Ohio parents overwhelmingly support enhanced nighttime driving restrictions and passenger restrictions for novice teen drivers, according to a new AAA survey. The survey, released in the midst of Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 20-26), is part of AAA’s advocacy efforts to help improve Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system and save the lives of Ohio teens.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, primarily due to lack of driving experience. Appropriately structured GDL systems are the most effective way to reduce crashes among new teen drivers, as they enable these drivers to gradually gain driving experience under relatively safe conditions.
Numerous studies and crash data reports have demonstrated the need for improvements to Ohio’s current system, specifically regarding nighttime driving limits and passenger restrictions for newly licensed probationary drivers.
H.B. 204, Rep. Perales, is currently in the Ohio House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee, where it has undergone three hearings. Two of the bill’s highlights include:
Setting a 10:00 p.m. nighttime driving restriction (not a curfew) for newly licensed 16- and 17-year-old drivers.
Reducing the number of passengers that probationary driver’s license holders can carry during the first year of driving to one passenger, who must be at least 21 years old. Exceptions would be made for family members or if a parent or guardian is present in the vehicle.
AAA recognizes that parents play an important role in young driver training and recently surveyed Ohio parents to gauge their support for the proposed enhancements to Ohio’s GDL system. According to this survey:
90 percent of parents support a 10:00 p.m. nighttime driving limit for newly licensed 16- and 17-year-old drivers, with exemptions for work and school travel.
81 percent of parents support extending passenger limit restrictions to newly licensed 17-year-old beginning drivers, with exemptions for family members. (Currently, Ohio limits newly licensed 16 year olds from carrying more than one teen passenger, but newly licensed 17 year olds have as many passengers as seatbelts in the vehicle).
The survey found that parental support for these changes was highly similar in the most urban and rural areas of the state.
“This survey confirms my belief that the parents of teen drivers in Ohio realize that the provisions in this bill will help keep their sons and daughters safe by reducing the number of crashes among Ohio’s novice drivers,” said Rep. Rick Perales, sponsor of the proposed GDL legislation. “I have sponsored this bill because I am passionate about improving the safety of Ohio’s teen drivers, and am pleased that parents support this effort.”
The survey interviewed parents in Ohio households containing at least one 16 or 17 year old who has obtained either probationary or full license. Households were randomly selected using an approach known as stratified sampling. This was designed to ensure that all regions of the state, from the most urban to the most rural, were appropriately represented. Stratification is a statistical sampling technique used to ensure that certain segments of a population are not inadvertently over- or underrepresented. The use of stratified sampling ensures that enough interviews are obtained from each subgroup of interest to reliably and accurately represent the views of all members of the group.
More information on Ohio’s current GDL system, along with evidence-based tools to guide families through the learning-to-drive process can be found on AAA’s Keys2Drive website.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 82 local offices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and Kentucky servicing 2.7 million members.