First, they came for our vapes. Now, they’re coming for our driver’s licenses. The nanny state that is the Ohio Legislature is back at it again.
On October 30th, House Bill 106 was advanced by the Ohio House Committee on Transportation via an 11-4 vote. The bill would raise the minimum age to get a probationary driver’s license from 16 to 16 and six months. The legislation would prohibit those on a probationary license from driving between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The bill was introduced by Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon). Both individuals have received money from Nationwide Insurance, an entity that strongly supports HB 106.
The legislation follows a familiar trend in both state and national government, where elected officials somehow think they have the moral and constitutional authority to regulate the lives of individuals. Moreover, teenagers and young people seem to be hit the hardest by that government overreach, as it is the only group in society that has no vote in how the government ought to be run.
Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Portage County), who voted against advancing HB 106 agrees, stating, “We’re limiting our young people in society to only be able to do certain things. And when they reach graduation age, we ask them, ‘What do you want to do with their lives?”
Reps. Scherer and Sheehy should put themselves in the shoes of those they wish to regulate and take a few refresher high school classes because the numbers and logic of HB 106 simply don’t add up.
According to sociologist Mike Males, who studies the effects of similar legislation in California, the number of vehicle-related fatalities among 16-year-olds drop because they simply stop driving. Males also notes that motor fatalities in 18 and 19-year-olds, however, increase at an even greater rate than the decrease seen in their younger counterparts. That can be attributed to the fact that many teens will wait until they are 18 years old to obtain a license when the restrictions of being a minor are lifted.
Furthermore, in a report published by the Journal of The Medical Association corroborates Males’ point that strict driving age laws result in higher fatality rates for older teens and lower rates their younger peers.
Representative Gayle Manning (R-Ridgeville) reiterated Males’ point when she voted against advancing HB 106, stating, “We have to think, are we better off having 18-year-olds on the road that have had no training? Or 16-year-olds that have had a year of training?”
The buck must stop somewhere. It’s high time that the youth of this state and this nation protect themselves from having their freedoms legislated away, and it starts with HB 106.
Matthew Geiger is a freshman studying economics at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Matthew? Tweet him @Mattg444.