How safe are teenage drivers?

The Teenage and Adult Responsibility Act outlines the phases that Georgia teens must pass through before receiving full, unrestricted driving privileges.

Limited driving and life experience can make a teenager more dangerous when behind the wheel of a car than an adult. Georgia residents can look to the state's Teenage and Adult Responsibility Act as one way of helping to improve safety on the road. TADRA is essentially the state's Graduated Drivers' License program for teens, as noted by the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

GDL programs started showing up in different states in the mid to late 1990's. According to the National Institute of Health, every state plus the District of Columbia now has some such program. The Governors Highway Safety Association notes that GDL programs set up different phases for teen drivers to pass through. Upon successful completion of each phase, a driver can receive an unrestricted license. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a significant reduction in collisions with teenage drivers has been noted since GDL programs were enacted.

When can teens start driving in Georgia?

A teenager can begin driving with a Learner's Permit at the age of 15. The permit is also called a Class CP license and can be obtained upon successfully passing a written examination. With a permit, a teen is allowed to drive while supervised by an adult 21 or older. This person must be available to assume driving if the teen is unable to do so.

How long is the permit phase?

A teen must have a Class CP license for 12 months and one day before applying for a license. The teen can only apply for this license if no major traffic violations were recorded during the permit phase. A drivers' education course must also have been completed. The first license is the Intermediate Provisional License, or Class D license.

With an Intermediate Provisional License, teens must abide by the following rules:

  • For six months, a teen must limit passengers to immediate family only.
  • In the second six months with a Class D license, a teen can have one passenger under 21 who is not a relative in the vehicle.
  • After the first 12 months with a Class D license, a teen can have three passengers under 21 who are not relatives in the vehicle.
  • Driving cannot take place after midnight or before 5:00 a.m.

If the teen has not received any major traffic violations while holding the Class D license for 12 months and has turned 18 years of age, a Class C license can be obtained. With a Class C license, no restrictions are placed on the driver.

Help for accident victims

The Teenage and Adult Responsibility Act is a smart way to help reduce accidents in Georgia. However, it is not likely to prevent all accidents. When a crash does happen, victims should contact an attorney for help.