The Driver's Guide to Texas
Whether you have a big, Texas truck, or a little Toyota Prius, to operate a motor vehicle in Texas, you need to get licensed and get insured. As with any state, there are specific procedures and laws for meeting all of the requirements. Luckily, we’ve laid it all for you in this handy guide.
Think you already know all this? Ready to compare Texas car insurance prices? Start here.
Texas License Requirements
Okay, let’s start at the beginning. To get your driver’s license in Texas, applicants must present documents that verify identity. Make sure you bring your Social Security Number, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence status, as well as proof of Texas residency. This could be a bank statement or paycheck with your residential address on it.
You must also show proof of vehicle registration and liability insurance for all vehicles registered in your name. Finally, you have to pass the road knowledge and driving tests (don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you think!).
For drivers under 18, the Texas DMV has a few early options on your way to a full US license. If you can demonstrate a pressing need, such as economic hardship, illness or death in the family, or a requirement for a vocational educational program, you can receive a Minor’s Restricted Driver’s License (MRDL) before you’ve even hit 15 years old.
After your 15th birthday, you can acquire a learner’s license with parental permission. You’ll need to prove you’re enrolled in (or have recently graduated from) school and you’ll need to complete a form of driver’s ed. After six months with a MRDL, you can apply for your permit, which is valid until you turn 18 years old. Then it’s time to get your fully fledged US drivers’ license.
Just cos you’ve passed your test, doesn’t mean you can keep your license forever. Going too fast, drink driving or racking up too many points can result in your license being revoked. State laws vary widely when it comes to the rules of the road, but here are a few of the basic laws in Texas to keep you safe and on the right side of the law.
Texas Seat Belt Laws
Texas laws take driver safety very seriously. That means that a police offer can pull you over, even if the only thing you’re doing wrong is not wearing a seat belt. And it’s not just a slap on the wrist, you can get a fine up to $50 if you’re over 17 years old and up to an eye watering $200 if you’re under 17. Child seats are also under scrutiny, with a $200 fine imposed for improperly buckled up babies. That’s not even including court costs, additional driving courses and time off work, so make sure you buckle up on the roads.
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
In Texas, it is illegal to use a your phone while in a school zone, whether you’re texting or just making a quick phone call. If you need to make a call, just make sure it’s hands-free, to make sure you can stay within the law. Fines for getting caught on your phone are between $25 – $99 and can creep up to $200 for repeat offenders.
Texas has had substantial criticism in the past for being one of the last states to implement distracted driving laws. In 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill making texting and driving illegal from September 1st. This will help to prevent thousands of crashes and fatal accidents due to distracted driving every year.
Texas Driver Safety Facts
Each year, The Texas Department of Transportation releases a report, summarizing the state’s number of highway accidents, citations and fatalities. The report offers some interesting and potentially useful information on trends in highway safety. It also serves to reinforce the importance of having good car insurance. Look at some of The Texas Department of Transporation’s shocking statistics:
- In 2016, Texas saw a rise in highway fatalities, a staggering increase of 19% from 5 years ago
- As in previous years, there wasn’t a single day in 2016 that someone wasn’t killed on the roads
- The highest number of alcohol-related car accidents resulting in a fatality, happen Sunday 2am – 3am
- Statistically speaking, 22 year-old males are most likely to die in a car accident out of all ages and genders
Getting car insurance if you have a checkered record can be tough, especially if you don’t want to pay the usual high prices that come along with it. Compare.com works with a number of insurers in Texas who are open to taking drivers deemed as ‘high-risk’. They actually specialize in drivers that struggle to get coverage elsewhere. Get a quote with Compare.com today and see how much you could save!