AAA Looking to Change Teen Driving Laws

by Kim Tewalt on October 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a new study showing teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel.

The study, which is in conjunction with teen driver week, shows speeding, late night driving, and alcohol use all increase when teen drivers carry passengers their age. Fatal crashes also increase when young drivers are carrying teen passengers.

"They are also putting everyone else on the road at risk. Really, keeping the teenagers safe is only going to help make the roads safer in general." said Kimberly Schwind, AAA Spokesperson.

AAA would like to see Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing law strengthened so that 17-year-old drivers may only carry one non-family member. Currently, the law allows 17-year-old drivers to carry as many passengers as there are seatbelts in the vehicle, while 16-year old drivers can only drive one non-family member passenger.

"This study actually found that more 17-year-old drivers in Ohio were getting involved in fatal crashes with passengers than 16-year-olds." explained Schwind. "That seems a little strange because 17-year-olds are actually more experienced. However, because they can have more passengers in the vehicle, they’re going to be doing more risky behaviors, and that increases their fatal crash risk."

Schwind says starting in 2013, AAA will begin lobbying to strengthen Ohio’s laws, with hopes of limiting 17-year-old motorists to just one non-family member passenger.