Texas Rating: Caution

traffic-yellowTexas needs improvement because of gaps in Advocates’ recommended optimal laws, as reported in the 2019 Roadmap Report.

Highway Safety Laws Needed

  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL- Stronger Supervised Driving Requirement
  • GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction
  • GDL – Passenger Restriction (Without S)
  • GDL- Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Current Optimal Highway Safety Laws

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front & Rear)
  • Booster Seat Law
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction Provision
Ignition Interlocks for All Offenders
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction

*States are credited with having laws only if their laws meet Advocates’ optimal criteria

Hot Now: Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

In 2017, 523 people were killed in crashes involving young drivers in Texas.

The current GDL law in Texas includes the following components:

  • A three-stage licensing system beginning at age 15 for learner’s permit, age 16 for the intermediate stage, and age 18 for full licensure
  • A mandatory 6 month holding period for the learner’s permit stage
  • A minimum of 30 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner’s permit stage, at least 10 of which must be at night
  • A prohibition on unsupervised nighttime driving between midnight and 5 a.m. during the intermediate stage (secondary enforcement)
  • A passenger restriction prohibiting more than one passenger younger than age 21 (secondary enforcement)
  • A prohibition on non-emergency use of hand-held and hands-free cell phones during the first twelve months of the intermediate stage
  • A prohibition on texting while driving for the first twelve months of the intermediate stage and for all drivers while in school crossing zones

These changes are needed to improve Texas’s GDL law and meet optimal GDL provisions

  • Require age 16 for entry into the learner’s permit stage
  • Extend all restrictions on teen drivers through age 17
  • Require 30-50 hours of supervised driving during the learner’s permit stage
  • Require teen nighttime driving restrictions
  • Require passenger restrictions for teen drivers (primary enforcement)

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