Red or Green Light? Proposal to Toughen Teen Driving Laws

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Some Ohio lawmakers want to put more driving restrictions on young, inexperienced drivers.

"I guarantee you one thing: this will save lives," Ohio Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) said. Perales sponsored House Bill 204.

The bill passed a house committee on Tuesday.

The bill would only allow family members to ride with 16 and 17-year-old drivers, except in the case for one licensed passenger over age 21.

It would require anyone under 21 getting a driver’s license to attend driving school, and would move the driving curfew for juveniles up from midnight to 10 p.m.

"We have exemptions for if they are going to a school sponsored event," Perales said.

The bill text also shows an exemption for work.

"I don't think you should be really out that late driving with your friend if you are just partying, having fun," 18-year-old Matthew Thompson said.

"I think it's fine as long as they got someplace they supposed to be going instead of just out there on the streets," parent Dhaamin Muhammed Ali said.

But requiring driving school until age 21?

"Everybody can't afford to go to it. Like me, I got four teenage boys," Ali said.

Perales said the Senate could also make changes to the bill, if and when it passes by state representatives.


  • richard

    I agree i was almost killed in a headon collision by a teen driver. This happed back in may on grafton road in medina

  • gregg todd (@GT333)

    I`m sure a lot of parents will be relieved that their daughters can`t go on a date with their boyfriends, but, seriously? This bill is ridiculously restrictive. The present law is very adequate. Let parents decide what`s best for a change!

    • Mark

      let parents decide? These are the same parents whose driving skills are poor. Who believe driving while talking – notice I didn’t say talking while driving – is the “new norm”. No one know proper following distance, to use signals, how to merge (uh, newsflash – the ones ON the highway have the right of way, not those getting on!), when to pull out (if you make oncoming traffic with the right of way slow you have broken a law)…

      Drivers Ed is needed.

      Minors have no reason to be out after 10pm.

  • Jeff

    While your looking into saving lives, address the older drivers that are a danger on the roads. I haven’t had too many issues with younger drivers lately, but older people have scared me many times in the recent past. Driving way too slow, not knowing where they are going and impeding traffic flow, driving over the marked lane lines. I once watched an older woman drive over on a marked bicycle path lane for three miles. I know we want to respect the older drivers rights, but when they risk others lives daily, it must be addressed.

  • marcie

    Seriously? Driving school till 21? Sounds more like they want more money….and yes I have 4 kids but im sure as heck not going to pay for extra years for driving school

    • Cindy T

      I agree! I made my son wait till he was 18 because the drivers education classes are a scam for the operators of these company’s to make money. Now I need to hurry up and have my 18 year old take the test before this new bill is law. Anyone agreeing with the new bill is crazy! Any other decisions you would like the government to make for your and your child??????

  • Kelly

    I think this is overboard if you don’t want your child out past a certain time make curfew & if you don’t want your child riding or driving with other kids or with a certain amount of kids then make the rules. Parents need to step it up stop passing the job onto law makers. Try setting rules & parent. Before you say do you have kids yes I do a daughter in high school.

    • Kantby Kilt

      Yes, because teens all listen to thier parents. Do you think every teen drives the speed limit, doesn’t text and only has one friend in the car because mommy and daddy says so?

      • tony

        If you have not raised a child respectful enough to follow rules you have made, its doubtful they will be respectful enough to follow the law. The choices and curfews should fall to the parents. And yes, i have kids, 3 of them. My 17 year old sometimes works till 11 oclock, the curfew part would affect greatly responssible kids with jobs.

  • ruth

    You people might think different if someone in your family who was only 50 years old had his whole life to live killed by a car full of 17 and 18 years olds going 70 miles an hour loosing control and crashing head on to my best friends brother’s 2012 Silverado in a 45 mile speed zone! RIP Johnny.

    • Mark

      for the driver… which is pretty much impossible without affecting everyone in the car.

      What will the punishment be for not following the age limit? Needs to be painful, or it’ll be blown off.

  • R. Strong Heart

    Ohio needs to stop whining about this. CA has had these kind of strict laws as long ago as the 90’s…I know my kids couldn’t drive with ANYONE under the age of 18 in the car. Curfew is curfew – man/woman/parent up and know where your kids are and what they are doing no matter if they are driving or not. Can’t afford driving school? Well maybe ya should take away their cell phones, I-Phones, etc. for a few months in order to pay for them to learn skills that should last a lifetime. The rest of us shouldn’t have to suffer the possible losses ( and worry about our own kids) because others don’t like to be held responsible for their children.

  • matt

    Requiring anything past age 18 is crazy, this is just another case of too much government and not enough parenting…and yes..I have 3 kids and one will be driving age in a year. I have no issue with just family in a 16 year olds car..but not past 17

  • john

    Draw a line at eighteen. If you are going to make them take driving class at 21 government should reduce costs greatly.. we can’t afford this kids need jobs too

  • Sherri Theiss

    Totally agree with the curfew and passenger restrictions, but am upset that parents should be making this decision rather than allowing children to be out so late. As for the driving school regulations, that it’s absurd. I was unable to take driving school as a teenager and wouldn’t have been able to start my job or drive my baby around to doctors appointments if I’d have had to wait until 21 for my license. I believe if the government wishes to put restrictions on the age of the classes beyond the age of 18 then it should provide the courses free of charge to families and individuals who otherwise can’t afford them.

  • Imjustsaying...

