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Graduated Drivers License (GDL)

  • Lack of driving experience and the inclination towards risk-taking behavior places teenagers in a high-risk group when it comes to driving. Many studies show that approximately twenty-five percent of all teen drivers either receive a ticket or are involved in a traffic collision during their first year of driving. Many of those accidents result in injury or death of those in the vehicle and other drivers on the road. This is why, in 1997, Georgia enacted the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) which is comprised of a number of laws that designed to address this issue. One law included in the act was the Graduated Drivers License (GDL) law. The GDL system was designed to ensure that teenagers are fully aware of the risks they may face on the road and are prepared to meet the challenge. Another new law called "Joshua's Law" was passed during the 2005 General Assembly and became effective on January 1, 2007. According to this law for teens, all 16-year-olds applying for a Class D drivers license must complete an approved driver education course and complete a total of 40 hours of supervised driving.

    The first step is obtaining an instruction permit / learners permit. In order to be eligible for a permit, the young driver must be at least 15 years old at the time of application and pass both vision and written knowledge tests. Once a permit has been issued, he or she may drive a vehicle when accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older. A teen driver must hold the learners permit for at least 12 months before he or she can apply for a driving test. During this period, the applicant must complete the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) and an approved drivers education course. He/she must also complete a 40 hours of supervised driving, 6 hours of which must be at night.

    Once the teen satisfies the above requirements, he or she may schedule an appointment for the driving test and be issued with a provisional / intermediate drivers license. The provisional license allows unsupervised driving but poses the following restrictions:

    • The provisional license holder is not allowed to drive a vehicle between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
    • In the first six months after license issuance, the holder is not allowed to have any passengers in the vehicle unless they are members of the driver's immediate family.
    • In the second six months (month 6-12) after license issuance, only one person under 21 who is not an immediate relative may ride in the car.
    • Twelve months after license issuance, the holder is not allowed to have more than three passengers under 21 years old who are not members of the driver's immediate family in the vehicle.
    • The driver may not drive under the influence.

    Also, if you are under 18 years of age, and you drop out of school and remain out of school for 10 consecutive days, have a total of 10 unexcused absences, or have certain conduct infractions, your Georgia drivers license or instructional permit will be suspended.

    If the driver observes the limitations listed above & has no convictions for traffic offences, the restrictions will be lifted when the driver reaches the age of 18.

    Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the GA DDS. You can visit the GA DDS website or call (678) 413-8600 in Atlanta or (866) 754-3687 (outside Atlanta) for general drivers license and registration information.

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