The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) develops status reports for each state's efforts to improve the health and safety of its citizens. Georgia's most current ratings are moderate to good with only one poor mark. We have some good injury prevention programs in place, but our lawmakers can do more to prevent injuries from Georgia traffic accidents.
The CDC Approves of These Georgia Traffic Safety Practices
The CDC rated several of Georgia's traffic safety laws and rules as meeting or exceeding their recommended standard. Georgia's holding period for a provisional license is 12 months, which is the CDC's recommended duration. This time allows first-time drivers the time to gather necessary experience behind the wheel while still under supervision.
Another highly rated feature of Georgia's safety laws was the restriction on younger passengers in the vehicle with a driver holding a provisional license. During the first six months of the issuance of the license, only immediate family may be passengers in the vehicle. The following six months of licensing, only one person under the age of 21 who is not a family member may be a passenger.
Georgia is also doing right by prolonging the lifting of nighttime and young passenger restrictions until the age of 18 or older. This law helps make sure inexperienced drivers have adequate supervision when driving is more dangerous. It also prevents friends from becoming a safety risk.
Georgia Laws Can Improve in These Areas
The CDC's report serves to point out areas where Georgia legislators can improve laws to protect their citizens. The first area of improvement is passenger restraint laws. Georgia's seat belt laws cover only the use of seat belts in the front seats. The recommended law requires all passengers to wear a seat belt.
The child passenger restraint law can also use some improvement. Georgia's law only requires children younger than seven years old to be in a car or booster seat. The CDC recommends a child rides in a safety seat until age eight. CDC studies show that booster seats help prevent injuries in a traffic accident.
Georgia drivers are also receiving their provisional licenses a little too early for CDC standards. The CDC recommends that teens wait until 16 to get a provisional, a year later than Georgia allows.
The last area of minor improvement is with Georgia's ignition interlock law. Current laws require an ignition interlock for anyone with two or more DUI convictions. The CDC recommends requiring that all drivers convicted of DUI use an ignition interlock device to prevent further drunk driving incidents.
Georgia scored poorly in only one area of concern, the nighttime driving restrictions for provisional license holders. Georgia's law only restricts provisional licensed drivers from nighttime driving between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The CDC recommends banning teens from driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
You Can Follow the CDC's Recommendations On Your Own
The CDC's status report is merely a list of suggestions posed to local and state officials. These ratings do not guarantee current laws will change. We do have good news though; the laws do not have to change for you to follow the recommended safety standards.
To improve your family's safety, lay down the law and detail the consequences your teen will face for breaking the rules.
You can require your child to wait until they are 18 to get their provisional license and restrict driving during nighttime hours. You can also enforce the better use of seat belts and age-appropriate car seats for your passengers. In addition, make sure you check out these teen driver tips before letting your child out on the road.
Even safe drivers who follow or exceed safety laws can suffer an injury in a traffic crash with a negligent driver. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. helps injured Georgia residents recover damages from a car accident. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation regarding your legal options after a serious traffic accident: 404-474-0804.