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Driver Training and Education
Information for Driving Safety Class Participants
There are literally hundreds of schools in Texas authorized to teach a 6-hour driving safety class (traditional classroom, video/DVD take-home, or Internet). Successful completion of the class will entitle you to a certificate that Texas courts may honor to dismiss a traffic ticket. And when you present the course completion certificate to your insurance agent, some insurance companies will grant you a discount on the liability portion of your automobile insurance for up to three years.
Texas-Approved Driving Safety Courses
If you are interested in taking a driving safety course via the traditional classroom or by renting a videotape or DVD, go to List of Active Driving Safety Classrooms and Alternate Delivery Locations in Texas for locations in your city. If you would rather take an online driving safety course, go to Online Driving Safety Classes in Texas.
All of the TEA-approved courses that are listed at the course providers list may be used to dismiss a Texas traffic ticket.
By state law, all driving safety courses are now 6 hours in length, and you must attend all six hours of the course in order to receive a certificate.
If you complete the course in a classroom, those sessions are conducted by a licensed instructor, and they will consist of either 6 straight hours (with a lunch break of at least 30 minutes plus other, shorter breaks each hour or so) or two 3-hour sessions (with short breaks).
Courses Taken Via an Alternative Delivery Method (ADM)
Texas Education Agency has approved the delivery of specific driving safety courses via alternative delivery methods (ADM) such as the Internet, CD, DVD, Cable TV, and Videotapes.
If you take a course via an ADM (that is, not in a classroom), an instructor will not be present. Periodically during the course, you will be asked personal questions such as "Is the vehicle you normally drive a 2-door, 4-door, pickup, or other?" These questions, which often use third-party databases to verify your answers, are designed to ensure the identity of the person who is completing the ADM, and you will also be asked course content questions to ensure that you are viewing and absorbing the material.
At your discretion, you may break up an ADM's online, CD-ROM, DVD, Cable TV, or Videotaped course into segments of almost any length. You may also take the course via those means at any time of day or night, and there is a 24 hour-a-day help line available. You will be given that tollfree number to call if you need technical assistance or have a question about the course content.
Courses for the Deaf and Hard Of Hearing
Although none of the driving safety courses that are taught by an alternative delivery method have closed captioning (CC), several of the "online" courses have made an effort to assist the deaf and hard of hearing with text that is adjacent to the video or by other means. Those courses are identified on the list at Online Driving Safety with the symbol (H) after the course name.
Cursos en Español
Algunos cursos de manejar a la defensiva han sido aprobados por TEA para que se ofrezcan en español. Estos cursos se identifican en la siguiente lista ritter.tea.state.tx.us/drive/drivecp.html#cps con una (S) después del nombre. Además, varios cursos en español se ofrecen las 24 horas al día en el Internet enritter.tea.state.tx.us/drive/online.html también identificadas con la (S).
Some insurance companies will provide a discount (usually 10%) for three years on the liability portion of your auto insurance premiums if you provide proof of completion of one of the approved driving safety courses. Check with your insurance agent for details.
Ticket Dismissal Information
Texas state law allows you to dismiss one traffic ticket every 12 months by taking a TEA-approved driving safety course.
Furthermore, Texas law requires the following: you must NOT possess a Commercial Driver License (CDL); you must admit guilt or sign a statement that you do not contest the citation (nolo contendere); and if you were charged with speeding, you should not be permitted to dismiss the ticket if you were cited with driving 25 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit. There are other criteria, and the court has the final decision on whether you'll be permitted to dismiss the ticket by completing a driving safety course.
Most municipal court judges and justices of the peace require you to contact the court before you take the driving safety course for purposes of ticket dismissal. Be sure to obtain the court's permission first. By contacting the court that is indicated on your traffic ticket, you may prevent delays, added expenses, or a requirement that you repeat the course.
If the municipal court or the justice of the peace charges a court fee for you to take a driving safety course, and if they require you to obtain a copy of your driving record from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), those fees are in addition to the price that you will pay for the driving safety course.
A certificate of driving safety course completion cannot be saved and used for a later traffic violation. You must complete the driving safety course AFTER the traffic violation, and the court may dismiss only one charge for each completion of a course. [Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 45.0511].
If you have a driver license from another state and receive a traffic ticket in Texas, you may (with the Texas judge's permission) be allowed to take a Texas driving safety course to dismiss that ticket - it's up to the judge. If the judge approves you to complete a Texas driving safety course for that purpose, you can take it outside of Texas via one of the approved online courses at Online Driving Safety.
Exception for Active Duty Miltary Personnel
House Bill 370 was passed in the 79th Regular Session concerning a person on active military duty who receives a traffic citation but does not have a Texas driver license. Effective September 1, 2005, that military member is permitted to dismiss a Texas traffic ticket by taking a TEA-approved driving safety course if he or she has not completed a driving safety (or similar) course for ticket dismissal in another state within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense.
Texas state law requires that a person who takes a driving safety course for ticket dismissal must pay at least $25.
If you take a driving safety course only for education or insurance discount, you may pay less than $25 but you cannot use that completion certificate for dismissal of a traffic ticket.
Ordering Driver's Record
Texas drivers can order their driving record online and print it out immediately athttps://www.texasonline.state.tx.us/tolapp/txldrcdr/TXDPSLicenseeManager
Texas "Points System"
Effective September 1, 2003, Texas implemented a "Points System"!
