Georgia

Department of Driver Services (DDS)
2206 East View Parkway
P.O. Box 80447
Conyers, GA 30013
(678) 413-8400 (in Metro area) 1 (866) 754-3687 (all others) | www.dds.ga.gov

Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 1456
Atlanta, GA 30371
(404) 624-7000 | www.dps.georgia.gov

Georgia Department of Transportation
One Georgia Center
600 West Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 631-1990 | www.dot.state.ga.us

Department of Revenue Property Tax Division
4245 International Parkway, Suite A
Hapeville, GA 30354-3918
(404) 968-0480 | www.dor.ga.gov

Title Application

An application for the first certificate of title in the state must be submitted to the DDS or the county tag agent within 90 days from the date of purchase.

An application for the first certificate of title in the state must be submitted to the DDS or the county tag agent within 90 days from the date of purchase.

The application must contain (1) the name, residence, and mailing address of the owner; (2) a description of the vehicle; (3) the date of purchase; and (4) the name and address of the person from whom the vehicle was acquired and the existence or non-existence of any liens on the vehicle.

If the vehicle was purchased from a dealer, the dealer is required to submit the application.

If the application is for a vehicle last previously registered in another state, the certificate of title issued by the other state or county must be included with the application. If the applicant is the last previously registered owner in such state, the application need not contain the name and address of the person from whom the vehicle was acquired.


Title Transfer of Ownership

The transferor must enter on the certificate of title the mileage shown on the odometer at the time the transferor assigns the vehicle unless the vehicle is more than 10 model years old or the vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 16,000 lbs.

The transferor must, at the time of delivery, execute an assignment and warranty of title to the transferee in the space provided on the certificate of title.

If the transfer is by operation of law, the transferee has 30 days to apply for new title.

Requires proof of the payment of the sales and use tax as a precondition to titling motor vehicles.

The transferor must enter on the certificate of title the mileage shown on the odometer at the time the transferor assigns the vehicle unless the vehicle is more than 10 model years old or the vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 16,000 lbs.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Owners of manufactured homes are required to obtain a motor vehicle certificate of title.

The purchaser of a manufactured home must submit a certificate stating that all ad valorem taxes assessed against the manufactured home have been paid.

Registration Application

The application must include the name, place of residence, and address of the applicant; a description of the vehicle; from whom, where, and when the vehicle was purchased; and the total amount of liens with the name and address of the lienholder.

Initial applications for registration must contain satisfactory proof of ownership.

No application shall be accepted and no certificate of registration shall be issued to any motor vehicle which was not manufactured to comply with federal emission and safety standards applicable to new motor vehicles.

There is no period of grace for late registration.

All applications are made to the tag agent of the county wherein the applicant’s vehicle is required to be returned for ad valorem taxation.


Registration for Non-Residents

A person must register his or her motor vehicle within 30 days of becoming a resident of the state.

A non-resident owner must register his or her vehicle if temporarily residing in Georgia longer than 30 days.

Military personnel who are stationed in Georgia but are not residents of Georgia are not required to obtain Georgia automobile license plates if they have valid license tags from the resident state.


Registration Type

For individuals, the registration period is the 30-day period ending at midnight on the birthday of the owner whose surname first appears on the certificate of title except in counties authorized by a local act to have a 4-month staggered period. For businesses and organizations, registration periods are staggered throughout the calendar year depending on the first letter of the entity’s name.

A purchaser or transferee must register a motor vehicle within 30 days of acquiring the vehicle. This registration is valid until the person’s next registration period.

Every owner of a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, and every owner of a trailer must, during the owner’s registration period in each year, register the vehicle and obtain a license to operate it for the 12-month period until the person’s next registration period. Initial registration of new vehicles may be for a one-time 2 year registration period.


Emissions Inspection

An annual emissions inspection is required prior to registration in covered counties. The covered counties are Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale. All covered vehicles must have a current passing Certificate of Emission Inspection or a waiver to obtain a vehicle registration each year.

The inspection requirement applies to all light duty vehicles, light duty trucks with a GVWR of 8,500 lbs. or less, and vehicles operated for 60 days or more per year on federal installations located in whole or in part in the covered counties.

Vehicles which are capable of being operated on both gasoline and any alternate fuel are covered by the inspection requirements, and must be tested on gasoline.

The following vehicles are exempt:

  • Vehicles that run exclusively on alternate fuel
  • New vehicles, until the test year 3 years following the model year of the vehicle.
  • Vehicles more than 25 years old
  • Vehicles owned or registered by persons age 65 or older

A vehicle that fails re-inspection despite appropriate repairs meeting or exceeding $787 will be granted a waiver. This amount increases each year by the Consumer Price Index.

OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.

