What you need to know about Georgia’s graduated license program

The Georgia graduated license program places restrictions on young drivers.

If you have a teenager who’s about to get their Georgia learner’s permit or driver’s license, there are a few things you need to know about the Georgia graduated license program. See, when your teen gets their license, they can’t just go driving around all hours of the night with as many passengers as they want. Their license has restrictions until they turn 18. As time goes by, those restrictions are loosened until the driver turns 18 and all limitations are lifted. We’ll explain how the Georgia graduated license program works.

Georgia’s Graduated License Program: TADRA

Before we break down each “step” in the Georgia licensing process, let’s talk a little about the program itself.

TADRA, or the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, is the system that allows drivers aged 15-18 to “graduate” to less restrictive licensing as they gain driving experience. TADRA places limitations on when newly licensed drivers are allowed to drive and how many passengers they can have in the car. It was passed in an effort to prevent accidents and fatalities among young, teenaged drivers. The restrictions placed on these newly licensed drivers are meant to increase their safety and lower their likelihood of being in a crash.

(Note: TADRA is also known as Joshua’s Law.)

The Three Steps of Georgia’s Graduated License Program:

Phase One: The learner’s permit.

The first step is to get a learner’s permit (a.k.a. instructional permit.) In Georgia, a teenager can get a permit when they’re 15 if they successfully pass the written exam. As they’re learning to drive, the teenager must be accompanied by a driver who has a valid Class C license and who is over 21 years of age.

The first step of the Georgia graduated license system is getting a learner's permit.

Phase Two: The Intermediate License (Class D)

Teenagers aged 16-18 are eligible for a Class D license if they’ve had their learner’s permit for 12 months and passed their driving test. If the teenager is 16, they cannot get their license unless they’ve completed an approved driver’s ed class. Seventeen-year-olds do not need a driver’s ed class.

(However, any driver aged 16 or 17 must have completed 40 hours of supervised driving experience, and six of those hours must be at night.)

There are restrictions for drivers who have a Class D license:

  • They cannot drive between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • They can only have a certain number of passengers in the car.
    • For the first six months after getting their license, no passenger that is not an immediate family member can be in the car.
    • For the second six months, only one passenger (who is not immediate family) that is under age 21 can be in the vehicle.
    • After one year, no more than three other passengers (under age 21) who are not immediate family members can be in the vehicle.
  • They have to meet Joshua’s Law requirements.
    • Any sixteen-year-old who gets a Class D license must have completed a driver’s ed class approved by the Dept. of Driver’s Services.
    • They also must have completed 40 hours of other supervised driving with at least six hours of night driving.

Phase Three: The full license (Class C)

When a teenager reaches age 18, they can graduate to a Class C license and the driving restrictions are lifted. Their Class D license must be valid and they cannot have been convicted of any major traffic violations to get a Class C license.

Also, keep in mind that Georgia does not tolerate underage drinking and driving. Any underage (under 21) driver with a blood-alcohol level of .08 grams or more will have their license suspended for 12 months on the first offense.

Teen driver safety.

As a parent, it’s important that you explain these restrictions to your teen and make sure they know to respect them. As we said, the restrictions are to keep the teenager safer and reduce traffic accidents among newly licensed drivers.

The reasoning behind the restrictions is sound. Night driving is a different story than driving during the day. Bright headlights make it tricky to see and react to hazards in time – teens just don’t have a lot of experience with night driving. As for passengers, they’re distracting. They can cause a teenager to lose focus on driving.

Along with ensuring that your teenager follows the restrictions of their license, you as a parent can do the following to keep your teen driver safe.

  • Talk to them about the dangers of texting and driving.
  • Have them practice a lot.
  • Set a good example.
  • Set some rules for driving and using the car.
  • Get them a safe vehicle.
  • Encourage seatbelt use.
  • Make sure they don’t drive tired.

Georgia’s graduated license program (TADRA) is intended to keep newly licensed drivers safe by placing limitations on when they’re allowed to drive and how many passengers they can have in the car. Be sure to talk to your teenager about the restrictions and understand why it’s so important to follow them.

And, of course, it’s important to get great Atlanta teen auto insurance. Our agents can help you shop for quality coverage at a great rate. Yes, teen auto insurance can be expensive, but we can help you save money while getting your new driver the coverage they need. Get started with car insurance quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.