What is a Texas learners permit?
The Texas learners permit, also known as the learner license or restricted license, allows new drivers to get behind the wheel and start honing their driving skills under the supervision of a licensed driver, before attempting the driving test. If over 18, a restricted drivers license is issued instead of the learner’s permit. It has virtually identical restrictions and does not allow unsupervised driving until the licensee passes the driving test at the DPS or a certified third-party testing facility.
I am over 18, do I need a permit?
Technically speaking, the answer is no, drivers over 18 are not required to get a Texas learners permit prior to a driver's license and, if you feel comfortable with your driving skills, you can chance the driving test without obtaining a permit or a restricted license first. However, there are other requirements that need to be met. For new drivers 18 to 24 years old, the state of Texas requires completion of a six-hour (6-hour) Texas adult drivers ed course and completion of the Impact Texas Driver (ITD) program. The driver will also need to pass the road test and the Texas written driving test (the written drivers test is waived for those who complete a certified adult driver education program). The ITD program is to be completed after finishing the drivers ed course, but before taking the driving test. Certification of completion for the required adult driver education course and the ITD program must be provided at the DPS at the time of the application for a Texas drivers license, with the ITD certificate dated within 90 days of the appointment.
In addition to drivers ed and testing requirements, drivers will also need to provide documentation of Texas residency, proof of U.S. Citizenship (or Evidence of lawful presence in the U.S. will be needed if not a U.S. Citizen), proof of identity, and a social security number.
Texas Adult Driver Education
For new Texas drivers ages 18-24, completion of the Texas 6 hour driving course (adult driver education) is mandatory and the first step of the application process for both the learners and unrestricted drivers license (drivers license applicants 25 years old and older may choose to take the course to skip the permit test at the DPS office). The course is provided online and in a classroom, it covers the safety information needed to drive responsibly. Lessons include traffic flow, right-of-way rules, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving, such as use of a cell phone or other devices while driving. This can be completed prior to setting the DPS appointment.
With NextDoorDriving.com you may complete your Texas adult drivers ed online and receive the certificate of completion via email without leaving the comfort of your home . And the best thing of all? Completing Texas drivers ed means that you will not have to take the written driving test at your local DPS office – the permit test is integrated into the course, with a pass guarantee!
Impact Texas Drivers Program
The Impact Texas Driver program (ITD) is a program developed by the Texas DPS to address the problem of distracted driving and reduce the driver’s risk of being involved in a crash. The program is provided directly by the DPS and is completely free. The Impact Texas Driver (ITD) program comes in two flavors: the Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD) for ages 16-17, and the Impact Texas Adult Drivers (ITAD) for adults. Unlike the certificate for the adult drivers ed course, the Impact Texas Driver certificate is only valid for 90 days, so complete the adult driver education course first, then complete the ITD program within 90 days of the drivers license test appointment.
Permit Test vs Driving Test
As a first-time Texas driver’s license applicant who is over 18 years of age, there are two exams you need to concern yourself with. The driver's permit test (the written test) that covers road rules and traffic signs; and the actual road test. The next two paragraphs will provide an overview of each.
Texas Permit Test
The written driving test (also commonly known as the permit test in Texas) is required if you are a new driver (have not had a license before) in the state of Texas. Passing this test is a must before you can be issued with a Texas learners permit or a restricted license.
Texas Driving Test
The driving test (the actual road test) is a must for all first-time Texas drivers license applicants and, unlike with the driving permit test, there is no way around it. The driving test is usually administered by DPS staff, although it can be conducted by privately-owned third-party testing facilities (a certified third-party testing place is your only chance if you are looking for a walk in driving test in Texas). The test is taken in an applicant-provided vehicle with the DPS staff riding along to grade the driver through a pre-determined course or a route. Once you pass the DPS driving test, a temporary drivers license is issued to you on the spot and the permanent driver license is mailed to you within 90 days.
