Driving solo

Teenagers will drive alone if pending Ohio house bill 204 passes

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer


Photo by Abbey Marshall.

Carpooling is teenage ritual.

However, a newly proposed bill in the state of Ohio could be problematic for teenage drivers and their carpools.

Republican Rick Perales’ House Bill 204 is aimed to protect 16 and 17-year-old drivers living in Ohio by setting tougher restrictions on them. If approved, the bill will only allow one non-family member in a car of a teenager under 21.

While House Bill 204 may be created to look after teenage drivers, the effect seems to be opposite due to inconvenience, according to senior Kailey Schneider, who said she drives friends to school, play rehearsals, and even on spontaneous ice cream trips. If the bill is passed, this carpooling would be breaking the law.

“[Kids under 16] count on other people to drive them,” Schneider said. “If they don’t have that, then there would be a hassle for their parents to [drive them].”

Teenage carpooling would be prohibited if this bill became law, but carpooling is essential for high schoolers, according to Schneider.

“I would be miffed at the fact that I can’t simply drive a friend to rehearsal,” Schneider said. “[I’d also be upset if] I couldn’t bring [my friends] to school…simply because the state of Ohio doesn’t deem me responsible enough to do that.”

According to senior Lauren Magness, carpooling not only is convenient for teenagers, but saves money.

“[Carpooling] saves gas money and it saves fuel overall,” Magness said. “[No one] wants to waste that much gas when one person could be driving.”

The bill also states that the current curfews of midnight for 16-year-olds and 1 a.m. for 17-year-olds would be pushed up to 10 P.M. — the only excuse being work or a school-related activity.

“Curfew is something that should be enforced by the parents,” Schneider said. “I don’t think it’s something that has to be mandated, because there are exceptions.”

According Schneider, if the bill is approved and put into effect, not many teenagers would follow it.

“I’m going to assume it won’t be heavily enforced because [it’s too difficult to manage],” Schneider said. “So many teens do it. It’s just not going to stop…Carpooling is just so much easier and [the government shouldn’t be] making a whole rule against it — it’s a rule waiting to be broken.”

According to history teacher Vance Reid, although teenagers may find the bill frustrating and inconvenient, father really does know best.

“I’m getting ready to have 16-year-olds,” Reid said. “If I was 16 or 17-years-old, I’d think it’s ridiculous, but at the same time, I believe that when they get older and they have their own [children], they’ll feel the same way.”

What it comes down to, according to Reid, is convenience versus your life.

“I have buried many — too many — students from driving accidents in my career,” Reid said. “I just don’t want to bury anymore.”


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