Visit Georgia’s Clean Air Force for more information on the state’s Enhanced Vehicle Emission Inspection and Maintenance Program.


Safety Inspection

No periodic statewide safety inspection requirement. Any law enforcement officer may conduct an inspection of any vehicle suspected of being operated in an unsafe condition.

No person may drive or move on any highway any motor vehicle or trailer unless the equipment is in good working order and adjustment as required by law and the vehicle is in a safe mechanical condition that will not endanger the driver, other occupant, or any person on the highway.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $18.00

Registration Fee: $20.00

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $18.00

Registration Fee: $20.00

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $8.00

Registration Fee: $1.00

Driver’s License Fee: $5.00

Title Fee: $8.00

Special Plates: $25.00

Plate Disbursement

License plates and revalidation decals are issued only upon applications made to the local tag agent.

The owners of new or unregistered vehicles are allowed 7 business days after the date of purchase to purchase a tag and/or renewal decal.

License plates and revalidation decals may be purchased by mail.

Metal license plates issued on or after January 1, 1997 are used for a period of 5 years, and a revalidation decal is issued in those years in which a metal plate is not issued.

The color scheme for license plates is black and white with peach emblem.

Defaced or illegible plates or renewal decals must be turned in at the time the replacement tag and/or renewal decal is issued. If replacement tags or decals were obtained for lost or stolen tags or decals, the original tags or decals must be immediately turned in to the Internal Administration Unit (IAU) of the DOR.

All passenger cars, including station wagons and other utility vehicles, including motorcycles, motor scooters, and buses, must display the reflectorized license plate assigned to it on the rear of the vehicle.

All trucks and trailers must, where practical, display the license plate on the rear of the vehicle. However, if the truck or trailer routinely engages in activities wherein it is inevitable that a license plate attached to the rear would be defaced, destroyed, or lost, the plate may be attached to the front.

Every motor vehicle must at all times have the license plate assigned to it firmly attached in such a manner that it will not swing and that it will be plainly visible. It is the duty of the operator to keep the license plate legible at all times. No license plate may be covered with any material unless the material is colorless and transparent.

Applicants for a disabled persons license plate must submit to the county tax commissioner or tax collector a certificate from a doctor certifying that the applicant has permanently lost the use of a leg or both legs, or an arm or both arms, or any combination thereof, or is so severely disabled as to be unable to move without the aid of crutches or a wheelchair.

Transfer of Plates

If a person ceases to own the vehicle for which an annual or 5-year license plate and revalidation decals were issued, the owner may apply to have the plates assigned to a new vehicle of the same class as the original vehicle.

The transferee of a motor vehicle may not use the license plate and renewal decal assigned to that vehicle unless the transferor also assigns the plate and decal to the transferee.

When the registered owner of a jointly owned vehicle is deceased, the license plate issued for the vehicle may be transferred to the surviving owner’s name, provided that the surviving owner acquires a new certificate of title.

The local tag agent can transfer or assign renewal decals and license plates for all license plates which they maintain in inventory. All other transfers must be mailed directly to the IAU of the DOR.

All tags and renewal decals are transferable to a new owner except dealer tags, amateur radio operator tags, handicapped veteran tags, National Guard tags, disabled veterans tags, citizens’ band radio tags, special prestige tags, foreign consuls’ tags, commanders of patriotic organizations tags, legislative tags, and other special tags.

Driver's License Examination

The DDS examines every applicant for a driver’s license.

Applicants 18 years of age or older with a valid and current license issued by another state of the United States or the District of Columbia who surrender their previous licenses to obtain a Georgia license are only required to take an eyesight test (20/40 visual acuity required).

All other applicants are required to take both a written and on-the-road driving test as well as an eyesight test.

An applicant that fails the driving test the first time must wait until the next day to retake the test. After the second or subsequent failure, the applicant must wait 7 working days to retake the test.


Graduated Driver's Licensing

Georgia has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

Individuals at least 15 years of age may apply for an instruction/learner’s permit to operate a non-commercial Class C vehicle.

  • While driving, the permit holder must be accompanied by a person at least 21 years of age licensed to drive a Class C vehicle.
  • Novice drivers must hold the permit for at least 12 months and 1 day and pass a road test before being eligible for an intermediate license.
  • Instruction permit holders must accumulate 40 hours (including 6 at night) of supervised driving certified by a driving instructor, parent, or guardian.

Individuals at least 16 years of age may apply for an intermediate license.

  • Intermediate license holders may not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. — no exceptions.
  • During the first 6 months of the intermediate license, novice drivers are prohibited from transporting any non-immediate family members (secondarily enforced). During the 2nd 6 months, no more than 1 passenger under 21 (immediate family members exempt). Thereafter, intermediate license holders are prohibited from transporting more than 3 passengers who are non-family members under 21 (secondarily enforced).

