For many young teens, obtaining a driver’s license spells “freedom,” and they anxiously await the day they can hit the road on their own. But a proposed Ohio bill could make them wait six months longer.
Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) are sponsoring the bipartisan House Bill 293, introduced to the state’s House of Representatives this fall, which would extend learner’s permit periods, further limit the hours teens can drive alone, and impose additional application and renewal fees.
As driving deaths have become the leading cause of death for teens, lawmakers are looking for ways to combat those statistics. Currently, Ohio teens can get a driver’s permit six months after turning 15 years old, and a provisional license six months after that at age 16. The proposed bill would extend the permit phase to a full 12 months; the youngest licensing age would increase to 16 and a half.
The bill would also further restrict the hours that teens can drive without parental supervision to between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.—a full three hours earlier than the current midnight curfew.
Finally, an additional application fee for driver’s licenses and renewals would be established with the new bill. Current fees range from $2.25 to $7.25; House Bill 293 would impose an additional $5 application fee for anyone under 21.
The bill needs to pass both houses of the Ohio legislature before December 2018 to become law.