All the Georgia Traffic Laws You Should Know

Georgia’s traffic laws are designed to keep you safe on the road—and failing to follow them can lead to steep fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
Written by Amy Bobinger
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Whether you’re fighting traffic on one of Atlanta’s busy interstates or cruising through the Peach State’s gorgeous countryside, Georgia’s driving laws can help protect you and your passengers from accidents—and avoid penalties like tickets, higher
Georgia insurance rates
, and license suspension.
  • Georgia’s driving laws are written in Title 40 of the Code of Georgia, but you can also find them in the Georgia DDS driver’s manual. 
  • You must have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance with you at all times when you’re driving.
  • Georgia’s traffic laws cover everything from where you can stop your car to let out passengers to how you can use a device behind the wheel. Be sure you fully understand the laws before you hit the road.

Georgia driver’s license and insurance laws

In the state of Georgia, traffic laws are established under Title 40 of the Georgia Code. These uniform rules of the road are enacted by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to help protect motorists and passengers from harm.
If you just need a quick reference—or you don’t feel like sifting through legal language—you can browse the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Driver’s Manual instead. 
Need to know: The Georgia DDS Driver’s Manual is more than just a helpful resource for drivers—it contains all the information you’ll need to pass your written knowledge test when you apply for your
Georgia driver’s license
, provisional license, or permit.

Driver’s license laws

All states, including Georgia, require you to hold a driver’s license or permit to operate a motor vehicle. But you’re only eligible for an unrestricted license once you reach the age of 18.
  • Get your permit when you’re 15: Georgia teens who are at least 15 years old (or 14 if they qualify for a hardship license) can apply for a Class CP instructional permit, which allows them to drive under the supervision of a licensed driver who is at least 21.
  • Apply for a Class D provisional license when you’re 16: Once you’re at least 16 and have held your permit for at least one year and one day, you can qualify for a provisional license. This license allows you to drive unsupervised, but only under certain conditions.
  • Upgrade to an unrestricted Class C license once you’re 18: To transition to a full license, just go online to the Georgia DDS website. Your new license will be sent in the mail.
You must have the appropriate license or permit with you when you drive. If you’re pulled over, you’ll need to present your license to law enforcement. Driving without a license in Georgia is a misdemeanor and can result in serious penalties.
Driving without a license or with an expired license
Fine of up to $1,000, up to 12 months in jail
Driving with a suspended or revoked license (first offense)
Fine up to $500 (plus surcharges), minimum two days in jail
Driving with a suspended or revoked license (second and third offenses)
Fine up to $2,500 (plus surcharges), minimum 10 days in jail, six-month license suspension, license reinstatement fee up to $700
Driving with a suspended or revoked license (subsequent offenses)
Fine up to $5,000 (plus surcharges), minimum one year in jail, felony charge
Doesn’t have license on person while driving
Possible jail time and fines, reduced to $10 fee if you can produce valid license in court
Need to know: Your license may be suspended or revoked if you’re convicted of a serious traffic offense like reckless driving or driving under the influence.

Georgia insurance laws

It’s important to always keep
proof of insurance
with you when you drive.
Georgia’s car insurance laws
mandate that you must carry the following coverage: 
You must show proof of this coverage if you are pulled over by law enforcement or are involved in an accident. Without it, you could face a misdemeanor and these additional penalties. 
Failure to show proof of insurance
Fine of $25, as long as you can provide proof of insurance in court
Driving without insurance (first offense)
Fine of $200, minimum 60-day license suspension, additional fees of $85
Driving without insurance (subsequent offenses)
Fine of $1,000, minimum 90-day license suspension, up to one year of jail time, additional fees of $185
Remember: The more driving without insurance charges you rack up, the more severe the penalties will be. You may also be unable to register a vehicle, buy Georgia license plates, or renew your registration. 
If you are involved in an accident and cannot provide proof of insurance, your vehicle could be impounded.
Pro tip: You can save on your car insurance costs by using a helpful car insurance comparison tool like the

