Driver Education and Safety Programs New Rules Take Effect June 1 2023

Disciplinary proceedings by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) that arise from a complaint can lead to serious consequences that may endanger your career. Therefore, securing legal representation by an experienced driver education provider license defense lawyer at Bertolino LLP, can be critical from the outset of any complaint against you.

To maintain your licensure as a teacher, instructor, school, or course provider for driver education and safety programs, you must remain aware and current on law changes. In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed HB 1560, which modifies the Driver Education and Safety Program at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The purpose of the bill was to simplify the regulations concerning the program. 

All changes went into effect as of June 1, 2023. The only exception is that parent-taught driver education providers have until November 1, 2023, to obtain a driver education provider license. The following is a synopsis of the changes under HB 1560, which are now in effect.

Driver Education Teachers

HB 1560 created a new Driver Education Instructor license. As a result, all currently licensed driver education teachers, supervising teachers, and teaching assistants automatically received this new license as of June 1, 2023. Application and renewal fees are unchanged. 

Continuing education requirements are reduced to two hours in topics related to Driver Education, Driving Safety, or Instructional Techniques. Instructors are no longer required to have a high school diploma or a GED or undergo pre-education before hiring, although schools may require it. Instructors need only be responsible and qualified persons with valid Texas driver’s licenses for three years with no suspensions or revocations.

Driving Safety Instructor

Driving safety instructors no longer need to be licensed. Program providers may hire responsible and qualified persons to teach driving safety courses.

Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program Instructor (DADAP) and Schools

HB 1560 eliminated the DADAP license and schools as of June 1, 2023. Courts and the Texas Department of Public Safety may refer individuals to an Offender Education Course, which the TDLR regulates under Court Ordered Programs.

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Driver Education School

Under HB 1560, the Driver Education School license no longer exists but is replaced by the Driver Education Provider license. Accordingly, all current Driver Education School license holders received a Driver Education Provider license on June 1, 2023. 

Driver Education Providers must file a $10,000 bond with TDLR. Letters of credit and cash deposits instead of bonds are no longer permissible. No matter how many endorsements a provider receives, only one bond is required. 

Providers may apply to offer the adult course, the teen course, or both. Providers can apply to offer 32-hour teen and six-hour adult courses online and in person. Parent-taught courses are teen courses that can be offered online or through printed materials. The provider can offer the full course or the behind-the-wheel course. Schools no longer need Alternate Method of Instruction (AMI) approval to offer online courses, but they will need to obtain separate provider licenses to offer separate courses.

As mentioned above, parent-taught driver education providers have until November 1, 2023, to obtain a driver education provider license. These providers now must renew their licenses annually and pay an annual renewal fee.

Furthermore, TDLR will no longer review or approve driver education courses. However, the provider is responsible for ensuring that all courses meet curriculum standards established in the applicable laws and rules, including new topics required by recent legislation, including dangers of street racing, information about passing certain vehicles, and human trafficking. Therefore, providers are no longer required to pay course approval fees to TDLR.

HB 1560 has increased daily driver education hours to six hours per day, including in-car instruction. In-car instruction may not exceed four hours, with a maximum of two hours of behind-the-wheel instruction daily. 

Finally, Driver Education Providers must upload student certification data to TDLR electronically through a new system within 15 days after a student has completed each phase of the course.  

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Driving Safety Schools

HB 1560 eliminated these licenses as of June 1, 2023. Driving Safety Schools should continue to operate under the rules that existed before June 1, 2023. The legislation also de-regulated the following courses effective June 1, 2023:

  • 4-hour Driver Education continuing education course
  • Driver Education Instructor Development course
  • Younger-than-25 Driving Safety course
  • 4-hour Seatbelt course
  • Drug and Alcohol Awareness course

Since the law no longer requires that Driver Safety Instructors be licensed, any responsible and qualified individuals may act as instructors, including the providers themselves. Providers may offer six-hour driving safety courses online or in person that comply with Texas law, driver education and safety program administrative rules, and the Driving Safety Course of Organized Instruction (COI).

We Will Protect Your Driver Education Provider License Today

You can count on the experienced occupational license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, to take all steps necessary to protect your license and career. We will investigate the circumstances that led to your disciplinary proceedings and devise the best strategy for your case. Do not wait until it is too late for us to make a difference in the outcome of your case. Call us today at (512) 515-9518 or contact us online.

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