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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 4TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING AND REGULATION
CHAPTER 84DRIVER EDUCATION AND SAFETY
SUBCHAPTER MCURRICULUM AND ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF INSTRUCTION
RULE §84.500Courses of Instruction for Driver Education Schools

(a) The educational objectives of driver training courses shall include, but not be limited to, promoting respect for and encouraging observance of traffic laws and traffic safety responsibilities of driver education and citizens; instruction on law enforcement procedures for traffic stops in accordance with provisions of the Community Safety Education Act (Senate Bill 30, 85th Regular Legislature (2017)); reducing traffic violations; reducing traffic-related injuries, deaths, and economic losses; the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems; 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.

(b) This subsection contains requirements for driver education courses. All course content and instructional material shall include current statistical data, references to law, driving procedures, and traffic safety methodology. For each course, curriculum documents and materials may be requested as part of the application for approval. For courses offered in a language other than English, the course materials shall be accompanied by a written declaration affirming that the translation of the course materials is true and correct in the proposed language presented. Such course materials are subject to the approval of the department prior to its use by a driver education school.

  (1) Minor and adult driver education course.

    (A) The driver education classroom phase for students age 14 and over shall consist of:

      (i) a minimum of 32 hours of classroom instruction. The in-car phase must consist of seven hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and seven hours of in-car observation in the presence of a person who holds a driver education instructor license; and

      (ii) 30 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, including at least 10 hours of nighttime instruction, in the presence of an adult who meets the requirements of Texas Transportation Code, §521.222(d)(2). The 30 hours of instruction must be endorsed by a parent or legal guardian if the student is a minor. Simulation hours shall not be substituted for these 30 hours of instruction. Driver education training endorsed by the parent is limited to one hour per day.

    (B) Schools are allowed five minutes of break per instructional hour for all phases. No more than ten minutes of break time may be accumulated for each two hours of instruction.

    (C) Driver education course curriculum content, minimum instruction requirements, and administrative guidelines for classroom instruction, in-car training (behind-the-wheel and observation), simulation, and multicar range shall include the educational objectives established by the department in the POI-DE and meet the requirements of this subchapter. In addition, the educational objectives that must be provided to every student enrolled in a minor and adult driver education course shall include information relating to human trafficking prevention in accordance with the provisions of the Julia Wells Act (Senate Bill 1831, Section 3, 87th Regular Legislature (2021)); litter prevention; anatomical gifts; safely operating a vehicle near oversize or overweight vehicles; the passing of certain vehicles as described in Transportation Code §545.157; the dangers and consequences of street racing; leaving children in vehicles unattended; distractions; motorcycle awareness; alcohol awareness and the effect of alcohol on the effective operation of a motor vehicle; and recreational water safety.

    (D) Driver education schools that desire to instruct students age 14 and over in a traditional classroom program shall provide the same beginning and ending dates for each student in the same class of 36 or less. No student shall be allowed to enroll and start the classroom phase after the seventh hour of classroom instruction has begun.

    (E) Students shall proceed in the sequence identified by and approved for that school.

    (F) Students shall receive classroom instruction from an instructor who is approved and licensed by the department. An instructor shall be in the classroom and available to students during the entire 32 hours of instruction, including self-study assignments. Instructors shall not have other teaching assignments or administrative duties during the 32 hours of classroom instruction.

    (G) Videos, tape recordings, guest speakers, and other instructional media that present concepts required in the POI-DE may be used as part of the required 32 hours of traditional classroom instruction.

    (H) Self-study assignments occurring during regularly scheduled class periods shall not exceed 25 percent of the course and shall be presented to the entire class simultaneously.

    (I) Each classroom student shall be provided a driver education textbook designated by the commissioner or access to instructional materials that are in compliance with the POI-DE approved for the school. Instructional materials, including textbooks, must be in a condition that is legible and free of obscenities.

    (J) A copy of the current edition of the "Texas Driver Handbook" or instructional materials that are equivalent shall be furnished to each student enrolled in the classroom phase of the driver education course.

    (K) Each student, including makeup students, shall be provided their own seat and table or desk while receiving classroom instruction. A school shall not enroll more than thirty-six (36) students, excluding makeup students, and the number of students may not exceed the number of seats and tables or desks available at the school.

    (L) When a student changes schools, the school must follow the current transfer policy developed by the department.

    (M) All classroom phases of driver education, including makeup work, shall be completed within the timelines stated in the original student contract. This shall not circumvent the attendance and progress requirements.

    (N) All in-car lessons shall consist of actual driving instruction. No school shall permit a ratio of more than four students per instructor or exceed the seating and occupant restraint capacity of the vehicle used for instruction. Schools that allow one-on-one instruction shall notify the parents in the contract.

    (O) A student must have a valid driver's license or learner license in his or her possession during any behind-the-wheel instruction.

    (P) All in-car instruction provided by the school shall begin no earlier than 5:00 a.m. and end no later than 11:00 p.m.

