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Drivers Ed Curriculum

For teens, Texas driver’s education classes are required to consist of at least 32 hours of classroom instruction, 7 hours of in-car observation, and 7 hours of driving practice. Students must make up any missed classes before the school can issue a certificate of completion. Driving simulators can be substituted for some of the in-car instruction requirement, but driving schools must devote at least four hours of the course to actual in-car instruction. Texas driving schools can divide up these time requirements into one of two formats: block format, in which the 32 hours of classroom time are completed before any in-car instruction can take place, or concurrent classes, in which part of each day is spent in the classroom and part of the day is spent in the car.

The state requires Texas driving schools for teens to enter into a contract with the student's parent or guardian.  The contract provides information about the length and content of lessons provided during the course, acceptable conduct during the course, payment terms and also how long a student has to make up missed course sections before he or she loses credit. It's important to read the contract carefully so that you are aware of what the driving school's policies are in case of a dispute.

Each Texas driving school's curriculum must be approved by the Texas State Education Association, and it must promote the following educational objectives:

Promoting respect for and encouraging observance of traffic laws and traffic safety responsibilities of driver education and citizens; reducing traffic violations; reducing traffic-related injuries, deaths, and economic losses; and motivating development of traffic-related competencies through education, including, but not limited to, Texas traffic laws, risk management, driver attitudes, courtesy skills, and evasive driving techniques (Texas Education Code §176.1007).

In addition to providing students with the above information and skills, Texas driver's ed courses are also required to provide information on litter, organ donation, drunk driving, and the hazards of leaving small children alone in a car on a hot Texas day. Basically, all Texas driver’s ed courses cover the same topics, but the presentation of the material can vary widely from course to course. Periodically, instructors administer quizzes and tests to keep track of students' progress.

Most classes also show some instructional videos. Audiovisual material can be any material that furthers the educational objectives of the course-gory "scare 'em straight" videos are not required by law, but are often shown to give teenagers a better understanding of the serious consequences that poor driving decisions can have. If you are a parent and you don't want your child exposed to graphic depictions of highway accidents, you should check with the course provider before you sign your child up.

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