Georgia's Teen Driving Laws
Once upon a time, you turned 16 and you hit the road. Not anymore! Georgia, along with most other states, has a graduated driver’s license for teenagers, which means you gradually earn full driving privileges.
The restrictions placed on teen drivers — especially the curfew — can be frustrating, but they do save lives. Not only that, but they may help save money on Georgia car insurance for teens.
1. How Does Georgia’s Graduated Driver’s License Program Work?
The first step is getting your learner’s permit. In Georgia, you must be at least 15 and pass a road-rules knowledge test. With a learner’s permit, you can only drive when there’s an experienced driver sitting next to you in the passenger seat: someone who’s at least 21, has a valid Class C driver’s license, and can grab the wheel if necessary.
Once you’ve held a learner’s permit for 12 months and a day (without racking up any major traffic violations) and passed a road skills test, you get your Intermediate Provisional License, aka a Class D Georgia driver’s license. You only get an unrestricted license (Class C) after you turn 18 and have had no major traffic convictions for 12 months.
2. What Are the Laws Governing Georgia Teen Drivers?
There are several rules and restrictions placed on a Georgia Class D license. To get your provisional license:
- You must complete an approved driver education course
- You must have completed at least 40 hours of additional supervised driving, including at least six hours at night
- You must be enrolled in, or have graduated from, high school, or have a parent’s permission to withdraw from school, or have received a GED
Once you have your Class D license:
- You can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. No exceptions are granted, even if you have to work
- For the first six months, you can’t drive any passengers who aren’t members of your immediate family
- For the second six months, you can only have one passenger in your car who’s under 21 (and who’s not a member of your family). After that, you can’t have more than three under-21 passengers in your car
3. Why Does Georgia Gave All These Rules for Teen Drivers?
To save their lives. Let’s be real: Teens are bad drivers. They’re less experienced and they take more risks. Nationwide, six teenagers die every day in car accidents, according to the CDC. Having one nonfamily passenger in a teenager’s car increases the rate of a crash by 44 percent; with two passengers, that risk doubles, and with three or more, the risk quadruples.
Georgia’s teen driver laws seem to have helped. In the first five-and-a-half years after these rules (called the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, or TADRA) were enacted, fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers declined nearly 37 percent.
4. How Do Teen Driving Laws Affect Georgia Auto Insurance?
While teen drivers may chafe at the curfew, the driver’s license requirements may help them save money on Georgia auto insurance. For one thing, Georgia law allows insurance companies to offer discounts to people — including teens — who complete a driver education course. When you’re comparing quotes on Compare.com, be sure to check the box “yes” when we ask, “Have you completed any driver training classes in the past 3 years?” You may be eligible for a driver training discount.
Some teens (and parents) may benefit from telematics discounts on car insurance. This program means an insurer tracks certain driving data to assess a driver’s level of risk. If you avoid driving during curfew hours, while also avoiding hard braking, rapid acceleration and other risky behaviors, you may be rewarded with cheaper Georgia car insurance. Learn more about telematics/car-tracking auto insurance.
5. If I’m Already 17 or 18, Do I Still Need to Obey the Georgia Teen Driver Curfew?
Yes, you do! (Sorry) The restrictions on a Class D Georgia driver’s license aren’t affected by the age of the driver. So even if you’re 18, you still have to abide by the midnight-to-5 curfew. If you’re 18 and you haven’t had any major traffic convictions in the last 12 months, you can go ahead and apply for your unrestricted Class C license.
6. What Are the “Major Traffic Convictions” That Can Prevent me From Getting a Class C License?
- Eluding a police officer
- Drag racing
- Reckless driving
- Hit and run
- Any violation that results in four or more points on your license
7. How Can I Find Cheap Georgia Car Insurance for a Teen Driver?
There’s no avoiding the fact that car insurance for teens is really expensive. Adding a teenager to a parent’s insurance policy can result in a 50 to 100 percent jump in the premium. Don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to save on teen driver insurance.
If you’re a teenager, make sure you keep your grades above a B average, so you can qualify for a good-student discount. Drive an older car, so you can save money on comprehensive and collision insurance.
If you’re the parent, ask if your insurer offers an electronic monitoring program for teen drivers. Not only can these programs result in car insurance discounts, but some send reports to you, so you can keep track of your teen’s driving habits. You’ll also know if your child is violating the Georgia teen driver curfew.
And if your insurance rates skyrocket once your teen gets his or her license, shop around for a better deal. It only takes a few minutes to compare personalized, unbiased quotes on Compare.com — try it right now!