What is the Driving Age in Texas?

The legal driving age in Texas is 15 years old and drivers must go through the state’s graduated licensing program.
Written by Stephanie Southmayd
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Under Texas’s Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program, you can legally drive a car at the age of 15—as long as you have a learner’s permit and are accompanied by a licensed adult. When you turn 18, you can apply for a full Texas driver’s license.
  • Under
    Texas’s traffic laws
    , teens can begin to learn about driving at 14 years old, but they must be 15 years old before they are allowed to drive a car for the first time.
  • Texas has a four-stage graduated driver’s license (GDL) program for young drivers between 14 and 18 years old.
  • At 18 years old, a teen becomes eligible for a full, unrestricted license.
  • Adding a teen to your car insurance policy can be expensive, but an insurance broker app like Jerry can help you find cheap
    car insurance in Texas

The driving age in Texas is 15 

In Texas, you can start learning to drive at the age of 14 when you’re able to enroll in the classroom portion of a driver’s education course. 
But Texas driving laws require you to wait until you are 15 before you can get a learner license, hop in a car, and hit the road—and according to the state’s GDL program, you will still need to be accompanied by an adult driver. 

Texas has a graduated driver’s license program

Texas graduated driver’s license
program introduces teen drivers to driving over four progressive stages:
  • Driver training: At age 14, you can begin the classroom segment of your driver’s education course. Every student driver under 18 years of age must complete a driver education certificate with a written test and road test to practice driving and improve their driving skills. 
  • Phase I Learner license: At age 15, you can apply for a learner license, which mandates that you drive with a licensed adult (21+) in the front seat.
  • Phase II Provisional license: At age 16, you can apply for a provisional license. This intermediate license’s restrictions include not being able to drive between midnight and 5:00 a.m. or with more than one passenger under 21 years old. 
  • Full license: Once you reach your 18th birthday, your learner license or provisional license will expire. You must visit your local DMV or driver’s license office to file a driver’s license application and receive a new license. This new permit will note that you are a driver under 21 years old but is otherwise a full, unrestricted license.

Some eligible teens can get a minor restricted driver’s license

You can be granted a minor restricted driver’s license (MRDL)—also known as a “hardship license”—at the age of 15, provided you meet the following requirements:
  • You are under the age of 16 years old.
  • You are required to drive due to family illness, a death-related emergency, unusual economic hardship, or because you are participating in a Vocational Education Program.
  • You have attended driving school and passed a Texas driver’s education course, knowledge test, vision test, and driving test, among any other regular licensing requirements deemed necessary by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). 
Your MRDL will expire at your next birthday. 

New drivers will need car insurance—even with a learner license

Before you can get behind the wheel as a young driver, the Texas DPS requires you to have an
automobile insurance
policy—yes, even with a learner license.
Since most young teen license holders don’t own a vehicle, a parent or legal guardian should add the new driver to an existing car insurance policy. This can be a costly endeavor, so it’s best to compare rates from at least 3-5 insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best rate.
On average, customers who comparison shop with
save over $800 a year on car insurance. And with all the gasoline you or your newly driving teen will be going through, that extra cash may come in handy!
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Under Texas law, if you are 17 and have a Phase I learner license, a licensed adult who is 21 or older must accompany you in the passenger seat.
At 17, you are allowed to drive by yourself in Texas provided you have a Phase II provisional license—but you cannot be accompanied by more than one passenger under 21 years old who is not a family member.
In the state of Texas, you may begin the graduated driver's license program at age 14 by taking a driver's ed course and starting to learn safe driving practices—but you can only apply for your learner license and receive driving privileges at age 15. 
At age 16, you can apply for a provisional driver’s license. 
At age 18, you are eligible to receive a full driver’s license, which will note that you are under the age of 21. Some 15-year-olds will qualify for a minor restricted driver's license. 
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