Joshua's Law Georgia Course Online

Written by Michael Purser

Joshua's Law, enacted in 2007, made major changes to Georgia's teen driver education process. It changed the age at which teens can get behind the wheel and updated the drivers ed requirements for Class D provisional licenses.

Navigating the licensing process can be complicated. This handy guide makes it easier to understand state regulations and find an approved online driver education course that helps you qualify for a Class D upgrade.

What Is Joshua's Law?

Joshua's Law is another name for Georgia Senate Bill 226. This legislation increased education requirements for minors after the tragic death of Joshua Brown following a car accident. The statute requires all 16- and 17-year-olds to take approved drivers ed, including written instruction and behind-the-wheel practice, before obtaining a Class D provisional license.

The bill passed in 2005 and took effect for 16-year-olds in 2007, later becoming a requirement for 17-year-olds in July 2021. At minimum, these age groups need 30 hours of approved instruction — either in person or online — and 40 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel practice.

Students can choose to take six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction at a certified school as a substitute for parent/teen training during the practice experience.

The Graduated License Program

The state enacted TADRA, the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, in 1997 to create a multiphase license program for teens. Joshua's Law modifies the regulations found in TADRA to include additional steps for students upgrading from a learner's permit.

The graduated program is designed to slowly grant more and more privileges over time as young motorists develop their understanding of traffic rules and safe practices.

The steps to get a full license and relevant licensing types are outlined below.

Learner's Permit (Class CP)

You can earn a learner's permit at 15 years old. You must pass a knowledge test, pass a vision test and bring required documents to confirm your identity.

With a permit, students can only drive with someone who:

  • Is at least 21 years old
  • Holds a full license
  • Can take control of the vehicle
  • Sits in the passenger seat

Intermediate Provisional License (Class D)

At 16 years old, you can earn a Class D provisional license. Joshua's Law significantly expanded the standards for new motorists seeking to upgrade from their permit.

To earn one, students must have held a learner's permit for at least one year and one day. Teens can't skip a level of progress. A full year with a learner's permit with no major violations or suspensions is required.

Additionally, teens must complete all steps, including traffic and road safety instruction, supervised practice and behind-the-wheel lessons either with a parent or an approved instructor.

With your Class D, you can operate a vehicle with the following restrictions:

  • Cannot operate a motor vehicle between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • During the first six months, only immediate family may ride in the vehicle
  • During the second six months, only one passenger under 21 who is not an immediate family member may ride in the vehicle
  • After one year, up to three passengers under 21 who are not immediate family members may ride in the vehicle

Full License (Class C)

At age 18, you may apply for your Class C if you have no major traffic violations in the last 12 months. The upgrade can be completed using the DDS 2 GO mobile app or in person at the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).

Education Standards

The updated standards mostly affect the process of upgrading from a learner's permit. Applicants must complete approved drivers ed, including instruction and time behind the wheel. There are four ways to accomplish this. They are listed below.

Method 1

Hours Required Type of Learning
30 In-person instruction
6 Behind-the-wheel training at a certified school
40 (including 6 at night) Parent/guardian supervised driving

Method 2

Hours Required Type of Learning
30 In-person instruction
40 Parent-taught behind-the-wheel training using the current approved driving guide

Method 3

Hours Required Type of Learning
30 Online instruction with a certified virtual program
6 Behind-the-wheel training at a certified school
40 (including 6 at night) Parent/guardian supervised driving

Method 4

Hours Required Type of Learning
30 Online instruction with a certified virtual program
40 Parent-taught behind-the-wheel training using the current approved driving guide

Exceptions and Special Cases

There are a couple of circumstances that change the requirements for some teens.

Military Service

A 17-year-old who is enrolled in military service is exempt from the need to hold a learner's permit for a year and a day. To qualify, applicants must provide a DS-517 form verifying enrollment. Military recruits must still satisfy one of the four methods above.

Teens from Other States

A licensed 17-year-old motorist who holds the equivalent of a Class C from another state may obtain a Class C in Georgia without completing additional training. Instead, minors with a full out-of-state equivalent may bypass the intermediate provisional step entirely and apply directly for full driving privileges.

Satisfy State Requirements Online

SafeMotorist offers an online Joshua's Law course approved by the DDS. Our state-approved training can help you satisfy Method 3 or Method 4, as explained above, for obtaining your Class D.

Our course contains the 30 required hours of instruction, the parent/teen supervised training guide and a checklist of documents you will need when applying for your provisional license.

Because this is an online course, you can complete it at your pace from any internet-connected device. Learn anywhere using a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device. We save your progress automatically, so you can start and stop lessons whenever it's convenient for you.

Once you register, you can start learning immediately. We automatically report your completion to the DDS within two business days.

What to Do Next

After completing the online driver education course, you need to complete your behind-the-wheel practice with either the included parent/teen training guide or a certified instructor.

As you practice, remember to drive at night as well. A formal log is not required as part of your application, but your parent or guardian must accompany you to the DDS office and attest that you have satisfied all practice requirements.

Even after you finish your instruction and behind-the-wheel practice, you must still wait until you have held your learner's permit for a year and a day before you are issued your Class D provisional. Plan ahead to minimize the wait.

Make sure you completed your Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP/eADAP). Teens are required to complete this program in the classroom (ADAP) or on the internet (eADAP) to earn a certificate of completion. Most students will complete this four-hour program during their freshman year of high school. If you didn't, enroll in eADAP as soon as possible.

Finally, schedule an appointment at your local DDS office. You will need to bring a packet of documents, including:

  • REAL ID documents
  • Your ADAP or eADAP certificate of completion
  • Proof of school enrollment
  • Your Joshua's Law course certificate of completion (we provide this electronically if you take our program)
  • Your existing permit, which you will surrender

Then you will need to:

  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass your road skills test
  • Have your photo taken
  • Pay a fee
  • Have your parent/guardian attest that you completed the required practice experience


Born of tragedy, Joshua's Law sets a strict standard for Georgia driver education. According to the CDC, 2,800 teens were killed and about 227,000 teens were injured in car crashes in 2020 alone. The state's strict standards are designed to save lives.

Comprehensive, life-saving education prepares new motorists to drive safely and protects them from becoming part of that deadly crash statistic.

Completing SafeMotorist's course helps you meet the qualifications for your Class D license with convenient, always-available lessons approved by the Georgia DDS. We also offer other programs and resources for Georgia motorists.