AAA: Proposed law changes for teen drivers ‘important’

R-H Staff

DAYTON — According to AAA officials, Ohio took an important step this week to protect young drivers with the passage of House Bill 293 by the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

HB 293, the “Young Driver Protection Bill,” sponsored by Reps. Gary Scherer (R) and Michael Sheehy (D), would make Ohio’s roads safer by giving teen drivers more experience behind the wheel. The original bill proposed two small, but important, according to officials, adjustments to Ohio’s current licensing system:

•Lengthening the Temporary Instruction Permit phase from six to 12 months.

•Beginning supervised nighttime driving protections for novice teen drivers at 9 p.m., rather than midnight. (This is not a curfew – instead, supervised nighttime driving.)

During the hearing the committee passed an amendment changing the proposed supervised nighttime driving protection to 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Current law is midnight for the first year of licensure.

“Data proves that six months is not long enough for new teen drivers to become proficient, defensive drivers,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research confirms that new teen drivers, ages 16-17, are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.”

In addition, the AAA Foundation analyzed data of police-reported crashes of drivers aged 15-19, from 1994-2013 and found that the majority of people killed (66 percent) and injured (67 percent) in crashes involving a teen driver are people other than the teen themselves.

“Teen drivers crash mostly because of their inexperience behind the wheel,” continued 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 bill will now move to the floor of the Ohio House for a vote.

Timeline of HB 293

2016 – AAA organized the Ohio Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) coalition – a broad-based coalition comprised of traffic safety advocates from across the state – in an effort to modernize Ohio’s young driver licensing system.

2017 – Coalition members worked for more than a year to lay the groundwork for HB 293, which was introduced in June, 2017 by Reps. Gary Scherer and Michael Sheehy.

2017/2018 – Bill sponsors testified in front of the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety committee on Nov. 15, 2017. The bill’s second hearing took place on Dec. 13, 2017 where six proponents stepped forward in support of the bill. The bill’s third hearing took place Jan. 24, 2018, where four proponents testified in support of the bill. There are no known opponents.

R-H Staff