Fatal Accident Illustrates Reasoning Behind Georgia Teen Driving Law

Inexperienced teens can be some of the most dangerous drivers on the road. Even smart, well-meaning young people can cause accidents, not because they are reckless or irresponsible, but simply because they do not have the experience necessary to know how to properly control a vehicle and react to road conditions.

For this reason, the State of Georgia requires all teen drivers to carry a provisional “Class D” license that restricts their driving privileges. Teens with a Class D license may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. They are also subject to the following restrictions on carrying passengers:

  • During the first six months, only immediate family members are allowed as passengers when the teen is driving
  • During months six to twelve, the teen may only transport one non-family member under the age of 21
  • After a year, the teen is allowed to transport up to three non-family members under the age of 21

The restrictions are meant to reduce high-risk driving situations. Teens are eligible to receive a regular Class C driver’s license once they turn 18 if they have not had any major traffic violations for at least 12 months.

One Teen Dead, Another in Jail

A recent fatal accident has proved to be an unfortunate reminder of what can happen when teens don’t obey these restrictions.

A 16 year-old Georgia teen is facing jail time after a crash that killed her best friend, a 17 seventeen year-old young man who had graduated from high school just weeks earlier. Despite the law requiring the girl to transport no more than one passenger, she had five other teens in the vehicle with her.

The accident occurred when the girl hit a trash can while making a turn — she lost control of her vehicle and ultimately crashed into a tree. Alcohol was not suspected to be a factor in the crash.

The car was so severely damaged that first responders had to extricate the young man from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

A 15-year old passenger suffered injuries that required hospitalization. The driver and the other three passengers only suffered minor injuries.

The driver, who had her license suspended once before for a passenger violation, was charged with three offenses: driving too fast for conditions, carrying too many passengers and second-degree vehicular homicide. She was sentenced to one year in jail.

The driver is also expected to face civil claims for personal injury and wrongful death.