Ohio Bill to Increase Driver’s License Age Advanced

At the end of October, the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee voted on a bill that could impact many young drivers. The bill is called House Bill 106 and it would increase the age to get a driver’s license from 16 to 16 ½. The age to acquire a driver’s permit would remain at 15 ½ under this bill, but individuals would have to hold the permit for one full year. 11 out 15 lawmakers voted to advance the bill. There are justifiable arguments on both sides of the issue. 

   The sponsors of the Driver Safety Bill are Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Micheal Sheehy (D-Oregon). The bill was created because there were many concerns over dangerous driving situations and people sought to find a solution to some of the problems. 

   On Ohiohouse.gov, Representative Sheehy said, “We live in an age full of distractions and new dangers, and a rapidly changing transportation system. Ohio has certainly seen an uptick of injuries and deaths related to teen drivers, and this legislation will make sure that our drivers are fully prepared for the dangers of modern roadways.”

   People who support the bill are concerned with safety and developmental reasons. There have been many studies that show that the teenage brain is not fully developed until adulthood.

   According to the Chicago Tribune website, “…the teen brain is at a particularly vulnerable point in development. Fifteen- and 16-year-olds have the logical reasoning of an adult, experts say. But their young minds’ social and emotional development remains relatively immature… The teenage brain also is particularly vulnerable to distraction and peer pressure, and is undergoing explosive development.” 

   There is also evidence for many young drivers being involved in dangerous situations on the road. 

   According to Dosomething.org, “16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age… 1 in 5 of 16-year-old drivers has an accident within their first year of driving.”

   On the other side, those who do not want the bill to pass wonder how much of a difference six months is and from a teenager’s perspective, that it takes away some of their rights.

   On Thepostathens.com, Representative Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Portage County) stated, “We’re limiting our young people in society to only be able to do certain things. And when they reach graduation age, we ask them, ‘What do you want to do with their lives?” 

   The bill will be voted on again soon. If the bill officially passes, many young drivers living in Ohio will be affected. This will mean that 16-year-olds will have to wait an extra 6 months to attain their driver’s license, after of course, holding their permit for one full year. Also, if the bill ends up being successful, it may influence other states to start passing similar bills. While some people may disapprove of the bill because it is limiting some rights, others believe that it is important to be passed for the safety of all drivers on the road. 

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