate Bill 848 (SB 848), House Bill 912 (HB 912), and House Bill 1372 (HB 1372),85th Legislature, Regular Session (2017). The proposed amendments also replace outdated language and make editorial corrections. The legislation (SB848/HB912) removed outdated language; expanded the population of persons who are authorized to provide instruction in the ‘parent taught’ driver education program; reduced the driver education course provider bond to $10,000; and authorized driver education and driving safety course completion certificates to be issued electronically.  House Bill 1372 added a requirement that the curriculum for each driver education and safety course include information on the proper use of child passenger safety seats.

In a future rulemaking, the Department will be implementing two remaining bills from the 85th Legislature, Regular Session (2017), that affected the Driver Education and Safety Program, including: Senate Bill 30 relating to traffic stop safety; Senate Bill 1051 relating to creating a driver education course in American Sign Language; and implementing the portion of SB 848 and HB 912 that specifically authorized driving safety schools to issue course completion certificates electronically. The anticipated future rulemaking will also include proposing amendments to the curriculum for driver education and safety courses.

Section-by-Section Summary

The proposed amendments to §84.2 remove a definition that was repealed in SB 848 and HB 912 relating to certain qualification for license.

The proposed amendments to §84.41 implement SB 848 and HB 912 authorizing driver education certificates to be issued electronically.

The proposed amendments to §84.44 implement SB 848 and HB 912, removing a burdensome requirement in the driver education and driving safety instructor license renewal process.

The proposed amendments to §84.51 correct an existing typographical error.

The proposed amendments to §84.62 implement SB 848 and HB 912, reducing the driver education course provider bond to $10,000.

The proposed amendments to §84.70 repeal language that was repealed in SB 848 and HB 912 relating to certain qualifications for license.

The proposed amendments to §84.500 implement HB 1372, adding information relating to child passenger safety seats to driver education school curriculum.

The proposed amendments to §84.502 implement HB 1372, adding information relating to child passenger safety seats to driving safety course curriculum.

The proposed amendments to §84.503 implement HB 1372, adding information regarding the proper use of child passenger safety seats to specialized driving safety courses of instruction.

The proposed amendments to §84.600 implement HB 1372, adding information regarding the proper use of child passenger safety seats to the driver education Program of Instruction for Public Schools.

Fiscal Impact on State and Local Government

Brian E. Francis, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendments are in effect there will be no direct cost to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

Mr. Francis has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments are in effect, there is no estimated increase or loss in revenue to the state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

The reduction in the bond amount does not have an effect on the Department’s revenue, as the bond is used only if a driver education school becomes insolvent and its claims are to refund fees to students.

Local Employment Impact Statement

Mr. Francis has determined that the proposed amendments will not affect the local economy, so the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

Public Benefits

Mr. Francis has also determined that for each year of the first five-year period, the proposed amendments are in effect, the public will benefit from a greater understanding of the rules, and from drivers being aware of the proper use of child passenger safety seats, thus, preventing injuries during accidents. The public should also benefit from the convenience of receiving driver education certificates electronically upon completion of courses.

Probable Economic Costs to Persons Required to Comply with Proposal

Mr. Francis has determined that for each year of the first five-year period, the proposed amendments are in effect, there are minimal anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendments. There is no fee to the Department as a result of the addition of the proper use of child passenger safety seats into driving safety and driver education curriculum. There may be nominal costs to rewrite the curriculum and resubmit to the Department.

Fiscal Impact on Small Businesses, Micro-Businesses, and Rural Communities

There will be no adverse affect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed amendments. A small or micro business may save some costs by the reduction of the driver education course provider bond amount.

Since the agency has determined that the proposed amendments will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, are not required.

One-for-One Requirement For Rules With a Fiscal Impact

Under Government Code §2001.0045, a state agency may not adopt a proposed rule if the fiscal note states that the rule imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government, unless the state agency: (a) repeals a rule that imposes a total cost on regulated persons that is equal to or greater than the total cost imposed on regulated persons by the proposed rule; or (b) amends a rule to decrease the total cost imposed on regulated persons by an amount that is equal to or greater than the cost imposed on the persons by the rule.  There are exceptions for certain types of rules under §2001.0045(c).

