Ohio bill would put restrictions on teen drivers

| Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An effort in Ohio would restrict when a teen can be behind the wheel and how many people can be in the vehicle with them.

The House approved a bill this spring that would restrict driving for those under age 18 with a temporary instruction permit. It would outlaw driving between midnight and 6 a.m. – a restriction now in place for those 17 and under.

Teens with probationary driver’s licenses between 17 and 18 years old would be prohibited from driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Probationary license holders are exempted from the time restrictions if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom Raga, R-Deerfield, the bill also would forbid drivers under 17 from having more than one passenger who is not a family member.

Raga’s bill – HB343 – is awaiting assignment to a committee in the Senate.

A similar Senate bill includes the time and passenger restrictions for young drivers but would also make teens wait until they turn 16 before they can get their temporary instruction permit. Existing law allows them to get behind the wheel at 15 years and six months.

The Senate version – SB221 – is in the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee.

If lawmakers and the governor approve changes to state law, Ohio would be added to the list of about 40 states that already have graduated driver’s license systems that restrict young drivers.

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