For better or worse, the state of Georgia has allowed teen drivers the option to automatically get their license online in lieu of a road test during the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made after parents asked Governor Brian Kemp for a waiver since road tests had been canceled.
So far, around 20,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 who have had their learner’s permit for more than a year and no violations have obtained their driver’s licenses. Statistically, 20 percent of them would have failed the actual road test and needed to retake it.
Safety advocates are concerned. Teen drivers are more likely to experience crashes than more experienced drivers. Traffic wrecks are also the leading cause of death for young drivers.
Metro Atlanta’s suburban roads and interstates are notorious for speeding, aggressive drivers, and snarled traffic. Last year, it was ranked the fourth most dangerous place to drive.
Insurance rates have also increased significantly over the last several years due to the frequency and severity of crashes in Georgia.
Adding to the danger is the onset of summer, a time when more teens are on the road and more likely to be injured or killed in a collision. The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer by teen safety experts and advocates.
After some criticism, the governor has clarified that the order was a temporary measure and that teens who received their license online would need to come back at a later date to take the road test.
Driving Tips Everyone Needs to Know
- Most teen crashes are the result of distracted driving. Put away the phone, don’t look away from the road to talk to someone or dig around for something in the car. If you are a passenger, don’t distract the driver (passengers were a bigger distraction for teen drivers than texting or talking on the phone).
- Do not drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs. Teens have the highest rate of crashes that result in deaths and injuries of others — passengers, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles. Not only can driving under the influence potentially kill someone, but the ramifications can also ruin future education, job, and social opportunities. Teens should be empowered to refuse a ride from a drunk friend or tell their parents if they are too impaired to drive themselves home.
- Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do if and when an accident happens. Our law firm has created a free, step-by-step checklist anyone can download and print to keep in their car.
- Don’t become complacent after a teen gets their license. They are still encountering new experiences on the road and learning how to handle them. Check-in with them and remind them of the rules of the road. Here are just a few topics to discuss:
- Defensive driving techniques and classes
- Different strategies during inclement weather
- What to do if an animal runs across or is in the road
- How to drive near pedestrians, road workers, and bicyclists
- Intersection safety
- Keeping windshields, windows, and mirrors clean
- Roadside assistance
- What insurance you have and where to find it in the car
- What to do if a police officer pulls you over
- Parking lot safety and driving
- Car inspections and maintenance
- Alternative routes and dealing with traffic jams
- How to handle a flat tire or engine trouble
Talk to Our Legal Experts After a Serious Wreck
Our personal injury attorneys have handled all kinds of automobile accidents. We have represented teenage passengers injured by drunk drivers and older drivers hurt by reckless teen drivers. When a crash happens that wasn’t your fault, we serve as a legal resource to help cover burdensome medical bills and force bureaucratic insurance companies to take a claim seriously.
If your teen is hurt as a passenger in someone’s car or while driving and they did nothing wrong, the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates can review your case for free. Contact us today to talk about your personal injury claim.