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Teenage Drivers during the Holidays – Avoid Nighttime and Drowsy Driving

The Thanksgiving holiday is over.

The deals and steals from black Friday were hopefully a hit.

And now the countdown begins for Christmas to arrive.

However, before the carols start, millions of kids will be dismissed from school for holiday break. Among those millions of kids are teenagers who have access to a vehicle. Studies done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute say the dangers for teen drivers are serious. According to the studies, 58% of teen crash fatalities occur between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Both studies determined that a combination of visibility and fatigue play a role in the high number of automobile accidents. As we all know, the more we drive and practice the intricacies of driving, the better and more prepared we become.  For teens that are new to driving, the ability to respond quickly and anticipate conditions becomes a challenge.  Additionally, teens who are staying out later because they don’t have school the next morning begin to experience fatigue while driving.

Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous for any driver. However, the study found that a teenager receives an average of six (6) hours or less of sleep a night. When you are driving exhausted, you lack the ability to react quickly, make responsible judgments or see clearly.  Studies have also found problems with comprehension, performance and motivation during driving.  Unfortunately, 70% of the teens surveyed in the study admitted to driving while being tired.

Although states cannot “mandate” drivers from turning over the key because of drowsiness, there are restrictions that have been put in place to hopefully ease the number of accidents and fatalities.

Many states have enforced a nighttime driving restriction when new drivers receive their license and complete driver’s education. The Graduated Driver License restrictions are in place to limit the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle. The following laws (TADRA) are mandated in the state of Georgia:

  • The provisional license holder is not allowed to drive a vehicle between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • In the first six (6) months after license issuance, the holder is not allowed to have any (0) passengers in the vehicle unless they are members of the driver's immediate family.
  • In the second six (6) months (months 6 – 12) after license issuance, only one (1) person under 21 who is not an immediate relative may ride in the car.
  • Twelve (12) months after license issuance, the holder is not allowed to have more than three (3) passengers under 21 years old who are not members of the driver's immediate family in the vehicle.
  • The driver may not drive under the influence.

Important measures have been put in place to lower the number of teens who are driving when there is low visibility and/or fatigue. However it is imperative that we talk with our teens who are new to driving as road conditions, untraveled areas and late nights can challenge them and their abilities to get home safely. Please discuss these matters with your young adult so they can remain safe over the holiday break.

For more information on this article and teenage driving laws in Atlanta, contact Kaine Law.

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