General traffic laws in Georgia

By understanding the traffic rules in Georgia, you can help keep yourself, your passengers, and others safe on the road.
Traffic regulation
What you need to know
Right of way
When turning left at an intersection or into an alley or driveway, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
When turning right at a red light, yield right of way to through traffic and pedestrians. Watch for signs near a traffic light prohibiting right-on-red turns.
When trying to enter a main road from an alley or driveway, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, then turn onto the main road when safe to do so.
At a four-way intersection, through traffic has the right of way. If four vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right may proceed first. 
Always yield to school buses, maintenance workers, construction vehicles, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles with their lights or sirens on.
When you’re on a multi-lane roadway, the center and left lanes are for passing. Stay in the right lane unless the right lane is closed or you’re:
  • Passing another vehicle on a two- or three-lane road 
  • Driving on a one-way road
  • Passing a stopped emergency or construction vehicle with their lights flashing (Move Over Law)
Only pass when the center lane is a broken dotted line and the road ahead of you is clear.
Passing on the right is permissible on a multi-lane highway with two or more lanes going in the same direction or if the car in front of you is making a left turn.
U-turns are allowed in Georgia unless there’s a sign that prohibits them. 
Do not make a U-turn on a curve, at the top of a hill, or anywhere else where approaching vehicles can’t see you.
Turn signals
Always use your turn signals when you: 
  • Change lanes
  • Turn
  • Pull out of a parking spot parallel to the road
  • Slow down or stop
  • Enter or leave a highway
  • Pull over to the side of the road
Never park or stop your vehicle in these places:
  • On a highway
  • On the street side of a parked vehicle
  • In an intersection
  • On a sidewalk or a crosswalk
  • Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb
  • Along or across from a street excavation
  • On a bridge, overpass, or in a tunnel
  • On train tracks
  • In the area between roads on a divided highway
  • On a controlled access roadway
  • In any place with an official sign prohibiting it
You may only stop or park your vehicle momentarily in these places to pick up or drop off a passenger: 
  • In front of a private or public driveway
  • Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
  • Within 20 feet of a crosswalk or intersection
  • Within 30 feet of a stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal
  • Within 20 feet of a fire station driveway
  • Within 75 feet of the spot across the driveway of a fire station
  • Within 50 feet of a railway crossing
  • Anywhere a sign prohibits standing

Georgia speeding laws

Obeying the Georgia speed limits is key to avoiding expensive speeding tickets and other penalties. Exceeding the speed limit or driving way below it in a way that impedes the natural flow of traffic can result in fines and points on your license.
But it’s also important to drive safely for the road conditions. For example, if there is fog that reduces visibility, ice on the road, or a traffic jam, you should reduce your speed to operate your vehicle safely.

Speed limits

You’ll find Georgia speed limits posted along the road. If there’s no sign to be seen, these are the speed limits as outlined in the DDS Driver’s Manual: 
  • Urban or residential roads: 30 mph 
  • Unpaved county road: 35 mph
  • Rural interstate: 70 mph
  • Urban interstate or multi-lane divided highway: 65 mph
  • All other areas: 55 mph
Remember: School zones, construction zones, and other areas will have lower posted speed limits. You should also limit your speed while passing any emergency vehicles that are stopped with their lights flashing.
Super Speeder tickets in Georgia
are applied if a driver is convicted of going 75 mph above the speed limit on a two-lane road or 85 mph or more above on any other road in Georgia. This ticket comes with a $200+ fine. If you do not pay it on time, your license will be suspended.

Move Over laws

If you’re approaching a stopped emergency, utility, construction, or other vehicle with flashing lights,
Georgia’s move over law
requires you to move to the leftmost lane if possible. This provides a buffer lane between traffic and the stopped vehicle so the personnel can safely continue to work. If it isn’t possible to move over, slow down and be prepared to stop. 
Failure to comply with this law will cost $500 in fines for a first offense.

Georgia car accident laws

If you are involved in a
car accident in Georgia
, you are legally required to remain at the scene. Stop your vehicle if safe and move it out of the way of traffic—turn on your hazards to warn approaching vehicles. Then, check on the other people involved and call 911 if they need medical assistance.
You must call law enforcement if anyone is injured or killed or if there is property damage over $500. You will have to provide the following to the other drivers and police (if involved): 
  • Your full name and address
  • Your license plate number
  • Driver’s license number
  • The name of your liability insurance company 
Make sure you gather the same info from the other parties involved. Take witness statements and photos of the damage. Provide reasonable assistance, including first aid and transportation, to anyone who needs it. 
You must also notify law enforcement about an accident if: 
  • The vehicles involved in the crash can’t be safely moved off of the road
  • A driver leaves the scene of the accident (hit-and-run accident)
  • You suspect that someone involved is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Leaving the scene of a crash without exchanging information with the other parties is considered a hit and run and is a serious offense in Georgia. 
Failure to stop (first offense)
Misdemeanor, fines from $300 to $1,000, up to one year in jail, up to one-year license suspension
Failure to stop (second offense in five years)
Misdemeanor, fines from $600 to $1,000, up to one year in jail, up to three-year license suspension
Failure to stop (third offense in five years)
Misdemeanor, fines of $1,000, up to one year in jail, license revocation for five years
Failure to stop with injury or death
Felony, jail time up to five years, fines
If a vehicle involved in a crash was unattended, you still have to leave your information if there was property damage. Make sure you leave a note with your name, address, and description of the circumstances of the accident. Failure to do so can result in the penalties listed above.
MORE: Georgia hit-and-run

