In recent years, Texas has been making significant strides in enhancing road safety and reducing traffic accidents. A crucial element in achieving this goal is a well-designed and up-to-date driver education and safety program. In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1560, bringing about the following modifications. Although these changes have been reducing accidents, our Houston car accident lawyers understand that accidents can still happen, no matter how safe one is being. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact our legal firm today!
Driver Education and Safety Program instructors and providers will be able to apply for and renew licenses online. This move to a new database aims to streamline the administrative process, reduce paperwork, and make it more convenient.
Driver Education Teachers
HB 1560 creates a new Driver Education Instructor license and eliminates all teacher licenses. Therefore, driver education teachers, supervising teachers, and teaching assistants already licensed before June 1, 2023, were automatically issued a Driver Education Instructor license.
All laws and rules regarding operation remain the same, but instructors no longer need a high school diploma or GED to apply. Schools can now hire any person who has held a valid Texas driver’s license for the past three years with no suspensions or revocations. Although pre-education is no longer a requirement, schools can continue to require a potential instructor to take an instructor development course or training.
As far as continuing education for Driver Education Instructors, they only have to complete two hours now through a driver education school, an accredited college or university, driver education workshops, or driving safety courses.
Driving Safety Instructor
Driving safety instructors do not have to apply for a license any longer. Driving safety providers can hire any individual they believe to be responsible and qualified to teach the approved driving safety course.
Drug and Alcohol Awareness Instructors
Licenses to become a Drug and Alcohol Awareness (DADAP) instructor have been phased out. Those currently licensed can apply for a driver education instructor license.
Driver education schools will now have or apply for a Driver Education Provider License rather than a Driver Education School license.
Driver Education Providers must file a $10,000 bond with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) as of June 1, 2023; letters of credit or cash deposits are no longer permitted.
Driver Education Provider Structure
The new Driver Education Provider license structure is as follows. Providers can apply to offer in-person, online, or parent-taught courses. For online and in-person endorsement methods, providers can apply to teach a 6-hour adult course and a 32-hour teen course. For the parent-taught method, providers can offer the course online or through printed material.
Providers are now in charge of their curriculum and do not have to have it approved by TDLR. However, several new topics must be added: Dangers of street racing, information about passing certain vehicles, and human trafficking information.
Daily driver training education hours have been increased to 6 hours per day, including any in-car instruction hours provided and makeup hours. However, in-car instruction cannot exceed 4 hours in a day, with no more than 2 hours being behind-the-wheel instruction.
After a student has completed a course phase (e.g., in-car training or classroom phase), driver education providers must upload student certification data to TDLR within 15 days. Certification must be submitted electronically through the new system, but providers will be given one year to implement the new process.