Braelen Devoe, a 16-year-old Centerville High School student, practices maneuverability with Sharon Fife, owner of D&D Driving School. Devoe said she doesn’t think the the state should pass a bill that would make teenagers hold their permit for a full year because teenagers need their driver’s licenses so their parents don’t have to taxi them around everywhere. STAFF PHOTO / HOLLY SHIVELY
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Ohio considers major changes to teen driving laws

Ohio teens could face more training requirements, more restricted night time driving hours and six more months of waiting for their first driver license.

State lawmakers are once again considering legislation to strengthen training requirements for new drivers:

* Learner’s permits would have to be held for 12 months, up from six months.

* Teens would be eligible for their first licenses at age 16 1/2, up from 16.

* Probationary licensees would be barred from driving after 10 p.m. without a parent, instead of midnight. Exceptions for work, school and religious functions would still be allowed for driving past curfew hours.

Related: Ohio increases air patrols to catch distracted drivers

“Ohio has certainly seen an uptick of injuries and deaths related to teen drivers, and this legislation will make sure that our drivers are fully prepared for the dangers of modern roadways,” said state Rep. Michael Sheehy, D-Oregon, a co-sponsor of the bill.

House Bill 106 cleared the Transportation Committee this week but it still needs approval by the full House and Senate and signature by the governor before it would become law.

Anthony Bouie of Dayton said he got his license when he was 23, but still believes he needed more experience before he was a responsible driver.

“It’s not something that people should get hung up about (a new law),” Bouie said. “It will give them more experience to learn to drive properly before they rush out and get themselves killed. … Because you got to think, how did you feel that first time you got behind the wheel? It’s the excitement, the acceleration. I don’t think it’s as much teen drivers as it is new drivers because I could go back to when I first got behind the wheel, I wasn’t turning on blinkers or doing anything like that. I was just so excited to drive.”

Tammy Koverman of Clark County said it was a scary experience when her children were behind the wheel for the first time. Although her daughter was older than 18 when she took her driver’s test, Koverman required that she still go through a driver’s education class.

University of Dayton student Emily Flohre said she thinks a year of a learner’s permit could help teen drivers, but suggested instead pushing the permit age back to 15 so driver’s could still get their licenses by 16.

Crashes top cause of death for teens

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and new teen drivers, ages 16-17, are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Related: Ohio may change hours for teen drivers, require a year for temps

Supporters of HB106 include auto insurance companies, children’s hospitals, Ohio PTA, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and others.

AAA and others pushed for the same bill in 2017.

A Dayton Daily News examination of Ohio Department of Transportation data found drivers ages 15 to 19 make up about 5% of the driving population in Ohio, yet they are involved in about 15% of all accidents.

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