The driving exam is given only after all other exams are passed and evidence of financial responsibility is presented or the vehicle is exempt under the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act. The type of vehicle used for the driving exam must match the class of license on the application. No one less than 18 years of age is exempt from taking the driving exam.
Individuals may take a driving exam at a driver license office or through a third party skills testing (TPST) school. The TPST program started September 1, 2014. The program permits certain schools to administer the non-commercial driving exam. Individuals who take and pass the driving exam through an approved TPST school must present the sealed envelope prepared by the TPST school in order for the exam to be waived at the driver license office.
Individuals who complete the DPS-approved motorcycle operator training course are not required to take a driving exam for a Class M license if the person already has a valid, unrestricted Texas license. Individuals less than 18 years of age must pass the motorcycle driving exam.
Additionally, the driving exam is not required for anyone applying for a learner license.
A $10 exam fee is required when changing from a lower to a higher class license or when removing restrictions from a license. The cost of adding a Class M to an existing license is $15.
Description of the Driving Exam
During the driving exam, you will not be asked to do anything illegal. You must follow all of the instructions given by the customer service representative (CSR). Do not carry on a conversation during the driving exam.
If you are not eligible to drive in Texas, a licensed driver must drive the car to the driver license office and exam area. If you are not issued a driver license then the licensed driver should also drive you away from the driver license office.
Upon completion of the driving exam, the CSR will explain all driving errors and let you know how to correct those errors.
Your application for a license will not be approved if you:
- Violate the law
- Refuse to follow instructions
- Drive dangerously or have a crash
- Have more than 30 points deducted on the driving exam
All drivers are graded on four basic skills, regardless of the type of driving exam.
- Control – Your ability to make your car do what you want it to do
- Observation – Your ability to see what other traffic is doing and other things that may create problems in traffic
- Positioning – Your ability to drive in your lane
- Signaling – Your ability to use turn signals as required
You may be graded on your performance on the following skills so it is good to practice before taking the driving exam.
a. Parallel parking (you may use the back-up camera on your vehicle for parallel parking; however, the use of an automated vehicle parking function will not be allowed)
b. Quick stop – You may be asked to stop your car as quickly as possible at about 20 mph without skidding your tires
c. Backing – Your ability to back the car for a distance of about 60 feet at a slow rate of speed and as straight and smoothly as possible. Turn and look back at all times while backing or you may use the back-up camera and mirrors on your vehicle while backing; however, the use of an automated vehicle parking function will not be allowed
d. Stop signs
e. Traffic signals
f. Use of clutch – On standard transmissions, hold the clutch all the way down when starting the motor, shifting gears, when stopping, and once your speed drops below 10 mph. Do not drive with your foot resting on the clutch
g. Intersection observance – Use the proper lane; slow down and look both ways before entering the intersection
j. Following, passing, and proper lane observance
k. Posture – Keep hands on steering wheel; don’t rest your elbow on the window
Pass or Fail Driving Exam
If you do not pass the driving exam, you will need to schedule time for another driving exam. If you pass the driving exam, always carry your license with you when driving and upon request, show it to:
- Any peace officer, sheriff, constable, judge, justice of the peace, or state trooper
- Anyone with whom you are involved in a crash