    I agree with the passenger restrictions. (Yes I’m a parent of 2) Too many teenagers in a car is a recipe for disaster. Just look at all the fatal accidents reported on the news in the past few years involving cars filled with teenagers. As for the curfew, it’s fine, too, as long as provisions are made for teenagers who have jobs to be out after 10; many need to work to help their families and to pay for insurance, gas, etc. While it should be the parents setting curfew, many don’t even know where their kids are half the time and when they do set curfews, the kids don’t listen and come in whenever. This is a direct result of parents not being allowed to discipline their kids like they did years ago without someone crying child abuse. The government is stepping in because too many parents let their kids do what they want as long as they are out of their hair. As for driving school, I think it’s a good idea because many of these kids get behind the wheel and don’t have a clue what they’re doing or how to react in certain situations. Many insurance companies give discounts for taking driving classes. But for those who can’t afford it, maybe the state could set up some sort of grant (like the Pell Grant) to assist families who need help, and driving schools should make prices more affordable. They could also require the cars driven by teenagers have those units that record driving habits and then parents could check online to see how their young drivers are behaving while they are out driving.

  • Michelle

    I agree with parts of this but not all. I have teen drivers so I deal with teen driving everyday. Yes drivers ed if under 21, to be honest it should be required by all drivers no matter what age you start to drive. A new driver is a new driver age does not matter on that one. 10pm is fine if with other people in the car but to be on the road after that alone as long as curfew is not being violated should not matter. They may be over a friends and be coming home for the night so 10pm needs a little tweaking in that rule. Also not allowing anyone but family or a licensed driver over 21 is a little much for that long. I could see for 6 months or something but I don’t want to have to take my kids on dates when they are going to a movie or school event with a boyfriend/girlfriend when they are able to drive themselves that’s a little crazy, it’s called just have the cops start cracking down on more than one passenger in the car. That rule is already in place but I don’t know of anyone who has been pulled over for it or even as much got in to trouble for it.

  • Roberta J

    The lawmakers need to worry more about what is going on their own home.
    They get these crazy ideas and start pushing them on everyone, I don’t understand what gives them the right to tell us what is good for ourselves? I’m tired of the government do’s and don’t!

  • lindz

    These restrictions are stupid. It isnt the new drivers causing our problems, its the 21 and over crowd with dui’s and the old people who should have to take a road test yearly. A curfew enforced by law of 10pm is stupid because on the weekends why cant they be out until 12 with friends if parents want their kids home at a certain time then its up to them to set the rules. Anyone agreeing with this is stupid and wants the government raising their children so that they are not held responsible and have to step up as parents and do their job.

  • Kris

    This is becoming a little too restrictive, to the point where the government is attempting to take over rules that should be up to the parents. But because the majority of parents lack the responsibilty needed to properly set rules for a child, the goverment has been given a chance to come in and create more restrictions. and they LOVE doing that.

  • Roberta J

    What about all the children that have jobs,, what is going to happen to them? My son goes to a career school, plus high school, and works 5 days a week, because this is what he wants, and only 17. He is a great teenager, and there are alot of others out there that this law would take away alot of opportunities!!!

  • Jeannieb

    It’s funny how they can mandate driving school when they’re not the ones paying for it! They taught driving at my high school. If they want to change the laws they should have a solution and offer to bring that back. Oh wait a min ohio is broke! Lol

  • John

    It doesn’t matter how many laws u put in place, the violators are still going to be there. Drunk driving laws aren’t preventing drunk drivers, they are just fining more! All these restrictions do is restrict the people who are responsible and actually follow the laws. Just because your a teen driver doesn’t mean you don’t know how to drive. Every morning on my way to work and on my way home at night and when I work midnight shifts at work, I see drivers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s who cannot drive and get into wrecks. Your just as likely to die from a teen driver running a red light as an adult. The issue is teen accidents make the news because of the pula ritzy of it. There are many accidents that go unreported in the media and social places. People need to get with it and remember what you did as a kid. Stop being a nanny state and safety overboard. Teach and parent responsibility! Kids will be kids and violators will violate. I do suggest one thing and allow driving school in high schools again that way everyone learns and practices before 18.

  • Tammy

    So if you are going to make the law that these kids have to be 21 to do anything then I should be able to keep my child tax credit until the age of 21 and not lose it at age 17.

    • Imjustsaying...

      They didn’t say they couldn’t do anything until they are 21; they said the law would “only allow family members to ride with 16 and 17-year-old drivers, except in the case for ONE LICENSED PASSENGER OVER AGE 21. It also said that for anyone UNDER 21 to get a license, they would have to attend driving school. I think that’s a great idea, but if driving school is required, then the cost either needs to come way down so families can afford it or Ohio should set up a grant program to assist families who need help paying the fees. Better yet, bring driver’s ed back into the schools like it was years ago when student’s took it as one of their elective classes and it didn’t cost a thing.

  • Tammy

    It was a general statement about the kids being 21. They want them to be 21 to drive with out drivers ed, they want to change the smoking age to 21, drinking is already at 21. If they are not an adult until 21 then I want to keep my tax break until 21.

    I have 4 kids, 2 in high school, one with her temps, she has completed drivers ed but does not have her license yet. They catch a ride home from school with a freind becasue they live 1 mile away from the school. They are classed walkers by our school district, if this law changes their friend will no longer be able to drop them off after school and they will again be walking on snow covered sidewalks in negative temps.

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