VLF Blog Post


Fifteen is a magical number in the life of a teenager. They can finally drive instead of being chauffeured by mom or dad. In this edition of Legal Ease we will examine the limitations on the teenage driver and the steps that much be taken to ensure a positive driving experience for your young driver.

Teenage drivers are governed by the Georgia Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act. “TADRA is a graduated driver’s license program for young drivers ages 15-18. The Responsibility Act creates three classes of licenses that govern a teenager.”

At 15 a learner’s permit is granted after the driver has successfully passed a knowledge test consisting of road rules and road signs.  This class CP license requires that the minor be accompanied by an individual that is at least 21 years old, possess a valid class C license, is seated next to them in the vehicle and is capable of exercising control over the vehicle if necessary. The teenager can never be unaccompanied in the car and unfortunately they are not old enough to drive their younger sibling to school just yet.

Upon your teenagers 16th or 17th birthday they should return to the DMV and convert their class CP license to a class D license. A driver is eligible for this class of license if they have held their Learner’s permit for 12months and 1 day, have not committed any major traffic violations such as Driving under the influence of Alcohol and has successfully completed a road skills test. The class D allows the driver some more autonomy but still has important rules that should be followed for the road to a class C to be smooth. The class D driver cannot drive between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.; during the first six months after receiving the class D license the driver can only transport family members. During the second six months you can transport non family members but one of the non-family member passengers has to be older than 21 years of age. For example, if operating a car with four persons. Two can be family members; two can be non-family members with one of the latter two being over the age of 21. After the first year, the driver can transport non- family members but the driver cannot transport three people who are all under the age of 21.

Finally, at age 18, the driver can attain a class C license with full privileges and benefits so long as no major traffic violations occurred within the past year. It is important to note that you are required to change the license from one class to another as it is not automatic and until you do so you are subject to the rules of your class. The rules that govern are driver are based on the class of the license not the age of the driver. In other words, if you are pulled over at 18 and you have a class CP license from when you were 15, you will be treated under the rules of a class CP. This is one of the most overlooked areas. Don’t wait for a citation to take this simple housekeeping step. You should plan a trip to the DMV yearly until your teenager attains the age of 18.

While the class C is a general license there are still some penalties that attach to an 18 year old that does not attach to a 21 year old. If an 18 year old driver is caught driving 24 or more mph above the speed limit they face suspension of their driving privileges. In addition, if the 18 year old driver is convicted of an offense for which 4 points or more are awarded it will result in suspension. There are also offenses that if convicted will result in suspension until the drivers reaches age 21. Driving is a privilege not a right. Equip your young driver for success and allow them to enjoy the road!!