In my last blog on teen driving, I discussed Georgia's graduated driver's license process for those ages 15-18. There are a lot of specific rules and requirements, but what does this mean practically speaking?
One important take away for parents is that regardless of your child's age, the restrictions associated with an Intermediate Provisional License, or a "Class D" license, are based on the class of the license and not the age of the driver. The Class D license is the license your child gets after they graduate from a learner's permit but are not given the full privileges, of a "Class C" license (which is what we as adults have).
This becomes problematic when teens who are 18 years old do not take the steps to apply for a full, class C license. They may believe that because of their age the curfew restrictions and passenger requirements do not apply. However, if they do not abide by these rules and are stopped by law enforcement, they could be given a citation and then have to face the hassle of going to juvenile court.
To make things more confusing, any teen driver, whether class D or C, under 21, can face a 6 month suspension of their driving privileges if they are convicted of certain offenses. These include offenses such as a DUI, or even speeding.
And, as I have touched on before, age distinctions in Georgia are not universal, so there is a lot to keep track of, and teen driving is no exception. Remember: at the age of 17, a teen must be prosecuted as an adult for all crimes. At the age of 18, a teen can register to vote, possess a full adult driver’s license, get married, and join the military. Then, at age 21, a teen can legally buy and drink alcohol.
A lot of the parents and kids I work with are not fully aware of these nuances, and I can understand why. However, pursuing education on the process, requirements, and restrictions can be helpful in preventing future headaches.
I would recommend becoming familiar with the information provided by the Georgia Department of Driver Services on their website and consider downloading their manuals or pick one up in person at a Customer Service Center. Good luck and safe driving!
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.