Reducing the Risk Posed by Teen Drivers in Georgia


March 23, 2011

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), teen drivers aged 16-19 are four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in auto accidents. Approximately 3,000 teens aged 15-19 were killed in auto accidents and another 350,000 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries in 2009 in the U.S.

This data takes on more significance when one considers those drivers between the ages of 15-24 account for only 14% of the U.S. population as a whole. This segment of the population, however, also accounts for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.

While these national statistics are staggering, the statistics regarding auto accidents in Georgia are no better. According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 1,284 fatalities caused by automobile crashes in Georgia. This is equivalent to 13 deaths per 100,000 residents. The Atlanta law firm of Montlick and Associates represents clients throughout Georgia who have been seriously injured by the negligent driving of others. We have a long history of providing exceptional service as part of our goal of being the top Atlanta auto accident law firm in all of Georgia.

As bad as these statistics are, the good news is that during the past 13 years the deaths caused by car accidents on Georgia's roads involving teenagers have been significantly reduced. In 2005, the Joshua Law was passed to help decrease the number of auto accident-related injuries caused by teen drivers. The law became effective in 2007 and provides that all 16 year olds that want to obtain a driver’s license must complete a Joshua Law course through an accredited driver education program. The philosophy behind the program is to have young drivers gain more experience and learn more about driving before they actually drive on the road. Each driver is required to have at least 40 hours behind the wheel before they are issued a Class D license, and 6 of those 40 must be earned at night.

Not only is the course mandatory for 16 year olds, 17 year olds must complete 40 hours of supervised driving instruction if they haven't already completed a driver education course through an approved driving school. In order to obtain their license, both groups have to provide a sworn verification from their parents that the courses were completed. The law promotes safer driving and helps reduce accidents, and also provides an insurance reduction to teen driver’s who comply with the requirement.

Another program that is part of Georgia's effort to curtail the number of traffic crashes that involve Georgia teen drivers is TADRA - the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act. It is a graduated driver's license program for drivers between the ages of 15-18 that involves a three-step educational process that allows young drivers to gain more experience behind the wheel of a car. It was enacted in July of 1997 and in its first 18 months led to a 44.5% decrease in speed-related crashes.

Step One: A 15 year old passes a written examination and is issued an instructional permit (Class CP) which states that at all times this driver must have a person in the car who is 21 years or older with a Class C license.

Step Two: An intermediate license (Class D) is issued to a driver who is between 16-18 years old who has had an instructional permit for 12 months and has passed a driving test. There are restrictions with this license that are as follows:

  1. There is no driving between 12 a.m. - 5 a.m.
  2. For the first six months the driver cannot drive on public roads with a passenger in the car unless he or she is immediate family.
  3. There cannot be more than one passenger in the car less than 21 years of age in the first six months.
  4. After the sixth months, there cannot be more than 3 passengers in the car less than 21 years of age.

The driver must have completed a driver education course and at least 40 hours of other supervised driving experience including six hours at night.

Step Three: The full Class C license is issued when a driver has reached the age of 18 or older and has already obtained a Class D license and in the previous 12 months has not received any traffic convictions.

Much of the decrease in the number of teen traffic fatalities in Georgia is due to the emphasis on teaching student drivers to drive defensively and responsibly through the well thought out programs discussed above. While these steps have shown great strides toward reducing teen auto accidents in Atlanta and throughout Georgia, serious Atlanta auto accidents involving teen drivers still account for too many catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or suffered wrongful death in an auto accident with a teen driver, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Our experienced Atlanta personal injury law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in Georgia auto accidents for over 27 years.

The Atlanta auto accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and 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.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.