Getting your driver's license is an exciting time for a teenager. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. To help keep more teens safe on the road, Georgia has been steadily increasing the requirements for new teen drivers. The most recent change means that more education will be required.
What Are the New Teen Driver Education Requirements in Georgia?
As of July 1, 2021, 17-year-olds getting their Class D license will need to complete Joshua's Driving Training Requirements.
"Previously, 40 hours of supervised driving was the only requirement," explained police officer and consultant for Car Insurance Comparison, Rick Musson.
Before this bill passed, 17-year-olds were exempt from the 30 hours of driver's ed instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Now, both 16- and 17-year olds will need to complete them before they can get their licenses.
What Is Joshua's Law?
Joshua's Law consists of a list of driver education requirements for teens under 18. It offers four methods of qualifying for a driver's license, including:
Method 1: Complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training at a school approved by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). Plus, complete 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent or legal guardian.
Method 2: Complete 30 hours of classroom instruction at a DDS-approved school. Plus, complete the Parent-Teen Driving Guide.
Method 3: Complete an online course and six-hour behind-the-wheel training from a DDS-approved school. Plus, log 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent or legal guardian.
Method 4: Complete an online course from a DDS-approved school. Plus, complete the Parent-Teen Driving Guide.
As long as you qualify via one of the methods, you will be able to apply for your restricted license.
"Once you receive a restricted license, you’ll have to follow the outlined restrictions," said Officer Musson. These include:
During the first six months of having your license, only immediate family members can be passengers while you drive.
During the next six-month period, teens may have one non-family member under the age of 21 as a passenger while driving.
One year after obtaining a restricted license, you may have three non-family members under the age of 21 as passengers while driving. You may not drive between the hours of midnight and 5:00 am.
"Once you’re 18 years old, you’re eligible for an unrestricted license," he concluded.
Where Did Joshua's Law Come From?
Joshua Brown was a 17-year-old teen from Georgia who died in a car crash in 2003. While driving on the highway in the rain, his truck hit a puddle, hydroplaned, and crash into a tree. Joshua's father, Alan Brown, wrote a new law requiring more training for teen drivers and presented it to his state senator. This law became Senate Bill 226, aka Joshua's Law, and was passed in 2007.
Mr. Brown has since helped to pass three national teen driving laws along with teen driving laws in 13 other states. Since the law went into effect in 2007, teen driver fatalities have decreased by 60%.
How to Get a License in Georgia
Ready to start the process of getting your license? DriversEd.com is a DDS-approved online school that makes it easy and convenient. Complete your 30 hours of required coursework online when it fits into your schedule. We offer interactive lessons that cover everything on the DDS test, plus unlimited practice tests. Once you finish, you'll get a Certificate of Completion and can earn a half Carnegie Unit towards graduation!