Bill would help new drivers in Ohio get more experience with nighttime, winter driving

CINCINNATI -- Getting a driver's license as a teen is a rite of passage. But driving instructors like Mike Belcuore know getting in the practice makes a difference.

"The more practice teens can get behind the wheel, the better and more ready they are to drive alone," he said.

Lawmakers in Columbus are considering a bill that increases that time behind the wheel. The "Young Driver Protection Bill" does two things, according to Belcuore: changes the temporary permit length from six months to a year and requires supervised nighttime driving beginning at 9 p.m. instead of midnight.

Changing the times when teens can drive has something to do with when crashes happen. Seventy-five percent occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. 

Some parents think it's the right thing to do. 

"People are texting, they're talking on their phone and they're not watching what they're doing," Vincenza Johnson said. "And, [I] just feel like maybe they need a lot more hours with a parent to help them stay focused."

AAA is one of the groups supporting the bill. Belcuore said having temporary permits for a year helps make sure teens experience winter driving. That's not necessarily the case now.

"They could get their license and never drive in inclement weather," he said.

The bill is currently being considered by a state House committee. 

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