Complete A-Z Teen Driver Guide – Part 1

Complete A-Z Teen Driver Guide – Part 1

Drive Smart Georgia created a complete Teen Driver Guide for new drivers and their concerned parents. This 2019 4-part Teen Driver Guide encompasses A-Z facts about the dangers of teen driving and how to overcome them, plus what parents can do to help teach lifelong good driving habits.

The process of learning to drive and getting that coveted driver’s license is a rite of passage for teens. Yes, they are anxious to become mobile and less dependent on mom or dad. Yet, it can also induce sleepless nights and premature grey hairs for YOU, the concerned parent.

When your teenager is ready to start driving, be sure to go over our 4-part Teen Driver Guide. It’s a great conversation starter to install good driving habits from the get-go.

Teen Driver Guide Part 1: A-G

Teen Driver Guide: A

Teen driver guide consequences

When a teenager is learning to drive, he may want to spread his wings and fly too quickly. This can be a deadly mistake. You, the concerned parent, must have final and overriding authority to set rules and enforce consequences.

After all, you are ultimately responsible for the safety of your child – especially when he’s ready to hit the road. A good first step to establish authority is to agree on and sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

Teen Driver Guide: B
Buckle Up (it’s the law!)

Teen Driver Guide buckle up

According to the United States Dept. of Transportation,  seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. However, 2,549 died on roadways because they weren’t buckled up.

Seat belts have been proven to be one of the best ways to save lives in an automobile accident. Yet many drivers still don’t buckle up. Worse still, not wearing a seat belt is a habit that you can pass on to an impressionable and inexperienced teen driver. So, set the example and buckle up every time you get behind the wheel. Plus, insist that your teen driver does the same.

According to the AJC on September 4, 2019, current Georgia law requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts. It also requires children age 8 to 17 to buckle up, regardless of where they sit (younger children must be in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat).

The problem is that Georgia is one of 20 states that doesn’t require backseat passengers to buckle up. However, that may change, A Georgia senate committee may soon write a new law that requires everyone in the car to buckle up.

This makes total sense. Seat belts save lives. Why wouldn’t you buckle up?

Teen Driver Guide: C
Caution and more caution!

Caution sign Drive Smart Georgia

Of all the health risks to young people (diseases, drug overdoses, homicides, suicides), none more likely to cause serious injury or even death than motor vehicle accidents. As a concerned parent of a new teen driver, it’s your job to reduce the risk of accidents that your new driver might face.

That means sitting down and setting down the rules. More importantly, it’s important to follow through with real consequences if those rules are broken. Quite simply, proceed with caution because your child’s precious life could depend on it.

Teen Driver Guide: D
Distracted driving

Teen driver guide distracted driving

According to AAA, 46% percent of all teenage drivers admit to text messaging while driving, and that says nothing of the teens who won’t own up to the practice. 51% admit to talking on the cell phone while driving, though most teens would probably estimate that figure to be closer to 99%.

Unfortunately, both practices are quite dangerous, especially for young and inexperienced drivers. While alcohol-related teen auto fatalities are down, the overall death toll hasn’t changed.

The theory is that modern technology and distracted driving have balanced out the decrease. If you’re a parent of a teen driver, it’s imperative to talk about the dangers of distracted driving. Your child’s life could depend on it.

Teen Driver Guide: E

Experience road sign drive smart georgia

The old adage “practice makes perfect” is never more appropriate than when it comes to teen drivers. Inexperience and immaturity are both leading causes of teen crashes. A new driver simply lacks experience behind the wheel. Coupled with feeling invincible, it’s a deadly combination.

The first year of driving is the most dangerous. If you think your teen needs professional lessons with a trained instructor, follow your intuition. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Before handing over those keys, ask yourself, “Does my child have enough driving experience to be safe?” If not, perhaps schedule more lessons.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your child about police protocol. Tell them how to speak to an officer and what to do if pulled over. That way, they won’t be so nervous if it does happen.

Teen Driver Guide: F
Fatigue factor

Drowsy driving road sign

It’s no surprise that teenagers are the most sleep-deprived group today. When they’re not cramming for an important test, they’re completing mountains of homework. Many are also involved in sports or clubs, meaning they’re busier than ever and often not getting enough sleep.

When sleepy new drivers get behind the wheel, they may forget their newly acquired good driving habits. If you’re concerned that your child is burning the candle at both ends, be sure to talk to him or her about being safe on the road when getting from point A to B.

If they’re overly tired, offer to be the driver. Drowsy driving causes more than 1,500 deaths nationwide per year and 100,000 accidents in Georgia alone.

Teen Driver Guide: G
Graduated licensing

Graduated driver licensing







Most states in the US follow some kind of graduated licensing process. The goal is to give young drivers a controlled process to gain more experience. Georgia passed TADRA (Teenage and Adult Responsibility Act), an intense 3-step process to keep teens safer on the road. To learn more about Graduated Licensing and TADRA in Georgia, follow this link to the DDS website.

Georgia TADRA restrictions for new teen drivers

Below are restrictions placed on new drivers under TADRA (The Teen and Adult Driver Responsibility Act).

  • A Class D License Holder may not drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • NO EXCEPTIONS! During the first six (6) months following issuance, only immediate family members may ride in the vehicle.
  • During the second six (6) months following issuance, only one (1) passenger under 21 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family may ride in the vehicle.
  • After the first and second six-month period, only three (3) passengers under 21 years of age who are not members of the driver’s immediate family may ride in the vehicle.

Be sure to check out the Drive Smart Georgia blog next week to read part 2 of our “Teen Driver Guide: H – M.” Topics will include:

  • Hydroplaning
  • Insurance
  • Joshua’s Law
  • Knowledge of road rules
  • Minimizing hazards

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CLICK HERE to read more Drive Smart Georgia blog posts.

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