Stricter teen driving law coming to Ohio?

CINCINNATI -- If some lawmakers get their way, Ohio could soon have some of the strictest teen driving laws in the country.

Current state law does not allow anyone other than a parent in the car driven by a licensed 16-year-old. But if a new bill is passed, it would extend that requirement to 17-year-olds.

State officials behind the bill say safety on the road is their No. 1 concern. But opponents say the potential law could affect carpools, convenience and time with friends and family.

There are more than two million licensed drivers in Ohio. Of those, more than 150,000 are ages 16 and 17.

The idea behind the bill is to reduce accidents by giving young drivers fewer distractions.

Last year, 16 and 17-year-olds had more than 13,000 accidents, and state officials said 70 percent of them were at fault.

While safety is a concern, parents and students worry about how this will affect them.

Amy Hausfeld’s son Cooper is a freshman at Wyoming High School.

She and her son both agreed the potential law would affect them negatively.

"I don't think it should be a law because a lot of people give each other rides around and it helps each other," Cooper said.

"My other two children are at soccer practice and other things so I depend on his teammates to give him rides." Amy added.

Chris Betagold is an 18-year-old driver, so the law wouldn’t affect him.

But he said he recognized that this could be an issue for events like prom and commuting to school.

"I don't think they could enforce it because either way, it's going to go on."

The bill was introduced in June and is still in the early stages of the transportation committee.

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