It’s natural for parents to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety when their teens become newly licensed drivers. Excitement, because their kids are becoming more independent – and gone are the days of constantly shuttling them to all their various activities! However, there’s no doubt some nerves are involved, too. After all, information from the CDC shows that the risk of motor vehicle crashes is among the highest for teen drivers. In fact, teens aged 16-19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 or older to be involved in a fatal crash.
Why are Teens at a Higher Risk of Motor Vehicle Crashes?
It’s important for parents to understand the key risk factors their teens could face every time they get behind the wheel. This will help you set some guidelines for driving even before they get their license, so they are better prepared to become safe, confident drivers.
Some of the most common teen driving risk factors include:
- Cell phone usage: 12% of teen motor vehicle crashes involved cell phones in the moment leading up to the incident.
- Other passengers: Other teens in the car can be highly distracting to the driver, often because they’re being loud and rowdy or blasting music.
- Various forms of distracted driving: Eating, putting on make-up, or adjusting the stereo are all forms of distracted driving that teens can be prone to.
- Inexperience: Teens simply lack the real-life experience that more experienced drivers have, making them more susceptible to driving errors that cause a crash.
- Impaired driving: The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that 15% of motor vehicle crashes involved impaired young drivers aged 16-20.
- Risky behaviors: Teen drivers are also simply more likely to engage in risky behaviors like speeding, reckless driving and not wearing seatbelts.
Teen Driving Laws in Ohio
Ohio utilizes a multi-stage licensing process to ease teen drivers into becoming safe, knowledgeable and responsible drivers. This three-stage process was created in an attempt to reduce the number of fatal teen crashes that occur every year.
Here’s a brief rundown of the steps involved in becoming a licensed driver in the state of Ohio, and the laws that help protect teen drivers:
- Temporary Restriction Permit: Also known as getting your “temps,” teens who are 15 and a half years old may apply for a temporary restriction permit identification card (TIPIC). This means teens under 16 years old are allowed to drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older seated in the front passenger seat. These TIPIC holders must have a minimum of 24 hours of classroom learning, eight hours of behind the wheel instruction in driver training and 50 hours of practice driving with a parent or legal guardian before moving on to the next step
- Probationary License: When teens turn 16 and have had their TIPIC for at least six months, they can take the driving test at the local BMV. When they pass, they’ll receive their probationary license which allows them to drive without a parent or guardian. This probationary license comes with some restrictions for the first 12 months. 16-year-old drivers may not drive with more than one non-family passenger unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Additionally, teens are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., unless they are traveling with a parent or guardian or in an emergency. When they turn 17, they may have no more passengers than the number of seatbelts available in the vehicle. Should a driver under the age of 17 be convicted of a moving violation within the first six months of having their probationary license, the teen will only be allowed to drive with a parent or guardian for the next six months or until they turn 17, whichever happens first.
- Full License: Upon turning 18 years old, the teen becomes eligible for a full license. The passenger and nighttime driving restrictions are lifted at this time.
Comprehensive Teen Driving Education from DriveTeam
Ohio’s teen driving laws for becoming a licensed driver are designed to help your teen become a confident, safe driver – and DriveTeam is here to help, too! We offer Performance-Based Driver Education (P.B.D.E) for teens, a four-level, state-licensed program that far exceeds Ohio’s minimum requirements for driver education. Contact us today for more information.