Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has rolled back his decision allowing new drivers to receive their driver’s licenses without a road test.
The order allowing drivers to skip road tests was issued on April 23rd after the state had implemented massive social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders in the face of the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Governor Brian Kemp’s office released an order that immediately suspended driving tests for teen drivers. The order made no mention of rescheduling the road tests.
However, criticism from parents as well as traffic safety advocates seems to have pressured the Governor to reconsider his decision, and thankfully better sense has prevailed. Governor Kemp has now signed a new order which makes it clear that all new drivers who have received their licenses since the April order must take the road exam. After the April order suspending driving tests, as many as 20,000 Georgia teens had obtained their driver’s licenses without appearing for road tests. These teens must now take their road tests in order to retain their licenses. The new order gives drivers until September 30th to fulfill this requirement and take their tests. The order also provides for individuals to take the test either remotely or with a supervisor in the vehicle.
Several states, including Georgia, have either considered such orders or passed rules suspending driving tests during the pandemic. However, these measures have been severely criticized by safety advocates, and rightly so. As many as 20 percent of teens fail road tests. By that measure, thousands of teens in Georgia who now have driving licenses likely would not have passed the test or received their licenses if they had been required to take the road test.
Teens are at a greater risk of being involved in an accident than any other age group. They are inexperienced between the wheel, and their maturity level can place them at a higher risk of car accidents.
Lack of experience is a major factor that affects a teen driver’s safety on the roads. Teens have very few years behind the wheel and may not know how to handle traffic safety challenges or make emergency decisions in order to avoid an accident. Contrary to popular belief, most accidents involving a teen driver involve errors caused by overly-cautious and inexperienced behavior versus aggressive thrill-seeking driving.
The maturity level and decision-making abilities are still developing in teens which can make them also be impulsive and more prone to rash decisions and poor judgement. Knowing how to maneuver a vehicle to avoid an accident only comes with a certain number of hours behind the wheel.
Teens are also more likely to make bad driving decisions under the influence of peer pressure. This peer pressure may cause many to fall victim to drug or alcohol use and driving in an impaired state. And despite warnings, many teens engage in distracted driving with a cell phone or other device.
An accident at any age can be devastating, but when a young driver is involved, the injuries and consequences thereafter can last for decades. This makes it imperative that teens be tested appropriately before they are legally allowed to drive on Atlanta streets.
The Atlanta auto accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured as a result of auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, speak to an Atlanta car accident attorney at our firm, and discuss whether your case is eligible for a legal claim for damages.