Getting a driver’s license used to be a teenage rite of passage that implied growing freedom, but today comes with significant restrictions and oversight, as well as substantial penalties for running afoul of teenage driving regulations.
Revamping of the Requirements
States across the country have been revamping drivers license requirements for teenagers since the late 1990s in an effort to prevent what had been a growing number of teen driving-related fatalities. Georgia’s revamped teenage driving laws are dictated by Joshua’s Law and the Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act.
Along with increasing the scope of driver’s education, they also established a graduated licensing process for teenagers, placed specific restrictions on teenage drivers, and mandated strict penalties for teenagers failing to obey motor vehicle and alcohol laws.
Georgia’s Graduated Process for Getting a Driver’s License
Class D Driver’s License
To receive a Class D license, drivers must first complete a state approved driver education course, and must have completed a cumulative 40 hours of supervised driving experience with at least six hours at night. Class D license holders must abide by the following regulations:
Along with the above noted restrictions, instructional permit holders and Class D drivers must be enrolled in school, or have graduated, and cannot accumulate more than 10 days of unexcused absences during an academic year. The state will also suspend instructional permits or Class D licenses for a number of different offenses committed on school grounds, such as threatening or striking a teacher, possession of a weapon, possession or sale of drugs, assault causing physical harm, and certain sexual offenses.
Penalties for Class C and Class D Licenses
A full (Class C) license is granted to drivers 18 and older who have held the Class D license and incurred no major driving violations for the preceding 12 months. However, Class C drivers under the age of 21 face the same penalties as Class D license and instructional permit holders for breaking certain motor vehicle and alcohol laws. More specifically, all drivers under the age of 21 face a minimum six-month license suspension for convictions of the following infractions:
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.