Proposed Driver Education and Safety Administrative Rules

Chapter 84. Driver Education and Safety
Proposal Filed: March 19, 2018 – Published in the Texas Register: March 30, 2018
Deadline for Public Comment: April 30, 2018

Underlined text is new language.
[ Strikethrough text ] is deleted language.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes new rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 84, Subchapter C, §84.48; and proposes amendments at Subchapter D, §84.51; 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

Senate Bill 30 (S.B. 30), 85th Legislature, Regular Session (2017), added a requirement to include information related to law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in all driver education and driving safety school curriculum. In addition, Senate Bill 1051 (S.B. 1051), 85th Legislature, regular Session (2017), amended Texas Education Code, Chapter 1001 to require all driving safety schools include accommodations for deaf or hard of hearing students; and for the Department to develop an online driver education course in American Sign Language. The proposed rules are necessary to implement S.B. 30 and S.B. 1051.

The proposed rules were discussed by the Driver Training and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee at its meeting on February 7, 2018. The Advisory Committee recommended that the proposed rules be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION- BY- SECTION SUMMARY

The proposed new §84.48 adds accommodations for deaf or hard of hearing students.

The proposed amendments to §84.51 corrects references.

The proposed amendments to §84.500 adds instruction on law enforcement procedures for traffic stops to course of instruction for driver education schools.

The proposed amendments to §84.502 adds the implementation of law enforcement procedures for traffic stops to the driving safety course of instruction.

The proposed amendments to §84.503 adds educating students on the proper law enforcement procedures for traffic stops to the specialized driving safety course of instruction.

The proposed amendments to §84.600 adds law enforcement procedures for traffic stops to the program on instruction for public schools, education service centers, and colleges or universities course requirements.

FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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

Mr. Francis has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rules 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 rules.

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

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Francis has determined that the proposed rules 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 rules are in effect, the public will benefit from increased education and awareness within the peace officer and motorist communities to manage expectations during in-person interactions, which enhances public health, safety and welfare. The deaf or hard of hearing community will benefit from increased access to online driver education courses in American Sign Language, which increases their opportunity to obtain driver licenses.

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 rules are in effect, there are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed rules.

FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rules.

Since the agency has determined that the proposed rules 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 rules 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 rules will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

(1) The proposed rule does not create or eliminate a government program.

(2) Implementation of the proposed rule does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.

(3) Implementation of the proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.

(4) The proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency.

(5) The proposed rule does not create a new regulation.

(6) The proposed rule does expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation. These rules expand the rule requiring driver education and safety classes to teach police interaction by creating a uniform course and information to be taught statewide. This information will also be disseminated to law enforcement across the state. Additionally, these rules expand and clarify how a driver education school may offer services to deaf and hard of hearing students by allowing them to use an American Sign Language (ASL) course developed by the Department.

(7) The proposed rule does not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability.

(8) The proposed rule does 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 and 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 new rules and amendments are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 51 and Texas Education Code, Chapter 1001, which authorize the Commission, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

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 C. Driver Education Schools and Instructors

§84.48. Accommodations for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students.

(a) Consistent with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Section 12101 et seq.), a Driver Education School must make reasonable accommodations and provide aids and services when, providing the classroom portion of a driver education course, that are necessary to ensure that a student who is deaf or hard of hearing may fully participate in the course.

(b) As part of the original or renewal application to obtain a driver education school license, the applicant must provide the school’s plan for complying with §84.48(a).

(c) A school will be in compliance with §84.48, if the school utilizes the department’s online driver education course described in §1001.059 of the Code.

Subchapter D. Parent Taught Driver Education.

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

(a) If the curriculum and all materials meet or exceed the minimum standards set forth in §1001.112 [ §1001.212 ] of the Code, the department will approve the course. No more than 640 minutes of the required hours of classroom instruction delivered via multimedia may be counted.

(b) - (g) (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; instruction on law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature) ; 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; implementation of law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with the provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature); 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-iii) (No change.)

(iv) Traffic laws and procedures--minimum of 30 minutes (instructional objectives--to identify the requirements of, and the rationale for, applicable driving laws and procedures and to influence drivers to comply with the laws on a voluntary basis). Instruction shall address the following topics:

(I) - (XIII) (No change.)

(XIV) law enforcement and emergency vehicles (this category will be temporary until the need is substantiated by documentation from the Department of Public Safety on the number of deaths or injuries involved because of improper procedures used by a citizen when stopped by a law enforcement officer); [ and ]

(XV) law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with the provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature); and

(XVI) [ (XV) ] other laws as applicable (i.e., financial responsibility/compulsory insurance).

(v) - (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 , and educating the student on the proper law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with the provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature) .

(B) - (C) (No change.)

(D) Minimum course content. A specialized driving safety course shall include, as a minimum, four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belts, etc., and materials adequate to assure the student masters the following.

(i) - (ii) (No change.)

(iii) Factors influencing driver performance--(instructional objective--to identify the characteristics and behaviors of drivers and how they affect driving performance). Instruction shall address the following topics:

(I) - (III) (No change.)

(IV) knowledge of driving laws and procedures including law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with the provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature) ; and

(V) understanding the driving task.

(iv) - (x) (No change.)

(E) - (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) Module One: Traffic Laws. The student legally and responsibly performs reduced-risk driving practices in the Highway Transportation System (HTS) by:

(A) no change

(B) applying knowledge and understanding of Texas traffic laws, including traffic control devices, [ and ] right-of-way laws and law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with the provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85 th Regular Legislature) .

(2) - (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 March 19, 2018.


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