Ohio organizations, citizens and safety experts will took a stand Wednesday to make Ohio’s roads safer and reduce the growing number of teen driver crashes. Supporters for H.B. 293, the proclaimed “Young Driver Protection Bill,” sponsored by Representatives Gary Scherer and Michael Sheehy, gathered for proponent testimony in front of the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety.
The hearing was held at the Ohio Statehouse, Room 017 at 10 a.m. Those supporting this bill through written or oral testimony include: AAA, Ohio PTA, Nationwide, Ohio Health, DRVN, parents of teen drivers, and a teen driver. In addition, renowned teen driver safety expert, Dr. Robert Foss, from the University of North Carolina was in town to speak with the legislature about teen driver risks and how to address them as they consider efforts to address the growing teen driver crash problem in Ohio.
HB 293 would make Ohio’s roads safer for teens, and everyone who shares the roads with them by making two small but important adjustments:
– Lengthening the Temporary Instruction Permit phase from six to 12 months. (Research shows that six months is not long enough for beginners to learn all they need to know).
– 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).
“These protections for newly licensed drivers protect them from dangerous driving conditions and inexperience,” said Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central’s director of legislative affairs. “We are proud to support HB 293, which will help to curb deadly crashes involving new teen drivers.”
Crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. 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. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen driver.
A modern young driver licensing system is a proven effective strategy for reducing teen driver crashes. Unfortunately, Ohio’s licensing system hasn’t kept up with the latest research. As a result, young driver crashes in Ohio remain high and have increased. In 2016, 8,300 injuries and fatalities occurred in Ohio teen driver crashes – a 15 percent increase from 2014.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.