The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act directly addresses the leading killer of our young people – traffic crashes. The law significantly changes the way young motorists earn and maintain the privilege of driving by providing a controlled means for new drivers to gain experience and by reducing high-risk driving situations. While the law does focus on young drivers, it also contains important provisions that affect drivers over 21, particularly in the area of DUI prevention and enforcement.
THE TEENAGE AND ADULT DRIVER RESPONSIBILITY ACT (TADRA)
TADRA is a graduated driver's license program established for young drivers ages 15 to 18 in Georgia by a collaborative effort of highway safety advocates, legislators, law enforcement officials, educators, businesses and media in the wake of a high number of fatal vehicle crashes involving young, inexperienced drivers.
THREE STEP PROCESS IN TADRA
TADRA involves an intense, three-step educational process that allows the young driver to gain more experience behind the wheel:
1) STEP ONE – INSTRUCTIONAL PERMIT is granted to 15-year-olds upon successfully passing a written examination. The driver with this permit must be accompanied by a passenger who is at least 21 years old and possesses a valid Class C driver's license at all times while driving.
2) STEP TWO – INTERMEDIATE LICENSE (Class D) The license is granted to drivers between 16 and 18 years of age who have held an Instructional Permit for 12 months and passed a driving test. The Intermediate License has the following restrictions:
No driving between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. No exceptions.
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.
Joshua’s Law - On or after January 1, 2007, any 16 year old who obtains an initial Class D license must have completed:
You also must have completed a cumulative total of at least forty (40) hours of other supervised driving experience, including at least six (6) hours at night.
If you have not completed an approved driver’s education course, you cannot get your Class D driver’s license until you reach age seventeen (17). Remember, forty (40) hour of driving experience, including six (6) hours of driving at night, is always required for a Class D driver’s license.
** These requirements also apply to an applicant for an initial Class C driver's license who has not previously been issued a Class D license.
3) STEP THREE – A FULL LICENSE (Class C) driver's license is granted to drivers ages 18 years of age and older who hold the class D license and have incurred no major traffic convictions during the previous 12 months. The following violations must not occur during this period:
· Eluding a police officer
· Drag racing
· Reckless driving
· Hit and run
· Any violation that assesses four or more points on the driver's license
** Drivers under the age of 18 years in a 12-month license suspension period must not incur a violation point count over four points
** Georgia has a zero tolerance for underage drunk driving. Convicted drivers with a blood-alcohol content level of .08 grams or higher will face a 12-month license suspension on the first offense.
· In 2000, one out of five fatal crashes in Georgia involved speed, with drivers ages 16-17 having the highest rate of motor vehicle fatalities (based on the total number of drivers per age group.)
· Young, inexperienced drivers ages 16 to 24 have a higher rate of crashes, injuries, and fatalities than drivers over age 24.
· The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA), enacted on July 1, 1997, led to a 44.5 percent decline in teenage speed-related crashes in 18 months, which was five times less than the rate of drivers over age 24.
Helpful tips for teens behind the wheel
· Do not speed
· Do not drink alcohol nor take drugs and drive
· Wear your seat belt and insist that your passengers wear theirs
· Do not eat, use a mobile phone, operate a car stereo loudly, entertain friends, nor put on make up in your car while driving. These or any other distractions could easily cause a serious vehicular crash.
· In the event of a crash:
1. Remain calm
2. Ensure everyone in all vehicles involved are OK
3. Contact local authorities immediately
4. Note the name of the law enforcement officer and the name of the agency that responded
5. Exchange information with other driver(s) involved, including name, address, telephone number, and automobile insurance information.
How can people learn more about the new teen driving law TADRA?