The Driver's Guide to Georgia

April 12, 2018

Sunny driving

Ahh, Georgia: home to warm breezes, sweet peaches and not-so-sweet traffic jams. (Did you know Atlanta is the 8th most congested city in the whole world?)

Whether you’re moving to Georgia or about to get your very first GA driver’s license, there are a few things you’ll need to know. That’s why we created this five-minute guide for Georgia drivers. And if you need cheap Georgia auto insurance, we know where to find it! Get personalized, unbiased insurance quotes — for free — on Compare.com.

Georgia Driver’s License Requirements

Just moved to Georgia? You have 30 days to apply for a Georgia driver’s license. If you already have a license from another state, you don’t have to take the written test and driving test again. (Whew.) You do, however, have to provide a bunch of documents: proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate, or proof of immigration; proof of name change, such as a marriage license, if your name is different from what your birth certificate says; proof of your social security number; and proof of your residential address. Here’s a checklist of all the documents you need for a Georgia driver’s license.

Georgia Driver’s License Requirements for Teens

Oh, wait — are you under 18? Then you have a whole other set of hoops to jump through (sorry). Georgia has a strict graduated driver’s license program for teenagers, which means you start out with restricted driving privileges. With the Class D Georgia license, teen drivers can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and have limits on how many passengers (other than family members) can be in the car. You also have to be a safe driver. If you have any major traffic convictions, such as DUI or reckless driving, you’ll have to wait a year to be eligible for your unrestricted Class C license.

Before you get your Georgia license, you’ll need to show all these documents:

  • Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) Certificate. Normally you’d take this at school, but you can also complete the program online
  • Georgia DDS Certificate of Attendance form notarized from your school
  • Valid learner’s license
  • Certificate from an approved driver’s education school or online program, or a completed parent guide that shows you met the road requirements
  • Signed affidavit by your parent or guardian showing that you spent 40 hours practicing on the road, including 6 hours at night. They’ll give you this form at the license office
  • Insurance card and registration for the car you’re going to use to take your driving test

Georgia Seat Belt Laws

In Georgia, anyone in the front seat of a moving passenger vehicle must wear a seat belt. However, the consequences for not wearing a seat belt are pretty minor: a $15 fine. If you’re driving a car in which a child over 8 isn’t buckled in, you can be fined $25.

Bodily Injury research

Any child under age 8 must be seated in the rear, in a booster seat or safety seat. If you’re caught breaking this law, you could get hit with a fine of $50 to $100. Keep in mind that Georgia’s booster seat law may not match the booster seat guidelines recommended by child safety experts. For example, AAA says children should use belt-positioning booster seats until they are at least 4’9″ and between 8 and 12 years old.

Georgia Distracted Driving Laws

In 2018, Georgia’s legislature voted to pass a hands-free driving law, which makes it illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless you have hands-free technology. Texting and driving has been illegal in Georgia since 2011.

There are a few quirks and exceptions to Georgia’s distracted driving law. You can’t hold or support a wireless communications device with any part of the body. (So don’t put the phone in your lap.) You can’t record or watch a video. And you can’t write, send or read any messages — although you can use your phone for navigation. You’re allowed to use a smartwatch, however, or an earpiece to talk on the phone. And you can use your phone while parked, but not while stopped at a stoplight.

Georgia Driver Safety Facts

  • As in other states, crash fatalities have been rising recently in Georgia. In 2016, 1,554 people died in traffic accidents
  • Of those fatalities, 368 were caused by alcohol-impaired driving
  • In Georgia, more than half of all fatal accidents in 2016 were single-vehicle accidents
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of Georgia crash fatalities in 2015 were attributed to people not wearing their seat belts
  • Most Georgians wear seat belts. (Good call.) In 2016, 97.2 percent of drivers and passengers used safety belts
  • About 12 percent of Georgia drivers don’t have car insurance. While that’s lower than the national average (13 percent), that’s still a lot of people driving uninsured! Protect yourself with car insurance that includes uninsured motorist coverage

If you’re ready to hit the road, make sure you’re protected with high-quality insurance that fits your budget. Here are our best tips for finding the cheapest car insurance in Georgia.

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