The proposed amendments do not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government.  Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045(c).

Government Growth Impact Statement

Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rules.  For each year of the first five years the proposed amendments will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

  • (1) The proposed rules do not create or eliminate a government program.
  • (2) Implementation of the proposed rules does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.
  • (3) Implementation of the proposed rules does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.
  • (4) The proposed rules do not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency.
  • (5) The proposed rules do not create a new regulation.
  • (6) The proposed rules do not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation.
  • (7) The proposed rules do not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule’s applicability.
  • (8) The proposed rules do not positively or adversely affect this state’s economy.

Public Comments

Comments on the proposal may be submitted by mail to Pauline Easley, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711; or by facsimile to (512) 475-3032, or electronically to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov.  The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

Statutory Authority

The statutory provisions affected by the proposal are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 51, and Texas Education Code, Chapter 1001. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposal.

Subchapter A. General Provisions.

§84.2. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  • (1) - (12) (No change.)
  • [(13 Good reputation--A person is considered to be of good reputation if the department determines that the person is eligible for licensure, based on the department’s review of the application, any supporting documentation and analysis pursuant to any of the laws and rules that relate to the license requirements, including but not limited to this chapter; 16 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 60; Texas Education Code Chapter 1001; and Texas Occupations Code Chapters 51 and Chapter 53.]
  • (13) [(14)] Inactive course--a driving safety or specialized driving safety course for which no uniform certificates of completion or course completion certificate numbers have been purchased for 36 months or longer.
  • (14) [(15)] Instructor trainer--A driving safety instructor trainer (DSIT) or specialized driving safety instructor trainer (SDSIT) who has been trained to prepare instructors to give instruction in a specified curriculum. A DSIT or SDSIT supervises the student instructor trainee during their practical teaching sessions, overseeing their presentation of the course. The DSIT or SDSIT may provide feedback and guidance to the trainee concerning their practical teaching, but would not provide the training of techniques of instruction and in-depth familiarization with course material to the trainee during the Instructor Development Course.
  • (15) [(16)] National criminal history record information--Criminal history record information obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Texas Government Code, §411.087, based on fingerprint identification information.
  • (16) [(17)] New Course--A driving safety or specialized driving safety course is considered new when it has not been approved by the department to be offered previously, or has been approved by the department and become inactive; or the content, lessons, or delivery of the course has been changed to a degree that a new application is requested and a complete review of the application and course presentation is necessary to determine compliance.
  • (17) [(18)] Personal validation question--A question designed to establish the identity of the student by requiring an answer related to the student's personal information such as a driver's license number, address, date of birth, or other similar information that is unique to the student.
  • (18) [(19)] Post program exam--an exam designed to measure the student’s comprehension and knowledge of course material presented after the instruction is completed.
  • (19) [(20)] Pre-program exam--an exam given during the program introduction using questions drawn from material to be covered in the course to determine the level of drug and alcohol knowledge possessed by the student prior to receiving instruction.
  • (20) [(21)] Primary school--A licensed driver education main school that may have branch schools.
  • (21) [(22)] Public or private school--an accredited public or non-public secondary school.
  • (22) [(23)] Specialized driving safety course--a six-hour driving safety course that includes at least four hours of training intended to improve the student’s knowledge, compliance with, and attitude toward the use of child passenger safety seats systems and the wearing of seat belt and other occupant restraint system.
  • (23) [(24)] Teacher of record--A licensed supervising driver education teacher or licensed driver education teacher employed at the school who is directly responsible for the classroom instructional phase provided by a teaching assistant full or supervising teaching assistant full.
  • (24) [(25)] Uniform certificate of course completion--A document with a serial number purchased from the department that is printed, administered and supplied by course providers or primary consignees for issuance to students who successfully complete an approved driving safety or specialized driving safety course and that meets the requirements of Texas Transportation Code, chapter 543, and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 45.051 or 45.0511. This term encompasses all parts of an original or duplicate uniform certificate of course completion.
  • (25) [(26)] Validation question--A question designed to establish the student’s participation in a course or program and comprehension of the materials by requiring the student to answer a question regarding a fact or concept taught in the course or program.

