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Change to Ohio's Driving Age Proposed After Teens Killed
KETTERING -- A Central Ohio woman has started a campaign called "Cheyenne's Law" to raise the legal driving age from 16 to 18 years old. Cheyenne Spurgeon, 15, and two other teens were killed in June while riding with a 16-year-old driver in Licking County.
That driver had only had a driver's license for two months.
"The thought of her will always be there, the sadness will always be there," said Deserae Andreoli. She started 'Cheyenne's Law" to remember her cousin, and to drum up support from the public and lawmakers to change Ohio's legal driving age from 16 to 18.
Jeff Caldwell, owner of Professional Driving Systems in Kettering, warns against knee-jerk reactions with the proposal.
Caldwell is a former police officer, and says it was against the law in the first place for the 16-year-old driver to drive with more than one passenger.
"I don't know that changing the driving age is really going to be the answer," Caldwell said. "You've got multiple teens in a car that creates huge distractions. I mean you put one person in a car and you double the chances of a crash, you put two or more people then you quadruple that chance."
More than 2,200 teens were killed nationwide in car crashes in 2012, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The agency's data shows the majority of those crashes happened among 18-19 year old drivers.
Caldwell says current law isn't just about age, and says parents should make their own rules.
"If you're 18 or over the state does not require you to have any kind of driver training whatsoever," said Caldwell. "Is that person mature enough to be able to drive a car, handle that responsibility, along with the lives of the other people that are in that car," he added about parents of student drivers.
"As a parent I think we need to teach them to be responsible drivers and I think in this day and age it's necessary for them to drive at the age of 16," said Michele Kimbrell after dropping her son off at a driver's education class.
"You have a weapon and you have to control it, it's all your responsibility, it's a lot of responsibility," said Michele's son Joshua.
"Honestly, I go back and forth," said mom Julie Horan. "Because my nephew didn't get his license until he was 18 and was more mature, but a lot of kids have sports and jobs and it's a necessity."
Additional information on Cheyenne's Law can be found here.
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