    (Q) A school may use multimedia systems, simulators, and multicar driving ranges for in-car instruction in a driver education program. Each simulator, including the filmed instructional programs, and each plan for a multicar driving range must meet state specification developed by DPS and the department. A licensed driver education instructor must be present during use of multimedia systems, simulators, and multicar driving ranges.

    (R) Four periods of at least 55 minutes per hour of instruction in a simulator may be substituted for one hour of behind-the-wheel instruction and one hour of in-car observation. Two periods of at least 55 minutes per hour of multicar driving range instruction may be substituted for one hour of behind-the-wheel instruction and one hour of in-car observation relating to elementary or city driving lessons. However, a minimum of four hours must be devoted to actual behind-the-wheel instruction.

    (S) In a minor and adult driver education program, a student may apply to the DPS for a learner license after completing the objectives found in Module One: Traffic Laws of the POI-DE.

    (T) Each school owner that teaches driver education courses shall collect adequate student data to enable the department to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the driver education course in reducing the number of violations and accidents of persons who successfully complete the course. The department may determine a level of effectiveness that serves the purposes of the Code.

    (U) The instructor shall be physically present in appropriate proximity to the student for the type of instruction being given. A licensed supervising teacher, licensed driver education teacher or school owner shall sign or stamp all completed classroom instruction records.

  (2) Driver education course exclusively for adults. Courses offered in a traditional classroom setting or online to persons who are age 18 to under 25 years of age for the education and examination requirements for the issuance of a driver's license under Texas Transportation Code, §521.222(c) and §521.1601, must be offered in accordance with the following guidelines.

    (A) Traditional approval process. The department may approve a driver education course exclusively for adults to be offered traditionally if the course meets the following requirements.

      (i) Application. The driver education school shall submit a completed application along with the appropriate fee.

      (ii) Instructor license required. Students shall receive classroom instruction from a licensed supervising teacher or driver education teacher.

      (iii) Minimum course content. The driver education course exclusively for adults shall consist of six clock hours of classroom instruction that meets the minimum course content and instruction requirements contained in the POI-Adult Six-Hour.

      (iv) Course management. An approved adult driver education course shall be presented in compliance with the following guidelines.

        (I) The instructor shall be physically present in appropriate proximity to the student for the type of instruction being given. A licensed supervising teacher, licensed driver education teacher or school owner shall sign or stamp all completed classroom instruction records.

        (II) A copy of the current edition of the "Texas Driver Handbook" or study material that is equivalent shall be furnished to each student enrolled in the course.

        (III) Self-study assignments, videos, tape recordings, guest speakers, and other instructional media that present topics required in the course shall not exceed 150 minutes of instruction. PowerPoint slides or equivalent software solutions are considered to be approved teaching aids and does not fall into the restricted media aids.

        (IV) Each student, including makeup students, shall be provided their own seat and table or desk while receiving classroom instruction. A school shall not enroll more than 36 students, excluding makeup students, and the number of students may not exceed the number of seats and tables or desks available at the school.

        (V) All classroom instruction, including makeup work, shall be completed within the timelines stated in the original student contract.

        (VI) A minimum of 330 minutes of instruction is required.

        (VII) The total length of the course shall consist of a minimum of 360 minutes.

        (VIII) Thirty minutes of time, exclusive of the 330 minutes of instruction, shall be dedicated to break periods or to the topics included in the minimum course content.

        (IX) Students shall not receive a driver education certificate of completion unless that student receives a grade of at least 70 percent on the highway signs examination and at least 70 percent on the traffic laws examination as required under Texas Transportation Code, §521.161.

        (X) The driver education school shall make a material effort to establish the identity of the student.

    (B) Online approval process. The department may approve a driver education course exclusively for adults to be offered online if the course meets the following requirements.

      (i) Application. The driver education school shall submit a completed application along with the appropriate fee.

      (ii) Request for approval. The request for approval must include a syllabus cross-reference, contract, and instructional records.

      (iii) School license required. A person or entity offering an online driver education course exclusively for adults must hold a driver education school license.

        (I) The driver education school shall be responsible for the operation of the online course.

        (II) Students shall receive classroom instruction from a licensed supervising teacher or driver education teacher.

      (iv) Course content. The online course must meet the requirements of the course identified in §1001.1015 of the Code.

        (I) Course topics. The course requirements described in the POI-Adult Six-Hour shall be met.

        (II) Length of course. The course must be six hours in length, which is equal to 360 minutes. A minimum of 330 minutes of instruction must be provided. Thirty minutes of time, exclusive of the 330 minutes of instruction, shall be dedicated to break periods or to the topics included in the minimum course content. All break periods shall be provided after instruction has begun and before the comprehensive examination and summation.

        (III) Required material. A copy of the current edition of the "Texas Driver Handbook" or study material that is equivalent shall be furnished to each student enrolled in the course.

        (IV) Editing. The material presented in the online course shall be edited for grammar, punctuation, and spelling and be of such quality that it does not detract from the subject matter.

Cont'd...

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