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Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) supports National Teen Driver Safety Week
October 19, 2008 – October 25, 2008

10/16/2008

National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress last year to focus attention on the nation’s epidemic of teen car crashes and to find solutions. This year’s campaign is dedicated to bringing awareness to how passengers contribute to driver distraction, a leading cause of crashes for teens. The Department of Driver Services (DDS) supports National Teen Driver Safety Week and offers Georgia drivers and passengers this vital safety information.

Although speed and seat belt usage is widely acknowledged as highway safety issues for teens, another dangerous factor few teens recognize is peer passengers. Just one teen passenger doubles the risk a teen driver will get into a fatal crash. Three or more passengers quadruple the risk. The risk is not just for the driver: Studies also show that starting at ages 12 to 14, a child passenger’s risk of dying in a crash with a teen driver doubles, and the risk continues to rise for each teen year. Most teen passengers who die in crashes are riding with a teen driver.

Georgia has established several mechanisms to support safe teen driving, including passenger restrictions for newly licensed drivers. Georgia’s graduated licensing program, which is part of the Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA), mandates a three-step process for licensing young drivers ages 15 through 18. TADRA has been instrumental in helping reduce the number of teen traffic fatalities and crashes. Studies credit TADRA not only for a steady decline in teen driver fatalities since its implementation in 1997, but also a 44.5 percent decline in teenage speed-related crashes, which was five times less than the rate of drivers over age 24.

The first step in TADRA is to be issued an instructional permit (CP) that allows the young driver to gain experience behind the wheel while accompanied at all times by a passenger who is at least 21 years of age and possesses a valid driver’s license. At Step Two, the teen is issued an intermediate Class D license, which includes several important driving restrictions, including driving hour limits and passenger restrictions.

Georgia Teen Driver Passenger Restrictions

  • For the initial six-month period immediately following the issuance of a Class D license, any Class D license holder shall not drive a motor vehicle upon the public roads, streets or highways of this state when any other passenger in the vehicle is not a member of the driver's immediate family.
  • During the second six-month period immediately following issuance of a Class D license, any Class D license holder shall not drive a motor vehicle upon the public roads, streets or highways of this state when more than one other passenger in the vehicle (who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family) is less than 21 years of age.
  • After the second six-month period, any Class D license holder shall not drive a motor vehicle upon the public roads, streets or highways of this state when more than three other passengers in the vehicle (who are not members of the driver’s immediate family) are less than 21 years of age.

For complete Georgia driver licensing, testing and training information, please visit the DDS website at www.dds.ga.gov. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), www.gahighwaysafety.org, maintains crash data and statistics for the State of Georgia.

About National Teen Driver Safety Week

National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress in 2007 in response to the more than 5,000 teens that died in teen-driver related crashes on U.S. roads in 2006. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Companies® played a key role in the designation and continue to support ongoing organizational efforts. Outreach efforts, such as National Teen Driver Safety Week campaigns, are needed so that families going through the learning-to-drive process are supported by their communities. It will take the will and initiative of teens, families, schools, law enforcement officers, and policymakers to successfully address the leading cause of death and acquired disability for US teens.

For a complete list of all the available supporting materials for National Teen Driver Safety Week 2008, please visit http://www.ridelikeafriend.com/organizer/?p=materials.