Points are assessed to a person's driver license for moving violations classified as Class C misdemeanors, and effective September 1, 2005, Child Safety Seat Violations are identified as moving violations. DPS will assess a surcharge when the driver accumulates a total of six (6) points or more on their driver record during a three-year period. The driver must pay a $100 surcharge for the first six points and $25 for each additional point, in addition to any related services fees. Traffic offenses which result in points are designated in the chart at 37 TAC §15.89.
According to Section 708.052, Texas Transportation Code,
"For each conviction arising out of a separate transaction, the department shall assign points to a person’s license as follows:
(1) two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state or another state that is not described by Subdivision (2); and
(2) three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state, another state, or a political subdivision of this or another state that resulted in an accident."
DPS may not assign points to a person's driver's license if the offense is that of speeding and the person was at the time of the offense driving less than 10 percent faster than the posted speed limit, or if the offense was adjudicated by the court under Article 45.051 or Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure; that is, the driving safety course or the deferred disposition laws
Certificate Will be Mailed
Your driving safety course completion certificate will be mailed to you by the course providerthat is responsible for the specific course that you took, and because the course provider is not required to reside in Texas, it may be mailed from as far away as California or Florida. By state law, a course provider has up to 15 working days after you successfully complete all requirements of the course to mail your certificate, so you'll need to take the course well ahead of the deadline imposed by the court. If you are close to the court's deadline, you may need to pay extra to the course provider for delivery of your certificate via overnight, one-day, or two-day delivery.
The envelope that you receive from the course provider will actually contain two certificates: one for the court, and the other for your insurance company. We suggest that you make a copy of the insurance certificate in case you change insurance companies. The discount (if offered by your insurance company) is normally valid for 3 years. It is also suggested that you either handcarry your "Court" certificate to the court or that you send it to the court via certified mail so as to arrive by the date previously established by the court. Note: It must be delivered or mailed by you to the court. The course provider is not permitted to mail either an original or a duplicate certificate to the court.
Request for a Duplicate Driving Safety Certificate
The specific course provider whose course you completed is the person you'll need to contact if you need a duplicate certificate. The course name and the course provider's telephone number should have been given to you when you signed up for the course, and you should also have been given a telephone number to call if you didn't receive your certificate within a certain time frame.
If you don't receive your certificate of course completion by mail within 15 working days from the date you completed the class, call the telephone number that was given to you by your instructor. Your certificate may have been damaged in the mail or had an an insufficient or incorrect address and returned to the course provider. If so, your course provider is permitted to remail it to you or to issue a duplicate certificate and mail it to you at your correct address.
If the certificate that you receive in the mail has incorrect information on it, contact yourcourse provider immediately for corrections. Do NOT use that incorrect certificate because you will need to return it before a duplicate certificate may be issued to you.
If you believe that a driver training class was presented inappropriately, either due to its content, its presentation, a reduced class length, or instructor misconduct, please contact the Driver Training Investigative Unit at Gaye.Estes@esc13.txed.net or Richard.Lusby@esc13.txed.net or call (512) 505-0500, or send a fax to (512) 919-5440. A general complaint form in Microsoft Word format may be used. The form can be found HERE.
Please be aware that if a person took a driving safety class for dismissal of a ticket, but did not receive the entire 6 hour course, that person is in violation of state law and subject to penalties if he or she signs and submits the course completion certificate to the court.
Driver Training Division Investigative Procedures
Formal - The complaint must:
- be in writing (or e-mail);
- be routed through the Division Director or Manager in charge of investigations;
- contain the name and contact information of the complainant;
- state the facts on which the complaint is based; and
- allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received.
Any complaint concerning Public School will be forwarded to the Superintendent of the Independent School District involved for resolution.
When a written complaint is received, the Division Director or Manager will assign a program specialist to conduct preliminary research. If not already a part of the complaint, the complainant will be contacted to go over the allegation and an interview conducted by telephone or in person by the program specialist to answer questions and/or clarify exactly what occurred as observed by the complainant. At this time, the complainant will be informed verbally and in writing as to the action to be taken by the agency; close the case or open an investigation. The written notification will be mailed (or e-mailed) within 30 days of receipt.
If the preliminary research determines that the formal complaint falls under the jurisdiction of another party or agency, the program specialist will provide that information to the complainant in writing (or e-mail) within 30 days of receipt. If the preliminary research shows that a violation of applicable Code or Rules exists, the procedures outlined below for “Formal Investigation Procedures” will be followed. If the preliminary research shows the complaint does not merit a formal investigation, Informal procedures may be followed.
Informal - Anonymous or telephonic complaints will be handled as General File matters and handled on a case-by-case basis. These cases are usually consumer satisfaction issues with no violations of Code or Rule. Upon receipt, a supervisor or program specialist will advise the complainant of formal complaint procedures if applicable.
Internally initiated investigations – These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Director and are usually the result of on-site compliance visits or situations where retaliation may be a factor.
These procedures involve complaints against Commercial and Public-School Driver Education Schools and Instructors; Commercial Driving Safety Schools and Instructors; Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Schools and Instructors; and Course Providers which operate under the following authority:
Commercial: Title 5, Chapter 1001, Texas Education Code
(the Code for Commercial Schools)
Title 19, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 176
( the Rules for Commercial Schools)
Public: Title 2, Chapter 7, Texas Education Code, §7.021(b)(1)(9); Chapter 11,
§11.158(a)(11); Chapter 29, §29.902(a) and (b); Title 3, Chapter 51, TEC,
§51.308; and Title 7, Transportation Code, §521.003
(the Code for Public Schools)
Title 19, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 75
(the Rules for Public Schools)
For additional information, contact us.