Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas Welcome to the Official Website for the Texas Senate
Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
May 12, 2009
(512) 463-0300


Sen. Wentworth
Senator Jeff Wentworth smiles during the debate on his measure to require driver's education for new adult drivers under 21.

(AUSTIN) — Drivers over 18 but younger than 21 would have to take a driver's education course before they could get a license, under a bill tentatively passed by the Senate Tuesday. Currently, an adult trying to get a driver's license for the first time must take a written and a road test, but not a driver's education course. SB 1317 author Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio said that young drivers that haven't taken an education course are more likely to have an accident than other groups, even 16 and 17 year-olds.

Wentworth said that these courses can be taken at more than 300 approved instruction companies, in person or on line. He said the course takes about six hours and costs around $35. The bill as drafted extended the requirement to drivers up to the age of 24, but the Senate voted in favor of an amendment by Houston Senator Dan Patrick to lower the requirement to drivers under 21. The bill will likely come up for a final vote Wednesday.

Other bills passed by the Senate Tuesday include:

- SB 1984, by Uresti, which would allow physician's assistants to certify a patient as eligible for a handicapped parking placard,

- HB 1622, sponsored by Zaffirini, which would increase access to healthy food for children at risk of hunger or obesity,

- HB 1510, sponsored by Jackson, which seeks to educate new parents about the risks of sudden infant death syndrome.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, May 13 at 11 a.m.

Sen. Harris, Sen. Shapleigh
Senator Chris Harris (left) of Arlington talks policy with El Paso Senator Eliot Shapleigh during Tuesday's session.
Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.