Teen Driving Laws
The State of Georgia has what is known as a graduated licensing program for teens. This means that teens progress through a licensing process in three phases. As teens reach a certain age, complete certain requirements, and have demonstrated their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, they are allowed to progress to the next phase. Successful progression to the next phase also requires a demonstration of responsibility on the part of the teen by avoiding any violations during the term of the license held.
School Attendance Requirements
Obtaining a Driver’s License or Instructional Permit
Anyone younger than 18 years of age must present one of the following in order to obtain a driver’s license or instructional permit:
- Certificate of Attendance (DS-1 – obtained from school personnel);
- High School Diploma;
- General Education Development (GED);
- Special Diploma;
- Certificate of High School Completion;
- College or vocational school transcript dated within the last thirty days (official transcript with seal required);
- Certificate of Adult Literacy proving pursuit of a GED (available from the Technical College System of Georgia for those currently enrolled in a GED program);
- Declaration of Intent for Home Schoolers.
Effective January 1, 2007, the State of Georgia implemented new legislation to promote increased teen driving safety. The highlights of Joshua’s Law include:
- Approved driver education training required to obtain a Class D automobile license at age 16;
- Approved driver education training required to obtain a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) at age 16;
- You must be 17 years of age to obtain a Class M motorcycle License.
The first stage of the graduated licensing program is a Class C Instructional Permit (CP).
Class C Instructional Permit (CP)
For first-time issuance of a Class C Instructional Permit (CP), you must meet all requirements to obtain a Secure DL/ID if you have not already done so. See the Secure ID Section for complete requirements.
Obtaining a Class C Instructional Permit (CP)
Upon reaching age 15, or anytime thereafter, you may apply for a Class C Instructional Permit (CP). The following information will help you prepare for your visit to a DDS Customer Service Center:
- You will be required to present documents verifying your identity, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence, and Georgia residency as explained on Secure ID Documentation Requirements;
- You must present proof of your Social Security Number or your ineligibility to obtain a Social Security Number. See Secure ID Documentation Requirements for a list of acceptable documents;
- If you are under age 18, you will be required to present proof of satisfaction of school attendance and conduct requirements as explained in this section;
- If you are under age 18, a parent or legal guardian will have to sign the application, thereby giving their consent for you to obtain a permit. The individual who signs your application may, for any reason, revoke your permit until you reach the age of 18;
- You will be required to pass a vision test. Your eyes will be tested by means of a mechanical device;
- You will be required to pass a knowledge exam related to Road Signs and Road Rules. Please go here for more information related to the knowledge exam;
- The test fee is $10.00 and must be paid prior to testing. If any part of the test is failed, no refund will be issued. The permit fee must be paid prior to every testing attempt.
Conditions of a Class C Instructional Permit (CP)
- Once issued a Class C Instructional Permit (CP), you may operate any Class C vehicle when accompanied by a person at least 21 years of age who is licensed to drive a Class C vehicle, who is fit and capable of exercising control over the vehicle, and who is occupying a seat beside the driver;
- Class C instructional permits (CP) are valid for 2 years.
Class D Provisional License
For first-time issuance of a Class D License, you must meet all requirements to obtain a Secure DL/ID if you have not already done so. See Secure ID Documentation Requirements for complete requirements.
Obtaining a Class D Provisional License
Upon reaching the age of 16, and after having held a valid instructional permit for one year and one day, you may apply for a Class D provisional license. The following information will help you prepare for your visit to a DDS Customer Service Center:
- You must surrender your Class C Instructional Permit (CP) or affirm on your application that you are unable to surrender the permit. See Other Services & Information for details concerning lost licenses and permits;
- You will be required to present proof of satisfaction of school attendance and conduct requirements as explained in this section;
- You must present proof of completion of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP). This program is taught in most schools, and is also available online. For information about ADAP, you may visit www.dds.ga.gov, or call (800) 245-4410;
- A parent or legal guardian will have to sign the application, thereby giving their consent for you to obtain a license. The individual who signs your application may, for any reason, revoke your license until you reach the age of 18;
- You must satisfy the Driver Education Requirements listed in this section;
- You must pass a road test designed to evaluate your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. See go here for more information related to the Road Test.
Driver Education Requirements
- To obtain a Class D license at the age of 16 you must complete a driver education course approved by DDS. An approved driver education course consists of:
- either 30 hours of classroom instruction OR completion of an equivalent online virtual course;
- 6 hours of on-the-road experience with a certified instructor OR completion of the DDS approved Parent-Teen Driving Guide;
- You must also have completed a cumulative total of at least forty hours of other driving experience, including at least six hours at night. Completion of the DDS approved Parent-Teen Driving Guide will serve as an affidavit certifying that this requirement has been met;
- if the teen obtains the on-the-road component of driver’s education from a certified instructor, a separate document affirming that this requirement has been met must be completed at the time of the road test.
- If you have not completed the driver education requirements, you cannot obtain a class D license until you reach the age of 17. For information on approved driver education courses and to download the Parent-Teen Driving Guide, see the DDS website, www.dds.ga.gov.