At age 18, drivers are eligible for a full unrestricted license as long as they have had no major traffic convictions in the last 12 months. The intermediate license requirements apply to all applicants for an unrestricted license.

Drivers may only move from 1 stage of licensing to the next if they have completed 12 consecutive months without a conviction for 1 or more of the following: DUI, eluding a police officer, drag racing, reckless driving, hit and run, and any moving violation for which 4 or more points are assessed.

Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 17.


Driver's License Issuance/Application

The applicant is required to state whether his or her driver’s license has ever been revoked or suspended in any jurisdictions and whether he or she has any previous convictions for violation of motor vehicle laws. All applicants will be screened through the National Driver Registry, and if they are found to be in suspension, revocation, or cancellation in their former licensing jurisdiction, then their Georgia driver’s license will be subsequently suspended, revoked, or cancelled and they could be punished for the commission of a misdemeanor.

Any person who is a resident of the state for 30 days shall obtain a Georgia driver’s license before operating a motor vehicle in the state.

An applicant for an initial Georgia driver’s license or change in license class must meet Secure ID requirements. A new color photograph is required on all new licenses.

Applicants and licensees have 60 days to notify the DDS of a change of name or address.

License exemptions exist for military personnel, their spouses, and children and for non-residents who have a valid license issued by their home state. Military personnel on active duty may drive on an expired license for up to 6 months after returning to the state.

Persons under 18 years of age who have dropped out of school or been suspended or expelled may be denied a license.

A person must be 18 years of age to receive a C, E, or F non-commercial license, or a Class A, B, or C commercial license.

Social security number on license is not allowed.


Driver’s License Renewal

Every driver’s license will expire on the licensee’s birthday in 8th year. Every person age 65 and older applying for a renewal in person must successfully complete an eyesight exam.  Driver’s licenses may be issued to non-citizens for their authorized period of lawful presence, up to a maximum of 5 years.

Licenses are renewable 150 days prior to expiration.

Active-duty military and full-time students (or dependent of same) living out-of-state may obtain a non-photo renewal of their Georgia driver’s license by mail.


Types of Driver's Licenses

Classes A & B: Vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more.

Class C: Any single vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 26,000 lbs. or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 lbs. and any self-propelled or towed vehicle that is equipped to serve as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel purposes and is used solely as a family or personal conveyance. Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR not in excess of 26,000 lbs may be operated under a Class C license if operated by a farmer, used to transport agricultural products, livestock, farm machinery or farm supplies and are not used in the operation of a common or contract carrier.

Class D: Provisional license applicable to non-commercial Class C vehicles for which an applicant desires a driver’s license but is not presently licensed to drive.

Class E: Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds, and all vehicles included within Class F and Class C.

Class F: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds, and all vehicles included within Class C

Class P: Instructional/learner’s permit applicable to all types of vehicles for which an applicant desires a driver’s license but is not presently licensed to drive.

Class M: Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and 3-wheeled motorcycles.

Distracted Driving

Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Instruction permit or Class D license holders under 18 are prohibited from using any kind of wireless telecommunications device while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cellular phones.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

The emergency phone number is 911 or *GSP (*477).


Headsets

Wearing a headset or headphone which would impair that person’s ability to hear, or any device which impairs a person’s vision, is not permitted while driving. Exempts headsets or headphones used for communication purposes.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Georgia requires the use of ignition interlocks for impaired driving repeat offenders only.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow below the posted speed limit to a speed reasonable for road and traffic conditions.


Seat Belts

Each occupant age 18 and older in the front seat of a passenger vehicle shall wear a seat belt when the vehicle is in motion.

Violation of the seat belt law is a standard offense.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is not permitted on an interstate for persons under age 18 unless in an enclosed area.


Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 8 until 18 and over 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a seat belt in all seats.

Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a child restraint installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, if available, in the rear seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.


Railroad Crossing

A driver must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of a railroad when: (1) a clearly visible device gives warning of the immediate approach of a train; (2) a crossing gate is lowered or a human flagman signals the approach of a train; (3) an approaching train is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity to the crossing; or (4) a stop sign is posted.

Motor vehicles carrying passengers for hire, school buses, and vehicles containing hazardous substances, explosive substances, or flammable liquids must stop at all railroad crossings and look and listen in both directions.


School Buses

The driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus stopped on the highway shall stop before reaching the bus when the visual signals indicating that traffic should stop are in operation. School buses are authorized to mount video cameras on the vehicle to record violations of this law.

Bumper Height

Modification of original vehicle bumper height or altering suspension system is illegal if altered more than 2 inches above or below factory recommendations.


Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, when visibility is less than 500 feet, and in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather.


Hazard Light Use

The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are not permitted, except for snow and ice driving conditions.


Glass/Window Tinting

Front windshields may not have material or glazing applied or affixed to reduce light transmission.

Material and glazing may not be applied or affixed to the rear windshield or the side or door windows so that light transmission is reduced to less than 32%, plus or minus 3%, or light reflectance increased to more than 20%.

The restrictions do not apply to the rear and side windows, except those windows to the right and left of the driver, of any multipurpose passenger vehicle, school bus, church or other nonprofit organization van, limousine owned or leased by a public or private entity, any vehicles with windows that were tinted before factory delivery or are permitted by federal law or regulation.


Telematics

No statewide telematics restriction.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

No person may drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, side windows, or rear windows of such vehicle which obstructs the Driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

A person may wear a headset or headphone for communication purposes while operating a motorcycle.

No person may operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear that complies with standards established by the Commissioner of Public Safety.

No person may operate or ride upon a motorcycle that is not equipped with a windshield unless he or she is wearing an eye protective device that complies with standards established by the Commissioner of Public Safety.

Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, must be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

Motorcycle handlebars cannot be more than 15 inches in height above that portion of the seat occupied by the operator. Motorcycles cannot be equipped with a backrest more commonly known as a sissy bar that is designed in such a way as to create a sharp point at its apex.

A person must ride a motorcycle only upon the permanent and regular seat; and the operator must not carry any other person unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than 1 person.


Motorcycle Licenses

Operators of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and 3-wheeled motorcycles must have a Class M driver’s license or a Class MP instruction permit.

A person must be at least 16 to receive a Class M license.

Motorcycle license applicants who have successfully completed an approved rider education course will be required to pass an eye examination to obtain a Class M license.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

No statewide noise limit restriction.


Mopeds & Other

Mopeds are exempt from registration and title requirements.

Every person operating a moped has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle except that the operator of a moped is not required to comply with requirements relating to headlights, taillights, windshields, and eye-protective devices.

No person under 15 years of age may operate a moped or an electric-assisted bicycle upon the public roads and highways. No person may operate a moped upon the public roads and highways of this state unless he or she has in his or her possession a valid driver’s license, instructional permit, or limited permit issued to him or her. All classes of licenses, instructional permits, or limited permits issued are valid for the purposes of operating mopeds upon the public roads and highways of this state. No license or permit is required for the operation of an electric-assisted bicycle.

No person may operate or ride as a passenger upon a moped unless he or she is wearing protective headgear that complies with standards established by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 100 feet; trailer length: 53 feet (56 feet for boat transporters); width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding mirrors); height: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads).


Trailer Brakes

Every trailer of 3,000 lbs. GVWR or more must be equipped with brakes on all wheels.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

Safety chain required.


Trailer Lighting

Every trailer and pole trailer must be equipped with 2 taillights located at a height of not more than 60 inches nor less than 20 inches and that emit a plainly visible red light from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.


Trailer Mirrors

Every motor vehicle which is so loaded as to obstruct the Driver’s view through the rear of the vehicle must be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the vehicle.


Trailer Speed Limits

As posted.


Trailer Towing

N/A.


Trailer Other Provisions

Riding is permitted in towed pickup campers.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death or injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.00.


Bail Bonds

Mandatory recognition of AAA arrest bond certificates up to $1,000 with specified exceptions. State law also permits surrender of Driver’s license in lieu of bond for Georgia drivers only.


Liability Laws

Compulsory liability insurance law. Owners of motor vehicles must provide proof of liability insurance at the time they apply for registration. Insurance coverage must be submitted electronically by insurance companies to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Exceptions: (1) vehicles covered under a commercial vehicle policy may continue to use an insurance card; (2) if a policy was provided in the last 30 days a written binder agreement is sufficient; (3) a rental car agreement provides proof of insurance; and (4) if a driver can prove that he or she bought the car within the last 30 days then a written declaration of coverage for another motor vehicle is good proof of insurance.

Drivers must keep proof of minimum insurance coverage in vehicle.

All motor vehicle insurance policies issued in the state must provide coverage for damage for liability on account of accidents of not less than $25,000 because of bodily injury or death of 1 person in any 1 accident, to a limit of not less than $50,000 because of bodily injury or death to 2 or more persons in any 1 accident, and $25,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any 1 accident.

State has non-resident service process of law and limit on liability to injured guests.


Weigh Stations

The following vehicles must stop: (1) agricultural vehicles; (2) passenger or specialty vehicles, either single or in combination (towing a trailer) with GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more; and (3) commercial trucks with GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are required for riders age 15 and under.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Georgia is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.