Subchapter C. Driver Education Schools and Instructors.

§84.41. Driver Education School Responsibility.

  • (a) - (b) (No change.)
  • (c) Each driver education school owner-operator or employee that purchases driver education certificate numbers from the department must:
    • (1) - (2) (No change.)
    • (3) develop and maintain a department-approved method for [printing and] issuing original and duplicate driver education certificates that, to the greatest extent possible, prevents the unauthorized production or misuse of the certificates; and
    • (4) (No change.)

§84.44. Driver Education Instructor License.

  • (a) - (b) (No change.)
  • (c) An application for renewal of an instructor license shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the department [and shall be postmarked or hand-delivered at least thirty (30) days before the date of expiration or a late instructor renewal fee shall be imposed]. A complete application shall include the following:
    • (1) annual licensing fee; and
    • (2) evidence of completing continuing education during the individual license renewal period.
  • (d) - (g) (No change.)

Subchapter D. Parent Taught Driver Education.

§84.51. Parent Taught Submission of Course for Department Approval.

  • (a) - (e) (No change.)
  • (f) A parent taught driver education course submitted for department review may be denied upon finding:
    • (1) that the course does not meet the standards required under §1001.112 [§1001.212] of the Code; or
    • (2) the materials used were not approved by the department.
  • (g) (No change.)

Subchapter E. Driving Safety Schools, Course Providers and Instructors.

§84.62. Course Provider License Requirements.

  • (a) (No change.)
  • (b) Bond requirements for course provider. In the case of an original or a change of owner application, an original bond shall be provided in the amount of $10,000 [$25,000]. In the case of a renewal application, an original bond or a continuation agreement for the approved bond currently on file shall be submitted. The bond or the continuation agreement shall be executed on the form prescribed by the department.
  • (c) - (k) (No change.)

Subchapter F.  Drug and Alcohol Awareness Programs and Instructors.

§84.70. Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program School Licensure Requirements.

  • (a) (no change.)
  • (b) Approval. The department shall approve the application of a drug and alcohol driving awareness school if the department finds that [the school owner and employees are of good reputation and] the school does not owe a civil penalty under Texas Education Code, Chapter 1001.
  • (c) - (i) (No change.)

Subchapter M. Curriculum and Alternative Methods of Instruction.

§84.500. Courses of Instruction for Driver Education Schools.

  • (a) The educational objectives of driver training courses shall include, but not be limited to, promoting respect for and encouraging observance of traffic laws and traffic safety responsibilities of driver education and citizens; reducing traffic violations; reducing traffic-related injuries, deaths, and economic losses; the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems; and motivating development of traffic-related competencies through education, including, but not limited to, Texas traffic laws, risk management, driver attitudes, courtesy skills, and evasive driving techniques.
  • (b) - (i) (No change.)

§84.502. Driving Safety Courses of Instruction.