Note: If the driver has moved to Texas from another state, or Canada, where they held a valid, unexpired, driver's license, then both the written and driving tests are not needed; however, the driver must surrender their license from the other state within 90 days of moving to Texas.
Texas Learners Permit Rules & Restrictions
Drivers with a Texas learners permit or a restricted driver's license are only allowed to drive while being supervised by a licensed adult over 21 years of age, seated in the front passenger seat, during daytime hours. Additionally, learner permit holders under the age of 18 are restricted from using wireless communications devices, including hands-free devices.
How to Get a Learners Permit in Texas (Step-by-step)
Before going to the DPS / Driver License Office
- Sign up for the 6 hour adult driver education course and complete the course.
- Set an appointment with DPS for issuance of your Texas learners permit/entry-level restricted license
- Complete the Impact Texas Adult Drivers (ITAD) educational program and obtain your ITD certificate of completion (if you are planning to take the road test right away).
- Complete the driver's license application before arriving at the DMV.
While at the DPS / Driver License Office
- Take proof of completion / certificates for the 6 hour adult driving class & the Impact Texas Adult Drivers (ITAD) course with you to your DPS appointment
- Take needed documentation of Texas Proof of Residency, Proof of Identity, Social Security, and proof of Lawful Presence in the U.S. or U.S. Citizenship
- Provide your signature and thumbprints
- Have your picture taken
- Pay the drivers license fee
- Take and pass the vision exam
- Take and pass the knowledge test (if you did not complete the Texas drivers ed course online)
- Receive your Texas restricted license (learners permit)
- Take and pass the driving test.
- Receive your temporary Texas drivers license (the permanent license will arrive in the mail)
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get learners permit in Texas over 18?
If you wish to practice driving before taking the driving test for your Texas drivers license, you need to complete a Texas adult driver education course and the Texas Impact Driver (ITD) program administered by the DPS. Once both course are complete, you can apply for a restricted drivers license, which is equivalent to a learners permit.
Do you need a learner permit if you are over 18 in Texas?
You do not need a learner permit if you are over 18 to get your Texas driver license. However, if you wish to practice driving first, you may apply for a restricted drivers license first. A restricted driver's license is an equivalent of a learners permit for applicants who are over 18.
Do I need to take the behind-the-wheel exam to get my Texas learners permit?
No, but you will need to either pass the Texas written driving test before you can be issued with a learners permit or a restricted license. Completing a certified Texas adult driver education course will allow you to bypass this test.
Can I still get a Texas Learner Permit to drive if I am over 18?
No, the learners permit is only available for drivers license applicants who are under 18 years of age. A Texas learners permit for over 18 is known as a restricted drivers license.
Can I skip the Texas written knowledge test?
Yes, you can if you are at least 18 years old. The online Texas adult drivers ed course offered by NextDoorDriving.com has been certified by the Texas DPS to replace the permit test that is usually taken at the DPS.
Is there a Texas learner permit practice test?
Yes! You may work on a great selection of Texas driver license practice tests right here. However, completing the adult drivers ed course online will waive the need to take the written driving test, so we recommend that you take that route.
Can you drive by yourself with a permit at 18?
In Texas, even if you are 18, you are not permitted to drive alone while holding only a learner's permit. You must have a supervising driver seated next to you at all times. These restrictions apply until you pass your driving test and obtain a full, unrestricted driver's license. It is important to abide by all learners permit regulations.
Can I get my license at 18 without a permit in Texas?
The short answer is yes, you can obtain a Texas drivers license without applying for a learner’s permit first, provided you are able to pass the driving test. If you believe that you need some practice behind the wheel, it is best to apply for a restricted driver’s license first (an equivalent of a learner’s permit for adults) and take the driving test once you feel that you are ready. Note that you must still complete a Texas adult drivers education course, regardless of the route that you choose.
Can you practice driving without a permit when over 18?
In the state of Texas, you are not allowed to practice driving without a permit on public roads, even if you are over 18 years of age. If you do not have a valid driver's license (or a learner's permit), you are considered to be driving without a license, which can result in fines and penalties.