Georgia and states across the U.S. have taken aggressive measures to reduce the number of newly licensed teenage drivers that are involved in motor vehicle accidents. Traffic safety laws that implement no tolerance alcohol policies for underage drivers and that impose restrictions regarding passengers and nighttime driving present valuable protections to teen drivers while safeguarding others with whom teen drivers share the road. However, teen driving accident rates are still disproportionately high when compared to those of older, more experienced drivers. Because teenagers constitute the age group most likely to be injured or to injure others in auto accidents, our Atlanta teen car accident lawyers have provided information that every parent should know about teen driving.
Are auto collisions involving teenagers really so prevalent with all of the special laws that restrict teen drivers?
Although these laws may represent a step in the right direction, car accidents remain the number one cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 in the U.S. The number of teenagers that are killed in motor vehicle crashes in a typical year exceeds the number of fatalities attributable to intoxicated drivers. By way of example, 10,228 people perished in alcohol-related crashes during a recent twelve month period according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During a recent period of the same duration, approximately 11,520 teenagers died in fatal collisions involving motor vehicles according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data.
What steps has Georgia taken to prevent the tragic death of teen drivers and passengers?
Georgia has a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program, which is referred to as The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA). TADRA grants driving privileges in stages to newly licensed drivers between the ages of 15 and 18. The graduated licensing system has three separate stages that grant increased driving privileges as new teen drivers acquire more experience behind the wheel and meet other criteria. The three steps that a teen driver must complete to obtain an unrestricted driver’s license include:
- Instructional Permit (15 and older): This permit allows a driver who has passed the written driving test to operate a motor vehicle but only with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the car.
- Intermediate License: A driver who is between 16 and 18 may obtain this form of license (referred to as a Class D license) if the driver has passed the behind the wheel driving exam and held an Instruction Permit for over a year. This form of restricted license forbids transporting passengers under 21 who are not immediate family members during the first six months of obtaining the license. Teen drivers with an Intermediate License also may not drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. There is an additional requirement under Joshua’s Law that teen drivers complete a driver’s education course and complete forty hours of driving behind the wheel to obtain a Class D driver’s license. A minimum of six of these hours must be driving during night time hours. Joshua’s Law prohibits issuing a Class D driver’s license without completing the driver’s training course unless the driver is over 17.
- Unrestricted Class C Driver’s License: The teen driver must be at least 18 without any serious traffic violations during the prior twelve months for the teen to move from a restricted to an unrestricted license. Any driver under 21 also can face serious penalties for traffic violations, which include a driver’s license suspension for a serious traffic violation.
Is the TADRA program really effective at reducing the number of teen driving accidents?
During the initial 18 month period after the TADRA program was implemented, Georgia experienced almost a 45 percent decrease in teenage speed-related car crashes so these laws do appear to be making the roads safer.
If you are a parent of a teen driver, we encourage you to review Parts 2 & 3 of this blog post. Our Atlanta teen driver car crash attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to seeking fair compensation for motor vehicle injury victims. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.