HELP! My kid is starting to Drive: A Parent’s Guide to Survival

By April 20, 2020Community

This is attorney Michael Geoffroy and my baby boy, little Mac (who is now 6’4”!), is now starting to drive. It happened so fast! In 2003, I bought my wife and I a bottle of Champagne… I need to skip and keep this shorter and less detailed. As a parent, I am REALLY nervous. As a lawyer, I see potential flashing red and blue lights, sirens going off, “DANGER! DANGER!” So what can we do?

Take a deep breath. We were all once un-drivers and if you are reading this, you survived. A level-headed approach to learn about the obstacles and help your son or daughter become a safe, responsible driver is all that you need. This post is here to provide you with a lot of legal and technical resources to help in that process. But I want to emphasize nothing is a substitute for time and attention. Spend time going over safety with your young driver. And always emphasize the importance of safety while driving, big issues and small issues, so that young drivers understand safety is a constant concern. And try to sleep.

Driving Test:

In Georgia, make your appointment early to take your test. (Scheduling is suspended in April 2020 due to COVID-19)

The Law:

Georgia law addresses licenses and permits for drivers under O.C.G.A. Section 40-5-24 and can be found online at https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-5/article-2/40-5-24. Keep in mind, you must have your learner’s permit for at least 12 months and 1 day. So, if you are late getting an appointment for a 15th birthday it will delay getting a license at 16.

Learner’s Permit:

Drivers must get a learners permit beginning at 15 years old. Learners must have a licensed driver above the age of 18 in the car with them while they drive. Keep in mind, you must have your learner’s permit for at least 12 months. So, if you are late getting an appointment for a 15th birthday it will delay getting a license at 16.

Paperwork:

For your teen to get their learner’s permit, they will need the following:

Required documents to take the Georgia Learner’s Permit Test:

  1. Proof of identity (passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  2. Proof of social security number (social security card, W-2, 1099)
  3. Proof of residence (power bill, financial statement, etc.)
  4. Proof of US citizenship (birth certificate) or lawful presence in the US
  5. Georgia DDS Certificate of Attendance form notarized by your teen’s high school (valid only 30 days; during the summer form is valid from May-August)

Georgia Driver’s License:

The requirements to get a Georgia driver’s license differ for 16 to 18 year olds. Applicants (regardless of age) shall pass the road skills test with a minimum score of 75%. If your teen is 16 or 17, a parent or guardian must be present. The fee for a Georgia Class D license is $10.

Georgia driver’s license: 16-Year-Olds

  1. Joshua’s Law requires that all 16-year-olds must complete a 30-hour Driver’s Ed course, plus a minimum of 40 hours of supervised driving experience with at least six hours of night driving. Also codified under O.C.G.A. Section 40-5-24.
  2. Valid learner’s permit for one year and one day
  3. Georgia DDS Certificate of Attendance notarized by the school
  4. ADAP Certificate (from high school upon request)
  5. Certificate of Completion of a 30hour Driver’s Education course at a state-certified driving school
  6. A Driving Experience Affidavit shall be completed at the DDS affirming the applicant has a minimum of 40 hours of driving, 6 of which must be at night. Parents will sign the form at the DDS, so you don’t have to bring it with you.
  7. Shall present valid registration and insurance for vehicle used on road test (not required to be in applicant’s name)

The App:

George Department of Driver Services has an App call “DDS 2 GO.” This App will let you complete forms online before your visit to save time, pay certain fees and tickets, make a road test reservation and get a certificate validation for defensive driving. Available on Android and Apple. I was unable to register a new account or use the App at all. The App gets horrible reviews and hopefully will continue to improve.

Go to CLASS:

Joshua’s Law requires that all 16-year-olds must complete a 30-hour Driver’s Ed course, plus a minimum of 40 hours of supervised driving experience with at least six hours of night driving.

Taking an additional defensive driving or other safety course will help young drivers be safe and can save you 5% or 10%  the cost of auto insurance for driver’s of any age. For a list of approved classes by George Department of Driver Services, go to https://online.dds.ga.gov/ddsgeorgiagov/locations/driver-improvement-schools.aspx

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