Obtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage for nearly every American. Some reports show that first-time drivers are waiting longer on average to get their licenses, eventually nearly everyone will. One of the reasons cited for this delay is the lowered requirements imposed upon first-time drivers aged 18 and above. In some states, applicants who have reached their majority are not required to provide proof of any practice driving and may only be asked to complete a brief driving course. These courses can run from 4 to 6 hours and are often offered online. In some states, like Ohio, no preparation is necessary, and a license can be obtained easily with the passing of a written and driving test.
What’s the Problem with That?
If a driver can follow instructions and hit all his marks with a trooper in the car, doesn’t that mean that he is ready to solo behind the wheel? Not necessarily. It is impossible to test a driver’s ability to react to the multiplicity of challenges presented by the driving environment in a 15-minute drive on a planned route. While you may remember feeling stressed driving under the scrutiny of a DMV examiner, your driving test probably wasn’t performed in an area that put you in the path of the idiots that you now regularly encounter on your daily commute. Being able to adjust for the mistakes of others and navigate the road safely takes more practice than a quarter hour on a closed circuit.
States require minors to take driving instruction and complete supervised practice time for a reason. The physical mechanics of operating an automobile can be learned relatively easily, but only time spent behind the wheel in a variety of circumstances can truly provide a new driver opportunity to learn how to properly react to all the different types of situations they might encounter. This is true regardless of age. Why do states think that this will change just because one applicant has made more turns around the sun than another?
How Ohio Is Changing the Game
The state of Ohio still ranks among states with the lowest requirements for licensing of first-time drivers aged 18 or above. Until recently, adults in Ohio could receive a license just by passing a written exam and a driving test, and the driving test could be retaken until passed successfully. This changed with legislation that went into effect July 1 of this year. This new regulation will require those adult applicants who fail their driving test to complete a four-hour driving course before attempting the test a second time.
Ohio driving instructors praise the state’s move. Charlie Allen of the Columbus Driving Academy says that driving instructors see poorly prepared drivers on the road each and every day. In his opinion, “This is a long time coming, it’s a step in the right direction.” All of Ohio should share in his sentiments as the new legislation will result in every driver sharing the road with more experienced and qualified licensees.
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