Georgia DUI laws

Hit and runs are serious enough, but driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI/DWI) is another serious charge in Georgia. No matter your age, a DUI is a misdemeanor and comes with severe penalties. Let’s dig into the specifics and the penalties of
Georgia’s DUI laws
  • For Georgia drivers over 21, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more will result in a DUI charge
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21—if an underage driver has a 0.02 BAC or higher, they are considered intoxicated
Georgia has an implied consent law: This means that your breath, blood, or urine can be tested to determine if you are driving under the influence. Any driver who refuses to take these tests can have their driver’s license or highway driving privileges suspended for one year.
The penalties for driving under the influence in Georgia include fines, jail time, and license suspension. You’ll also likely be required to file a
Georgia SR-22
certificate—also known as proof of financial responsibility. This is a form sent by your insurance company that proves you’re carrying at least the state minimum insurance.
A DUI charge will also affect your insurance rates, driving record, and will include further penalties for repeat offenses. 
Here’s how it all breaks down for drivers over 21:
DUI (first offense)
10 days to 12 months in jail, $300 to $1,000 in fines, minimum 20 hours of community service, 12-month license suspension
DUI (second offense within 10 years)
90 days to 12 months in jail, $600 to $1,000 in fines, minimum 30 days of community service, temporary revocation of license and plates, three-year license suspension
DUI (third offense within 10 years)
120 days to 12 months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, minimum 60 days of community service, vehicle forfeited, permanent revocation of license
DUI (fourth or subsequent offense in 10 years)
Felony charge, at least one year in jail, fines of $1,000 to $5,000, license suspended for 10 years, 60 days of community service, surrender license plates
DUI with a minor passenger
Child endangerment charge: $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail, in addition to applicable DUI penalties
DUI resulting in injury or death
Felony charge, three-year license suspension, in addition to applicable DUI penalties
For drivers under 21, the charges are even more serious and can impact your future job opportunities. Here are the penalties for an underage DUI charge:
Underage DUI (first offense)
$300 to $1,000 in fines, 24 hours to 12 months jail time, minimum 20 hours of community service, minimum six-month license suspension
Underage DUI (second offense within 10 years)
$600 to $1,000 in fines, 72 hours to 12 months jail time, minimum 30 days of community service, minimum six-month license suspension
Underage DUI (third offense within 10 years)
“High and aggravated” misdemeanor, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, 15 days to 12 months in jail, minimum 30 days of community service, minimum six-month license suspension
Underage DUI (fourth and subsequent offenses within 10 years)
“High and aggravated” misdemeanor or felony charge, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, 90 days to five years in jail, minimum 60 days of community service, minimum six-month license suspension
Need to know: According to
Georgia’s open container laws
, you can get in trouble for having an opened vessel of any alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, even if you’re not drinking. 

Georgia distracted driving laws

While most drivers are aware of how dangerous driving under the influence is, distracted driving is on the rise as one of the major causes of car accidents. According to a traffic violation summary by Georgia’s DDS, a total of 57,605 accidents resulted from distracted driving in 2021.
Distracted driving can include anything that takes your attention off the road, including: 
  • Visual distractions, such as looking at your phone
  • Manual distractions, like eating or reaching for something in the back
  • Auditory distractions, such as overly loud music
  • Cognitive distractions, or anything that takes your mind away from driving
Even though eating a bagel or listening to a podcast while driving isn’t technically illegal, driving distracted is a dangerous undertaking. There is one specific area that Georgia does come down on, however:
texting and driving
Technically known as the Hands Free Georgia Law (HB 673), this law has been in place since July 1, 2018. 
  • Drivers are not allowed to hold or support a phone while driving
  • Phones and other stand-alone electronic devices, like tablets, can only be used with a mount, phone holder, wireless device, or headphones
  • It is illegal to write, read, or send any text-based communications while you’re driving—this includes emails, text messages, online articles, or other online data
  • You are not allowed to watch, broadcast, or record a video while you are driving
Here are the penalties for breaking the Hands Free Georgia Law:
First offense
One point on your license, up to $50 fine
Second offense
Two points on your license, up to $100 fine
Third and subsequent offenses
Three points on your license, up to $150 fine

Georgia seatbelt laws

In Georgia, seatbelts are required by law for all front-seat occupants of a moving vehicle. Passengers under 18 must wear a seatbelt at all times. Not wearing a seatbelt is considered a primary offense, which means that a law enforcement officer can pull you over just because someone is not wearing a seatbelt.
  • If you’re caught breaking
    Georgia’s seat belt laws
    , you’ll get a ticket for a nonmoving violation and be charged a fine of at least $15
  • If a child in your vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt, the fine goes up to $25
For young children,
Georgia car seat laws
require the following types of car seats for children up to eight years old: 
  • Birth to two years (or manufacturer’s weight and height ratings): Rear-facing infant seat 
  • Two years or over (or manufacturer’s weight and height ratings): Front-facing infant and child seat
  • Four to eight years: Car seat or booster seat
Once children reach four feet nine inches in height—usually between eight and 12 years of age—they can generally use an adult seatbelt safely. Until then, any child should stay in a well-fitting booster seat so that the belt fits safely over their body. 
The state recommends that children under twelve sit in the back seat whenever possible, though eight-year-olds may sit in the front if the seat belt fits properly.
Remember: If you don’t follow Georgia’s car seat laws, you could be facing a fine of up to $50 and one point on your driving record. Repeat offenses could double the fine and points, or even result in license suspension.
MORE: Booster seat laws in Georgia
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