Recent studies rank Ohio 49th — nearly last in the country — when it comes to laws that protect teen drivers.
Young driver crash rates in Ohio remain unnecessarily high and have rapidly increased in recent years. Unfortunately, Ohio’s system hasn’t kept up with the latest research on teen driver crash prevention, which has led to rising teen crash rates.
In 2016, approximately 8,300 injuries and fatalities occurred in Ohio teen driver crashes. This is a 15-percent increase from 2014 and equates to an average of 23 injuries or fatalities every day involving a teen driver.
Ohio HB 293 proposes to modernize Ohio’s young driver licensing system by making two critical adjustments:
• Lengthening the temporary instruction permit phase from six to 12 months.
• Beginning the nighttime driving protections for newly licensed drivers at 9 p.m., rather than midnight.
Sentinel readers offered their opinions via our Facebook page.
“As a mother of 18 and 16 year olds I fully support these restrictions. We made my oldest wait over a year until he got his license,” posted Angel Maynard Price of Johnsville.
“With this new restriction we wouldn’t had to of pay the temp renewal fee. Plus, I really don’t see a reason for any newly licensed teen to be out past 9 p.m.”
Julie Duryea of Mansfield agrees.
“My third daughter is about to get her permit. I fully support these restrictions and hope they become law. I’ve seen way too many of my kids’ friends get in serious accidents,” she said.
Parental responsibility is a key factor, according to Ronda Stall of Galion.
“I find it sad that we need laws for what should be common sense for parents. I have an 18- and 14-year-old. My daughter did get her license after six months, but as a parent I knew she had not driven in many road conditions and did not turn her loose in the ice and snow. I took her out driving in them … until I felt she knew what she was doing,” she wrote.
Ohio’s young driver licensing system currently gives teens just six months to learn to be safe drivers. Research indicates this is not long enough. A 12-month permit phase ensures every new driver has the chance to practice driving in all weather conditions with an adult to help keep them safe.
Nighttime driving protections for newly licensed drivers protect them from the most dangerous driving conditions while they are still inexperienced and adjusting to driving without adult supervision. Ohio’s current limit is midnight, but 75 percent of Ohio’s young driver nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Some think beginning the nighttime driving protection at 9 p.m. helps ensure that newly licensed drivers develop the skills needed to deal with the risks associated with driving at night.
This article was submitted by Kimberly Schwind, Senior Public Relations Manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club