CINCINNATI, OH (November 15, 2017) — As sponsors of House Bill 293 testify before the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee today, AAA is strengthening its support for the legislation that would protect the lives of teen drivers on Ohio roads by modernizing Ohio’s young driver licensing system.
HB 293, the “Young Driver Protection Bill” sponsored by Ohio House Representatives Gary Scherer (R) and Michael Sheehy (D) would make two important adjustments to protect teen drivers:
- Lengthen the Temporary Instruction Permit phase from six to 12 months.
- Begin supervised nighttime driving protections for novice teen drivers at 9 p.m., rather than midnight. (This is not a curfew – instead, supervised nighttime driving)
“Last year in Ohio, 124 people lost their lives in crashes involving teen drivers,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “These teen driver enhancements will not only protect teens behind the wheel, but all road users.”
Ohio’s young driver licensing system currently gives teens just six months to learn to be safe drivers. Research indicates this is not long enough. A 12-month permit phase would allow every new teen driver the chance to practice driving in variety of driving scenarios such as adverse weather conditions, heavy traffic, construction zones and the new threat of driving alongside impaired drivers under the supervision of an adult.
“Teen drivers crash mostly because of their inexperience behind the wheel,” added Moore. “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 with is essential for novice 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, ages 16-17, are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Supervised nighttime driving protections for newly licensed teen drivers protect them from the most dangerous driving conditions while they are still inexperienced and adjusting to driving without adult supervision. Ohio’s current limit is midnight, but 75 percent of Ohio’s young driver nighttime crashes occur 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.
“It’s important to note that this is not a curfew,” continues Moore. “Newly licensed teen drivers will still be able to drive without an adult for work and religious- or school-related activities, as long as they have a signed form or letter. For all other trips, these newly licensed teen drivers can be out on the roads, they will simply need an adult with them if they are behind the wheel past 9 pm."
The Ohio Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Impact Teen Drivers, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Ohio Health, the Ohio Public Health Association, Nationwide Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, InAlign Partners, DRVN and others have joined AAA in support of this bill. AAA is working with additional traffic safety stakeholders to educate the community about the bill and overall teen driver safety.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.