Georgia Drivers Can Now Get a License Without a Road Test, Brings Focus Back to Teen Safety

It just got way easier to obtain a license in the state of Georgia. The state’s governor Brian Kemp announced that those with only a learner’s permit can obtain a driver’s license without a “comprehensive on-the-road driving test.” For example, this means that teenagers who qualify under these guidelines can simply get a driver’s license with just their parents’ permission.  In some cases, driving has become even more dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic.

In general, teenagers are more likely to be involved in serious accidents compared to older adult drivers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. Additional training and safety precautions are two of the most important factors in preventing teen accidents.  

The teen driving dilemma 

Teens are only just beginning their driving careers and clearly don’t have as much experience on the road.  In 2017, the CDC reported that 2,364 teens from the ages of 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle-related accidents while around 300,000 were treated for crash-related emergencies. To help put this in perspective, teens ages 15-19 made up 6.5% of the entire U.S. population but accounted for about 8% of expenses related to motor vehicle crashes. 

When teens are most at risk

Teens in the 16-19 age group are most at risk when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This age group is more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident compared to adults at 20 years or older. More specifically, vehicle death rates for teenage males are about two times higher than that for female drivers at the same age. 

Accident possibilities among teens are notably higher within the first few months of obtaining their license. Without adult supervision, teens are also more likely to crash with other teens in the car. 

According to the data company Value Penguin, Kentucky, Mississipi, North Carolina, Montana, and West Virginia are the most dangerous states for teenage drivers. This information is based on teen driving fatality rates, as well as accidents related to texting and driving, drinking and driving, and not wearing a seatbelt. 

Young drivers are more likely to speed and despite being underaged, are commonly involved in fatal accidents related to drinking and driving. The CDC also reports that teens are likely to drive drowsily and recklessly. 

What you can do to help

Studies have shown that parents are the key difference in ensuring teen safety on the road. It is valuable to review driving materials with teens to help them understand the importance of being safe on the road. Parents and guardians can also help prevent teen driving accidents by leading by example while driving. Avoid distractions on the road by not trying to drive and text, and do not get too preoccupied with infotainment features.

It is also helpful to emphasize the most common dangerous zones for young drivers on the road. Reiterating the importance of seat belts, not driving unnecessarily at night or on the weekends, and avoiding drinking and driving at all costs can save lives.