An examiner with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles in Thomaston said Thursday that beginning this year, teens who drop out of high school will be denied a driver's license.
"Bottom line, if they are not in school, they can't drive," said examiner Anthony Wiggins. "Before this year, they could drop out and still get a license if their parents signed, but no more."
Under a new law which took effect this month, those under 18 not only must be enrolled in school, but also prove they have a good attendance record. Those who fail to show proof of attendance will be denied a driver's license.
"The new law is tough and there are going to be some upset people," Wiggins said, adding teenagers under age 18 apply for driving privileges each time the local DMV is open.
Beginning July 1, teens under the age of 18 must be enrolled in public or private school or an approved home school program and have an attendance record in good standing - or have received their diploma or GED - to apply or keep an instructional permit or driver's license.
According to figures from the University of Georgia, in Upson County, roughly 27.3 percentage of white high school students dropped out while more than half, 50.5 percent of the county's African-American high school students left school early in the 2002-03 school year.
Wiggins said that before the law took effect, teens with their parents' permission to withdraw from school could obtain and keep a license.
With the passage of House Bill 1190 during the last legislative session, no one under the age of 18 will be allowed to apply for an instructional permit or drivers license unless they present one of the following: