Supporters pushing for Ohio's Young Driver Protection Bill

(File photo)

(WKEF/WRGT) - Support for Ohio’s Young Driver Protection Bill is growing and today proponents will head to Columbus to push for legislation. Also known as House Bill 293, the goal is to modernize Ohio’s young driver licensing program by making two major changes.

The first would lengthen the period of time drivers must hold a permit before getting their licenses from six to 12 months. This would give novice drivers the opportunity to get more experience.

“Teen drivers crash mostly because of their inexperience behind the wheel,” says AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Humans learn complex skills by doing, rather than by being told. Knowing the rules and basic skills are necessary, but it’s not enough for a beginner to do well. Practical experience is essential for novice drivers.”

The second change would begin supervised nighttime driving protections for novice teen drivers at 9 p.m. Ohio’s current limit is midnight, but 75 percent of Ohio’s young driver nighttime crashes happen between 9 p.m. and midnight. The adjustment helps ensure that newly licensed drivers develop the skills needed to deal with the risks associated with driving at night.

“These teen driver enhancements will not only protect teens behind the wheel, but all road users,” said Antrican.

Last year in Ohio, 124 people lost their lives in crashes involving teen drivers. Crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. New teen drivers under 18 years old are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to 2017 research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“In the long run it might keep [teen drivers] from wrecking that new car they get at graduation,” said Union resident Dustin Doane, “or blowing their parents' money on a vehicle because they wrecked it and now have to pay insurance deductibles."

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