  • (a) This section contains requirements for driving safety, continuing education, and instructor development courses. For each course, the following curriculum documents and materials are required to be submitted as part of the application for approval. Except as provided by §84.504, relating to Driving Safety Course Alternative Delivery Method), all course content shall be delivered under the direct observation of a licensed instructor. Courses of instruction shall not be approved that contain language that a reasonable and prudent individual would consider inappropriate. Any changes and updates to a course shall be submitted by the course provider and approved prior to being offered. Approval will be revoked for any course that meets the definition of inactive as defined in §84.2(16) of this chapter.
    • (1) Driving safety courses.
      • (A) Educational objectives. The educational objectives of driving safety courses shall include, but not be limited to promoting respect for and encouraging observance of traffic laws and traffic safety responsibilities of drivers and citizens; the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems; reducing traffic violations; reducing traffic-related injuries, deaths, and economic losses; and motivating continuing development of traffic-related competencies.
      • (B) - (C) (No change.)
      • (D) Minimum course content. Driving Safety course content, including video and multimedia, shall include current statistical data, references to law, driving procedures, and traffic safety methodology. A driving safety course shall include, as a minimum, materials adequate to assure the student masters the following.
        • (i) - (ix) (No change.)
        • (x) Occupant restraints and protective equipment--minimum of 15 minutes (instructional objective--to identify the rationale for having and using occupant restraints and protective equipment). Instruction shall address the following topics:
          • (I) - (IV) (No change.)
          • (V) helmets and other protective equipment [; and]
          • (VI) proper use of child passenger safety seat systems; and
          • (VII) [(VI)] dangers involved in locking or leaving children in vehicles unattended.
        • (xi) - (xiii) (No change.)
      • (E) - (H) (No change.)
    • (2) - (3) (No change.)
  • (b) - (e) (No change.)

§84.503. Specialized Driving Safety Courses of Instruction.

  • (a) This section contains requirements for specialized driving safety courses, instructor development courses, and continuing education. For each course, the following curriculum documents and materials are required to be submitted as part of the application for approval. Except as provided by §84.504 of this title (relating to Driving Safety Course Alternative Delivery Method), all course content shall be delivered under the direct observation of a specialized driving safety licensed instructor. Courses of instruction shall not be approved that contain language that a reasonable and prudent individual would consider inappropriate. Any changes and updates to a course shall be submitted and approved prior to being offered. Approval will be revoked for any course that meets the definition of inactive as defined in §84.2(14).
    • (1) Specialized driving safety courses.
      • (A) Educational objectives. The educational objectives of specialized driving safety courses shall include, but not be limited to improving the student's knowledge and use of, compliance with, and attitude toward the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belt and other occupant restraint systems.
      • (B) - (G) (No change.)
    • (2) - (3) (No change.)
  • (b) - (e) (No change.)

Subchapter N.  Program of Instruction for Public Schools, Education Service Centers, and Colleges or Universities Course Requirements.

§84.600. Program of Organized Instruction.

  • (a) - (b) (No change.)
  • (c) Course content, minimum instruction requirements, and administrative guidelines for each phase of driver education classroom instruction, in-car training (behind-the-wheel and observation), simulation, and multicar range shall include the instructional objectives established by the commissioner of education, as specified in this subsection, and meet the requirements of this subchapter. Sample instructional modules may be obtained from the department. Schools may use sample instructional modules developed by the department or develop their own instructional modules based on the approved instructional objectives. The instructional objectives are organized into the modules outlined in this subsection and include objectives for classroom and in-car training (behind-the-wheel and observation), simulation lessons, parental involvement activities, and evaluation techniques. In addition, the instructional objectives that must be provided to every student enrolled in a minor and adult driver education course include information relating to litter prevention; anatomical gifts; distractions, including the use of a wireless communication device that includes texting; motorcycle awareness; alcohol awareness and the effect of alcohol on the effective operation of a motor vehicle; and recreational water safety. A student may apply to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for an instruction permit after completing six hours of instruction as specified in Module One if the student is taking the course in a concurrent program. The minor and adult driver education program instructional objectives shall include:
    • (1) (No change.)
    • (2) Module Two: Driver Preparation. The student legally and responsibly performs reduced-risk driving practices in the HTS by:
      • (A) employing pre-drive tasks;
      • (B) using and requiring passengers to use occupant protection and restraint systems, including the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems;
      • (C) - (H) (No change.)
    • (3) - (12) (No change.)
  • (d) - (j) (No change.)

Review by Agency Counsel

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency’s legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, on November 20, 2017.


Brian E. Francis
Executive Director
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation