A Parent’s Timeline for Driving
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If you’re reading this, you may be like so many other parents who are struggling with the anxiety of facing the fact that their teenager is now “ready” to drive. I find that there are seemingly two levels of enthusiasm when it comes to would be teen drivers. Those who drag their parents in to sign up for lessons, and those who are being dragged in by their parents who are tired of playing chauffeur. Regardless of how we cross paths, the question always come up about why drivers ed isn’t being taught in school? What is the process? When can my teen start a driving course? This list goes on and on. While there is a ton of information available on TDLR and DPS websites, I find that the same questions seem to come up time and time again. The purpose of this article is to share with parents a simple time line to driving that may help ease some of the anxiety about the process. This timeline is merely a suggestion, parents should use their best judgment when it comes to their student driver. 12 -13 year old – Begin to ask your child simple driving questions on the way home from your daily commute, or whenever you take a drive. (ex: Why are there yellow lines on this road? What’s the name of the street your school is on?) This gets them observing the road early, which can ultimately pay off. 14 year old – At 14 year’s old it’s time for parents to start considering a driver education course. A parent taught course requires the parents to work hands on with their teen to provide the class room coursework. A driver education school provides the same instruction only the teen sits in class with a licensed instructor to learn the material. I highly recommend teens download the Texas Drivers Handbook from the DPS website and begin answering the questions in the back of the book. This prepares them for the permit test. 15 year old – The student may legally obtain a learner’s license at this point. Parents should begin gathering the documentation needed for the permit whether the student has started driver education or not. Verification of Enrollment from school can be tricky during the summer months, so it’s important not to wait until the tail end of the semester to get it. The Proof of Residency is another document that some parents struggled with. There are two forms required and Cell phone bills are not accepted. 16 year old – After maintaining a learner’s license for six months the student can now apply for a driver’s license at 16. The student is required to complete a 30-hour driving log in addition to completing the entire parent taught course. The key is if your student is in the parent taught course be sure that they are doing the modules daily. Once licensed, remember to remind your student about the Graduated Licensing rules which has several notable restrictions including a curfew from 12:00-5:00 a.m. With a plan in place, parents can enjoy the journey with your new chauffer . . . ahem . . . Student driver. Najaah Rashed I Teach Drive – 281-746-2288
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