How does Texas restrict teenage drivers?

Texas requires teenagers to pass through two distinct stages of restricted driving before being granted full driving privileges at the age of 18.

Teenagers are naturally more prone than adults to being impetuous due to their youth, inexperience and immaturity. Putting a young person behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can lead to tragic and even deadly results. It is for this reason that the National Institute of Health explains states around the country began changing their approach to teenage drivers in the 1990's.

Instead of handing out a license with no guidelines other than to follow basic traffic laws, the Governors Highway Safety Association notes that changes have been made. Teens must now pass through different steps over the course of many months before they are allowed to have full driving privileges. The NIH reports that deaths in crashes with teen drivers have dropped up to 14 percent since these programs have been in place. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration add that accidents with teen drivers regardless of fatalities have been cut virtually in half.

How does Texas handle drivers' licenses for teens?

Texas has a clearly defined Graduated Driver License Program for teens as outlined by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The first step in the process is to obtain what is called a learner license. This can be done when the teen turns 15 and must be held for at least six months. The length of time that a learner license is required can be extended if the driver's privileges are suspended for any reason during that time.

While holding a learner license, a teen must complete an approved drivers' education course. They are allowed to drive while under the supervision of an adult who is at least 21 years old.

When can a teenager drive without supervision?

Upon meeting the requirements of the learner license as outlined above and reaching the age of 16, a teenager in Texas can apply for a provisional driver's license. This license will be in effect until the teen turns 18 years old. During this time, the following restrictions will be in place for drivers:

  • There can be a maximum of one non-related passenger under the age of 21 in a vehicle.
  • There can be no driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • There can be no use, including hands-free, of any mobile device.

After turning 18, a full license is granted and the above restrictions are removed.

What accident victims should do

When an accident involving a teen driver happens, any victims deserve compensation for injuries and suffering. Talking to an attorney is recommended to learn how to achieve this.