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New requirements in place for teen drivers

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Thanks to House Bill 466, thousands of Georgia teen drivers will need driver training before obtaining a license.

The bill, which adds to Joshua’s Law, was passed during the most recent legislative session and goes into effect July 1. The state will require training for anyone who is 15, 16 and now 17 years of age. Before the update, anyone 16 years of age or older did not require any specific training to receive their license.

Driving Instructor and owner of American Driving School Phil Sullivan agrees with changes.

“How can anyone argue with safety?” he said.

“The teen death rate is higher now that they do not require these training for some,” said Sullivan. “Teen driving accident rate is higher between 17 and 18. Now they want to make sure that those 17-year-olds have that driving training,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan believes that increasing the age of those required to have the training will ensure safer roadways for everyone.

“It’s a safety factor. If you do not have the proper instructions, they tend to speed. They follow to close or make lane changes poorly,” he said. “I teach everything, from accident scenes to emergencies. I teach them more than the normal driving instructors don’t teach.”

Joshua’s Law training consists of 30 hours of classroom or online instruction and six hours of on-the-road training.

Along with training, students are required to complete 40 hours with a parent or guardian. Six of those hours must be completed at night.

There are several ways to complete DDS-driver education training. Various High Schools across the state offer this training.

John Milledge Academy is the only high school in Milledgeville that does.

There are several private driving schools, with prices generally starting at $250. DDS has approved online courses that are usually lower in price.

Joshua’s Law was first introduced in 2005. The law was introduced by Joshua Brown’s father, a teen who hydroplaned while driving, causing fatal injuries. Georgia was the first state to adopt and pass Joshua’s Law, with 13 other states following.

To learn more about DDS education and how to sign up, visit DDS. georgia.gov.