New law handcuffs teen drivers

SANDUSKY With the school year starting back up, many students are piling into cars on their way to s
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

With the school year starting back up, many students are piling into cars on their way to school, sporting events or parties.

The Ohio Teen Driving Law -- Ohio House Bill 343 -- is attempting to put a limit on the number of people teenagers can have in their cars and what hours they can get behind the wheel.

The law, which took effect in April, limits probationary license holders and permit holders younger than 18. The probationary license is valid until age 18, at which time the license becomes a full driver's license.

The law is an effort to limit car accidents and injuries, but some Sandusky High School students say it's impractical.

"I think it's stupid," said Taylor Thomson, a junior at the high school. "I think we should be able to carpool."

She agrees having more passengers can be a distraction, but as long as there are enough seat belts for everyone, it shouldn't be against the law, she said.

Chelsea Glorioso, a senior at the high school, plans to follow the law.

"I think it is a good law," Chelsea said. "Teen drivers are likely to be more rambunctious, especially around friends."

She said most people she knows aren't worried about the driving law, especially because you have to be pulled over for something else in order to be cited for it.

Charlie Sams, Sandusky assistant police chief, said the department hasn't cited anyone yet but is keeping an eye out for full cars.

"It's not the kind of thing where you can look at a kid and say, 'he's 16 or 17.'" Sams said. "Most citations will come from pulling someone over for one thing and citing them for that as well."

The law places the following restrictions on drivers:

*Probationary license holders younger than 17 are not allowed to drive with more than one person in their car, unless it's family member or they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

*Probationary driver's license holders age 17-18 can't drive from 1-5 a.m. unless with a parent, in an emergency situation or driving to and from a school activity or work.

*Probationary license holders under the age of 17 can't drive from midnight-6 a.m. unless with a parent or for the same exceptions.

*Permit holders younger than 18 can't drive from midnight-6 a.m. unless with a parent.