Study Shows Georgia One of Best States for Teen Drivers

We all can recall the big day we received our driver’s license.  Our mom or dad drove us to the DMV and we took the wheel with nervous excitement. Access to a vehicle meant independence from parents, (some) freedom to come and go as we pleased, and greater independence as we became adults. But this rite of passage also comes with responsibilities and financial obligations for both the newly-minted teen driver and their parents. It also means increased accidents, injuries, and deaths.

“Motor vehicle crashes involving 13- to 19-year-olds result in around $40.7 billion per year in costs from medical expenses and work loss,” WalletHub has reported. “That’s not counting the costs of auto maintenance, insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents — expenses that can pile up over time.”

WalletHub recently looked at 2023′s best and worst states for teen drivers, and Georgia made the top ten of the best list.

How the Rankings were Made

WalletHub examined the teen driving environment in all 50 states in three key dimensions:

  1. Safety;
  2. Economic environment; and
  3. Driving laws.

They then evaluated those dimensions using 23 relevant metrics. Each factor was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for teen drivers.

How Did Georgia Do?

Georgia finished with a 56.78 ranking, making it No. 10 in the nation. Here’s how Georgia finished in each of the three key dimensions:

  1. Safety: 16th
  2. Economic environment: 35th
  3. Driving laws: 12th

Also, in the relevant metrics, Georgia finished:

  • 1st in presence of distracted-driving/texting-while-driving laws.
  • 6th in quality of roads.
  • 7th in the presence of occupant-protection laws.
  • 11th in the provision of teen driver’s graduated licensing program laws.
  • 14th in DUIs per 100,000 teens.
  • 23rd in premium insurance increases after adding teen driver to parent’s policy.
  • 25th in the presence of impaired-driving laws.
  • 27th in driver fatalities per 100,000 teens.

Teen Drivers Need Practice, Experts Say

“Driving is a skill that requires practice, so supervised opportunities for teens to practice driving are essential. There is more to driving than just the physical operation of a motor vehicle,” Joanna Lee Williams, associate professor at Rutgers University, told WalletHub. “New drivers have a lot to learn — from laws, road signs and driving etiquette, to how to be aware of and respond to unanticipated events and hazards.

“Parents can support teens by ensuring they have many driving practice hours under the guidance of an experienced adult driver,” she added.

“Supervised driving” in Georgia refers to driving experience obtained under the supervision of a person who’s at least 21 years old. That individual must have an unexpired Class C driver’s license. He or she must sit next to the driver at all times while he or she is driving, and be capable of exercising control over the vehicle if necessary.

There’s no log required for supervised driving, but when the teen applies for a Class D driver’s license, a parent, guardian, or duly authorized DDS-certified driver education instructor must swear that the applicant received 40 hours of supervised driving, six hours of which was at night.

What are Some of Georgia’s Teen Driving Laws?

The Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) is a graduated driver’s license program for young drivers ages 15 to 18. It involves an intense, three-step educational process that lets a young driver get more experience behind the wheel with certain restrictions. As a teen driver completes the requirements of his or her current permit or license, they’re allowed to graduate to a less restrictive license and eventually receive a full unrestricted license.

In addition, “Joshua’s Law” requires 16 and 17 years old to complete training and curriculum before obtaining a driver’s license.

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