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Ohioans between 18 and 20 years old who don’t drive yet may soon be required to complete drivers education before earning a drivers license. A teen driving bill in the Ohio State House was amended earlier this week to include the provision that would require Ohio drivers education for anyone under 21.
If it passes, the bill would affect thousands of young drivers, who are the most at risk for car crashes. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that young drivers represent a disproportionately high amount of traffic deaths in the United States. Drivers under 20 make up only 6% of all licensed drivers but are involved in 19% of all fatalities in the country.
According to Ohio Department of Public Safety, drivers 16-17 years old are at fault in 71% of crashes in Ohio. Drivers 18-20 years old are at fault in 66.7% of crashes.
Currently, Ohio drivers education is required only for teen drivers under 18. Drivers education courses play a crucial role in educating young drivers about traffic laws and safe driving techniques.
If the teen driving bill passes, it would make Ohio similar to other states where drivers education is required for drivers over 18. In Texas, adults 18-24 are required to complete a 6-hour adult drivers ed course . In Florida, all first-time drivers are required to complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course.
The bill would also tighten restrictions on new and probationary drivers. Drivers who have had their license for less than one year would not be allow to drive with passengers under 21 who are not family members. (Currently one nonfamily member of any age is allowed to ride with new drivers.) The curfew for probationary drivers would change from midnight to 10 a.m.