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New Teen Driver Education Program Encourages Teens, Parents to Work Toward Licensure

On April 1, 1997, Texas implemented a Parent-Taught Driver Education Program.

The program, available to teens between ages 14 to 17, requires mastery of the applicable Texas traffic laws, rules and procedures for operating and owning an automobile. Each student also must learn the benefits of occupant protections, the use of space-management systems, factors and behaviors that impact driver performance–including alcohol and other drugs, and the protection of Texas natural resources, including litter prevention.

However, before the parent, stepparent, grandparent, step-grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian begins teaching a teen, the instructor must have a valid TEXAS driver license for the preceding three years. Active U.S. military personnel and their spouse may participate as instructors if they hold a valid license from their state of permanent residence or last duty station for the preceding three years.

“The course we are offering meets the 32-hour classroom requirement by the State of Texas prior to a young person getting behind the wheel for the 14-hour parent-led training,” said Lorie Qualls, program manager. “Once the classroom and behind the wheel training are completed, the teen will be eligible to take their test for Texas licensure.”

The class, which begins Jan. 26, meets Monday through Thursday from 6-8 p.m., through Feb. 23–a total of 20 meetings. All classes will be held on the Lone Star College - North Harris campus at 2700 W. W. Thorne Drive. Tuition is $144, which includes everything needed to learn the requirements.  

Enrollment is open to prospective teen drivers and their parents.

“Schools in our area have largely moved away from teaching driver education because of the costs and associated liabilities,” Qualls explained. “The state has begun to allow parents to become more involved in this training and area school districts needed a place where students could have this training and fulfill the requirements for licensure. By offering this classroom training, our college can respond to the needs to teens and their parents in this community.”

Qualls said once the 32 hour classroom requirement and 14 hours behind the wheel training are completed, the parent-instructor completes a form required by the Texas Department of Public Safety and presents proof the teen has attended the class offered by Lone Star College-North Harris (the DL-964E form, which the class instructor will issue upon successful completion of the classroom instruction), the teen can take his/her licensure exam.

“This law has been in effect for a couple of years now,” Qualls said, “and was meant to help people in outlying areas who didn’t have access to formalized driver training programs.

“Our class is designed for students of any age, wishing to get a Texas Driver’s permit,” she continued, “and will prepare students to sit for Texas Driver Permit examination, administered through the Texas Department of Public Safety. The course satisfies the 32-hour in-class instruction required by the state for those seeking to apply for a Texas Drivers Permit.”

For more information or to register for the class, contact Qualls at 281.765.7751 or 281.618.5602.

Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. It is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

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Dec. 11, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            

Media Contact:
C.C. Sutphen
281.618.5425, desk
281.639.6581, cell