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A Step by Step Guide to Driver’s Ed for Georgia Teens

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Step 1. Begin Driver’s Ed

The Georgia licensing process has three steps: permit, provisional and permanent/full license. It is important to note that you are not required to turn in a certificate of completion of driver’s ed until the second step. In other words, you don’t have to complete driver’s ed before you get your permit. However, you will have to take a written exam in order to receive that permit and by purchasing driver’s ed before that point, you gain access to practice tests and the material that will be on your learner’s permit exam.

What to expect in your driver’s ed course:

  • 30 hours of entertaining, engaging coursework
  • The ability to stop and start as you please so you can work at your own pace
  • A certificate of completion shipped to you free of charge at the conclusion of the course
  • Unlimited practice tests to prepare you for the permit exam

Step 2. Apply for your Instructional Permit

The first required step towards getting your license is obtaining your instructional permit, or learner’s permit. In order to apply, head to your nearest DDS Customer Service Center.

To qualify for a learner’s permit you must be at least 15 and no older than 18 years old. Prepare for your exam using your unlimited Aceable Driver’s Ed Practice Tests.

What to expect:

  • An application process with a $10 fee
  • A vision exam
  • A written test with two segments, each one is 20 questions and require a score of 75% or higher
    • Road rules component
    • Road signs component
  • Having your picture taken, thumbprints scanned, and signature recorded for the State

Bring along:

  • A parent or guardian to sign your paperwork
  • A certificate of attendance from your school or a signed diploma/GED (within 30 days of your application)
  • 1 document of identification
  • Your social security card or a W2 form
  • 2 forms of proof of residency
  • The $10 fee to pay for your application and test

Check here to see Georgia’s guidelines for acceptable forms of proof for each category.

Step 3. Behind the Wheel Training and Completion of Driver’s Ed

You passed the test and got your permit! That’s rad. But make sure you understand what that really means. A learner’s permit is designed for just that; learning. That means you’ll need an adult in the vehicle with you at all times at this point. Make sure your passenger is licensed, in the passenger seat, and at least 21 years old.

Over the course of the next 12 months you must:

  • Complete driver’s ed
  • Log 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training, 6 of which must be at night

It’s important to note that if you got off to a late start with your learner’s permit, you are not required to complete driver’s ed if you are 17 by the time you are ready to obtain your license. However, if you want to obtain your license at age 16, you must complete driver’s ed and receive your certificate of completion or wait until you’re 17.

Step 4. The Provisional License

So it’s been nearly a year of accompanied driving and driver’s ed and your freedom is fast approaching. Make sure you’ve completed the following steps by the time the year is up in order to get your license on time.

  • Turn 16
  • Hold your permit for a year and one day
  • Finish driver’s ed and receive your completion certificate OR turn 17
  • Log 40 hours of drive time, 6 of which were at night, all of which were accompanied by a licensed adult of at least 21 years old
  • Fill out a Driving Experience Affidavit (DDS-7) to affirm your drive time
  • Complete an Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program as required by the state of Georgia
    • This course is offered through public school and online courses

Once all of those steps are complete, schedule a road test appointment with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. This may be done online and up to 30 days in advance from your appointment date. You also have to option to complete your application in advance online.

On the day of your road test appointment, bring along:

  • A parent or guardian to accompany you on your drive to the appointment, sign your application, and present their statement confirming your 40 hours of drive time
  • A certificate of attendance from your school, validated within 30 days of your appointment, or a diploma/GED
  • 1 document of identification
  • Your social security card or a W2 form
  • 2 forms of proof of residency
  • $10 fee for the application and road test

Check here to see Georgia’s guidelines for acceptable forms of proof for each category.

What to expect:

  • A vision test
  • A road test
  • A one day wait to retake the exam should you fail your first attempt
  • A one week wait to retake the exam should you fail your second attempt

Step 5. Understand Your Restrictions

Congratulations on passing your road test! This is an extremely exciting time, full of new beginnings. Make sure you understand exactly what you can and can not do with your new provisional license so that you don’t risk having it revoked for a violation of its restrictions.

With a provisional license you can NOT:

  • Drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Drive anyone but immediate family members for the first 6 months
  • Drive more than 1 non-immediate family member who is under 21 after the first 6 months
  • Drive more than 3 passengers under the age of 21 after the first year

You will be placed under these guidelines until the time you turn 18, at which point you are eligible for your unrestricted Georgia Driver’s License, given that you have not violated the terms of your provisional license, nor have you received a DUI, reckless driving charge, or any violation worth 4 points or more.

Krista Doyle