Driving is a responsibility, not a privilege. And to prove that you’re ready to handle that responsibility, the state of Georgia requires you to spend a certain number of hours learning how to be a safe driver and practicing your driving skills.
The number of hours you’ll need to invest in Georgia driver’s education depends on your age. Since January 1, 2007, all teens under 17 are subject to Joshua’s Law, which comes with increased driver’s ed requirements.
In this post, we’ll discuss how many hours of driver’s ed you’ll need to meet the Georgia state requirements for drivers your age.
Hours Required for Teens Under 18
In 2005, Senate Bill 226, better known as “Joshua’s Law” was passed by the Georgia General Assembly, creating formal driver’s ed requirements for teens under 17.
This bill was named after Joshua Brown, a teen who died in a single-car crash in 2003 after hitting a puddle and hydroplaning into a tree. After the accident, Joshua’s parents fought to require formal driver’s ed training for teenagers with the hope that future teens would be better prepared to handle difficult driving circumstances and get home safely.
As of July 1, 2021, all teens under the age of 18 will need to complete the drivers ed requirements laid out by Joshua's Law. This means that 17-year-olds are now required to complete a drivers education course in order to get their license.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) notes that there are four methods for meeting the requirements of Joshua’s Law:
How to meet the Joshua's Law driving hour requirements
30 hours of classroom instruction + six hours behind-the-wheel + 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian
30 hours of classroom instruction + completion of the 40-hour Parent-Teen Driving Guide (which includes supervised driving)
30 hours of online instruction + six hours behind-the-wheel + 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian
30 hours of online instruction + completion of the 40-hour Parent-Teen Driving Guide (which includes supervised driving)
Please note that all classroom instruction and online instruction must be taken through a DDS-approved driving school. And at least six of your 40 hours of supervised driving must take place after dark.
Hours Required for Anyone Aged 18 and Older
While drivers aged 18 and older are not required to provide proof of having completed 30 hours of formal driving instruction, they are required to complete 40 hours of supervised driving, six of which must take place after dark.
Even though proof of formal education isn’t required at this age, it is wise to take a driver’s ed course anyway. A driver’s ed course doubles as a defensive driving course in GA, so you’ll learn safe driving skills that may one day save your life or the life of someone you love.
With many Georgia defensive driving courses being available online at an affordable price, there’s no reason not to protect yourself by taking one. You’ll probably even save money on your car insurance by taking the course! According to Kathy Jones at Patrick Scarbrough’s State Farm Office, you can save “5% off your insurance cost on a full-coverage policy, and you get the discount for three years, so it’s well worth it.”
The Bottom Line
Everyone is legally required to complete 40 hours of supervised driving, six of which must take place at night. Only teens under 18 are required to show proof of completion of the 30-hour instructional training. But with this training saving lives (and money!), everyone regardless of age should take the 30-hour course.
*This article was updated on 6/24/2021.