Drive Alone With a Permit in Texas

In the United States, many young Americans receive the opportunity to drive with a permit before trying to get their driving license. The rules tend to be similar, often the same across all 50 states, but there are some variations to note.

These can range from what age you can first receive a permit to how long the permit period lasts. 

Aerial View Large Parking Lots In Downtown Dallas Texas Near Highway With Skylines In Background - Texas View
Aerial View Large Parking Lots In Downtown Dallas Texas Near Highway With Skylines In Background - Texas View

Can You Drive Alone With a Permit in Texas?

As with the rest of America, young drivers must start their driving career with an adult 21 years or older in the front passenger seat anytime they wish to drive.

The main goal of a permit is to give the inexperienced driver time behind the wheel while a responsible adult is in the vehicle with them; this means a driver with a simple permit cannot drive alone in Texas.

There is a step above the starting driver’s permit that does allow for new drivers to drive alone. Once you have had your permit for at least six months, and if you are between the ages of 16 and 17, you may apply for a provisional license.

A provisional license is a middle ground between the permit and an actual license.

Once you have graduated with a provisional license, you will be allowed to drive by yourself. However, there are caveats to this privilege. First, you cannot drive between midnight and 5 AM.

Second, you cannot drive with more than one passenger under 21 years old. Finally, you cannot use a cellphone (even if it is handless) unless during an emergency.

Once you reach 18 years of age, these restrictions will be lifted. This process is in place to ease young drivers into driving, help them stay safe on the roads, and become more responsible behind the wheel.

Cars Driving On Highway Intersection From Above In Houston Texas
Cars Driving On Highway Intersection From Above In Houston - Texas View

Getting a Driving Permit in Texas

In Texas, to receive a driving permit, an individual has to be at least 15 years of age and have proof of completion or registration for a Driver Education class. If you are an adult between 18-24 trying to go for your permit, you must register for the Online Texas Adult Driver Education course. 

If you are a teenager between 14 and 17, you can take either the online Driver Education or the Parent-Taught Driver Education course. It does not matter which you take, as both will help you receive your permit through different methods.

If you are above 25, adult driver education is optional but highly recommended. 

The Application Process

After completing the required Education course, you may make an appointment at your local Texas Department of Public Safety to apply for a Texas permit. If the applicant is underage, a parent or legal guardian must be present at this appointment.

Outside the completion certificate to show you passed the online course, you will also need to provide proof of the following:

  • Identity
  • Social Security Number
  • United States citizenship
  • Texas resident status
  • Schooling (you need 
  • Any necessary forms 

Once all the necessary documents are provided and filed, you will receive your permit to start behind-the-wheel (BTW) training. If you display good driving, have fulfilled 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, had the permit for six months, and passed the driving test, you can receive your provisional license.

Once you complete the behind-the-wheel training, you can apply for a Texas provisional license.

Driving Permit FAQs

What are other driving permit rules in Texas?

One rule to follow during the permit and provisional license process is that while you may take a Driver’s Education class at 14, you cannot begin driving with a permit until 15 years of age.

Do I need a high school diploma to apply for a permit?

To apply for a permit in Texas, you must provide evidence you’ve either received a high school diploma or have been attending school at least 90% of the time. 

What are the behind-the-wheel requirements for Driver’s Education?

You will also have to complete tasks for your behind-the-wheel portion of driver education, including:
* Seven hours of in-car observation, learning how the instructor drives
* Seven hours of driving and showing the instructor that you have paid attention to their instruction
* Thirty hours of behind-the-wheel driving and 10 hours must be at night with a licensed driver 21 years or older.

 

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