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Ohio Bill Would Extend Learner's Permit Time For Teen Drivers

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An Ohio lawmaker co-sponsoring a bill aimed at improving teen driver safety says his support comes from a personal experience.

State representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) said when his now-adult daughter was a new teen driver, she spun out of control and hit a tree. One passenger had to be flown to the hospital, but all four teens in the car survived.

Scherer says he understands some parents might not be all that happy about new restrictions on teen drivers.

“A parent would love for them to be able to drive themselves to all the activities that teens have these days," Scherer said. "But if we can save a life, the extra 'burden' of not being able to get the driver’s license for six months is pretty minor.”

The proposal would extend the learner’s permit from six months to a year. Scherer says states that passed similar legislation have seen noticeable improvements in teen driver accident and death rates.

Another provision of the bill would prohibit permit holders from driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., but Scherer said this could be revised depending on feedback.

The bill now heads to the House floor.  Scherer hopes it will be passed by the end of the year.

Anna joined ideastream in 2019, where she reports on health news for WCPN and WVIZ in Cleveland. She has also served as an associate producer for NewsDepth. Before that, Anna was a 2019 Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.