A Stark County law enforcement officer suggests drivers education courses may not be enough to prepare teen drivers for the dangers on the roadway.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, at age 15 years and six months, an applicant can go to any driver exam station and take the knowledge and vision screening to begin the temporary permit process.
The teen must have completed a driver education class at a licensed driver training school, which includes 24 hours of classroom or online instruction and eight hours of driving time.
The driver also must complete 50 hours of driving, with at least 10 hours of night driving in addition to driver education requirements and hold the TIPIC for at least six months.
For the first 12 months of holding a license, the driver may not operate a vehicle from midnight to 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, driving from work with documentation from an employer, or driving to or from an official school-sponsored event or religious event with documentation. For additional restrictions currently in place visit http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4507.05.
Despite the existing restrictions and requirements, when asked if he is confident driver’s education courses do an adequate job in preparing teen drivers to get behind the wheel, Massillon Police Sgt. Brian Muntean explained, “No, I am not. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s realistic to ask them to do so.” Muntean added, “I would highly suggest that parents and/or families spend time with the new driver. I cannot stress enough that they should focus on ACDA, what to do / not do when stopped by law enforcement, the dangers of OVI / texting while driving, and driving under stress conditions / inclement weather conditions. Again, the experience is everything.”
Sgt. Muntean explained there should be more of a focus on what to do and not to do when stopped by law enforcement adding most of the time drivers fail miserably in that area, even having a law enforcement officer speak to the class about it. “It’s mind-boggling that it hasn’t been discussed already at some level,” he noted.
In terms of added education, Sgt. Muntean suggested an area of instruction that details the cause of most crashes.
Also, currently up for discussion in the Ohio House is the ‘Young Driver Protection Bill’ which would make two adjustments designed to project teen drivers if passed”
- Lengthen the Temporary Instruction Permit phase from six to 12 months.
- Begin supervised nighttime driving protections for newly licensed drivers at 9:00 p.m., rather than midnight.
A number of organizations including AAA, The Ohio Parent Teachers Association, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Public Health Association and others have publicly expressed support for the bill.
In our fifth and final piece of the weeklong series, Sgt. Muntean will share some insight on how parents and guardians can get involved to keep their young drivers safe behind the wheel.
Michaela Madison Reporting
(Photo courtesy of www.teendrivingaaa.com)