Conditions of a Class D Provisional License
- A Class D license Holder may not drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. — NO EXCEPTIONS;
- During the first six months following issuance, only immediate family members may ride in the vehicle. ‘Immediate family member’ includes the driver’s parents and step-parents, grandparents, siblings and step-siblings, children, and any other person who resides at the driver’s residence;
- During the second six months following issuance, only one passenger under 21 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family may ride in the vehicle;
- After the first and second six-month periods, only three passengers under 21 years of age who are not members of the driver’s immediate family may ride in the vehicle;
- A Class D license Holder must, for the 12 months preceding application for their class C license, be free from any convictions for major traffic violations that result in the mandatory suspension of a driver’s license.
Teens Moving to Georgia
The following information applies to teens moving to Georgia from another state who wish to obtain a driver’s license or permit in Georgia.
Under Age 18 without a valid license issued by another state
If you do not already hold a valid driver’s license or instructional permit issued by another state, you will be subject to the licensing requirements of Georgia residents. Please see the preceding sections for more information.
Under Age 18 with valid out of state license
If you hold a valid driver’s license or instructional permit issued by another state, you will normally be eligible to obtain a comparable license issued by Georgia. However, the state of issuance may have requirements for teenage drivers that differ from Georgia. For more information, please call the Customer Contact Center at (678) 413-8400 or outside metro Atlanta, call toll free (866) 754-3687.
Motorcycle Operator’s Instructional Permit or License
Detailed information concerning permit and licensing requirements for Motorcycle Operator’s Permits and Licenses can be found on the DDS website at www.dds.ga.gov, or you may contact DDS at (678) 413-8400 in the metro Atlanta area, or toll free at (866) 754-3687 if calling from outside the metro Atlanta area. Teens under age 17 must meet the Driver Education Requirements listed on this page to obtain a Class M Instructional Permit (MP). A Class M Operator’s License is available at age 17.
Revocation of Minor’s License/Permit
The parent, guardian, responsible adult or authorized driving instructor who signed a minor’s application for an instructional permit or driver’s license may request revocation of the license or permit at any time prior to the minor’s eighteenth birthday. The person requesting revocation of a minor’s instructional permit or driver’s license must submit his or her request for the revocation on the form designated by the Department. The form requires the person’s notarized signature. The person requesting revocation of a minor’s instructional permit or driver’s license must pay a non-refundable fee of $10.00.
Suspension of Driver’s License/Permit or Driving Privileges
Once a driver’s license or permit has been issued, any of the following infractions will result in the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license or permit for a period of one year or until the individual turns 18, whichever comes first.
- Has dropped out of school and has remained out of school for ten consecutive school days;
- Has ten or more school days of unexcused absences in the current academic year or ten or more school days of unexcused absences in the previous academic year;
- Has been found in violation by a hearing officer, panel, or tribunal of one of the following offenses, or has waived his or her right to a hearing and pleaded guilty to one of the following offenses:
- Threatening, striking, or causing bodily harm to a teacher or other school personnel;
- Possession or use of a weapon on school property or at a school sponsored event;
- Any sexual offense prohibited under Chapter 6 of Title 16;
- Causing substantial physical or visible bodily harm to or seriously disfiguring another person, including another student;
- Possession or sale of drugs or alcohol on school property or at a school sponsored event.
If notice is received of one of these infractions and the individual has not yet applied for a driver’s license or permit, he or she will be prohibited from obtaining a driver’s license or permit until the period of suspension has ended or the individual turns 18, whichever comes first.
Unless reinstated, the suspension will automatically expire after one year or when the individual turns 18, whichever comes first. Under certain conditions, a limited permit or hardship exemption may be available prior to the expiration of the suspension. For further information, contact DDS at (678) 413-8400 or toll free at (866) 754-3687 if calling from outside the metro Atlanta area.
Convictions Other Than DUI
The State of Georgia applies strict penalties to teens who fail to obey the laws regarding operation of a motor vehicle. The instructional permit or driver’s license of any person under 21 years of age convicted of any of the following offenses shall be SUSPENDED for a period of six months for a first conviction, or for a period of twelve months for a second or subsequent conviction.
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident;
- Racing on highways or streets;
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer;
- Reckless driving;
- Aggressive driving;
- Purchasing an alcoholic beverage;
- Attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage;
- Underage possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle;
- Misrepresenting age for purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage;
- Misrepresenting identity or using false identification for purpose of purchasing or obtaining an alcoholic beverage;
- Any other offense for which four or more points are assessed:
- Unlawful passing of a school bus;
- Improper passing on a hill or curve;
- Exceeding the speed limit by 24 miles per hour or more.
- The accumulation of four or more points in any 12-month period while under 18 years of age.
A limited permit may be available only if the suspension resulted from a conviction for speeding 24-33 mph over the speed limit and the applicant is at least 18 years old.
Convictions for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DUI)
First DUI Suspension:
- If your blood Alcohol Concentration was .02 or greater, but less than .08; or your implied consent test results were suppressed; or no test was given, your license will be suspended for a minimum period of 6 months, unless you have a previous conviction for an offense in the above list, in which case your license will be suspended for a minimum period of 12 months;
- If your Blood Alcohol Concentration was .08 or greater or you refused implied consent testing, your license will be suspended for a minimum period of 12 months;
- No limited driving permit is available.
Second DUI Suspension:
Your license will be suspended for a minimum period of 18 months, with ignition interlock permit eligibility after 120 days.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.