Due to economic necessity and the lack of public transportation in some areas, many areas allow teenagers to obtain driver’s licenses and hit the road. While that’s great news for teens seeking freedom and a way to get away from their parents, it’s less great news for the rest of us. According to the CDC, teens are much more likely to cause or be involved in serious accidents. For various reasons (like the teenage ego), teens are much more likely to ignore what they learned in driver’s ed and speed, tailgate, not wear seatbelts, misjudge road conditions, or engage in
idiotic dangerous behaviors while driving. For those reasons, many governments limit teen driving to certain times of day or require teen drivers to have an adult passenger. Those restrictions seem to be catching on, because lawmakers in Ohio recently passed laws limiting teen driving. Are these laws necessary for our safety, or is this another example of older generations needlessly disparaging youth?
The Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee passed the measure this week. The bill is formally called House Bill 293, but is more commonly referred to as the “Young Driver Protection Bill” and includes two major changes to Ohio laws concerning teen drivers and their privileges. One extends the length of Ohio’s Temporary Instruction Permit to twelve months rather than the previous nine. That permit allows Ohio teens to drive only when accompanied by another licensed driver 21 years or older. The other change extends supervised night-time driving protections for teen drivers to begin at 9:00 p.m. rather than midnight.
Will other states follow suit in restricting teen driving? While some teen drivers and soon-to-be drivers might see this laws as an unnecessary nuisance, the data do indeed support heightened restrictions on teens. Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research has found that 16-17 year-old drivers are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. Given that statistic, should teens even be driving at all?