Before jumping to Ohio’s curfew law, let’s discuss what exactly curfew laws are.
Curfew laws are laws that ban or limit your right to be out in public at certain times. In some cases, these laws require businesses to close their doors during certain hours. In others, they limit when juveniles can go to the mall or be out in public without adult supervision. It can be used to maintain public order (as was the case during the 2003 northeast blackout, the 2005 French riots, the 2010 Chile earthquake, the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and the 2014 Ferguson unrest), or to suppress specific organizations. Curfews have long been directed at specific groups in a variety of cities and states, including Japanese-American university students on the West Coast of the United States during World War II.
Historically, the first formal “curfew order” was issued by the British Board of trade in 1918, requiring stores and entertainment venues to turn out lights by 10:30 p.m. to conserve fuel during World War I.
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Ohio Curfew Law
Ohio curfew law took effect on July 1, 2015. According to the law, all drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 who hold a probationary license are affected by the new law. Teen drivers with less than twelve months on their probationary license are not permitted to drive between midnight and 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Once the teen has held a probationary license for twelve months or more, the restriction is limited to the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
The goal of Ohio curfew laws is: “to prevent juvenile crime and to protect youth from victimization.”
Advantages of Ohio Curfew Law
It reduces the threat of human trafficking and child exploitation
A child goes missing in the United States every 40 seconds. Although most of the 460,000 missing kids are eventually brought home safely, about 1,500 kidnappings are part of that data. Out of those incidents, about 1 in 5 of them involve an adult taking a child who is not part of their family. Predators often come out at night, and their primary targets are girls between the ages of 12-17. Boys are becoming more of a target for human traffickers as well.
Curfew laws aren’t just about making sure that teens don’t get into trouble, even when they are marketed as such. Having a curfew also takes kids away from the people who would attempt to exploit or hurt them for personal gain.
Curfew can teach lessons about personal responsibility
Teens are finding their way in today’s world. A curfew, either from their parents or their community, is a way to reach personal responsibility through time management. If you know that you must be home by a specific time, then you must create plans that make that outcome possible. If you fail to find success in this area, then there are legitimate consequences to reinforce the idea of being responsible.
Parents can take this opportunity to talk about what works for their families. It helps kids to begin making choices for themselves, and this trait stays with them throughout their lives; by giving them the opportunity to make these decisions with a safe environment and supportive structures.
Peace of mind for families
The consistent enforcement of curfew law can help parents or guardians to know that their child will be home safe by a specific time. If they are not, then there are options available to make that happen in the near future. This advantage lessens the risk of having something happen when it is least expected, especially since most teens have a feeling that they are invincible in some way.
A curfew also reduces the number of situations that may lead to drinking, drug use, and other choices that teens might later regret. It is easier to give in to pressure when you are tired, and it is late at night.
It is an opportunity for parents and teens to set healthy boundaries
All of us set limits in our lives in multiple ways. By curbing the time that a teen can be outside late at night, the curfew laws help put boundaries in place for parents and teens that help to keep everyone safer. Communities and families can work together to reinforce the barriers that parents set in the home while fostering the independent spirit of teenagers as they work to discover who they are as individuals.
This advantage only works when there is actual parental involvement in the teen’s life, but mentors can also help teens to see the possible benefits that flow when one decides to follow the rules.
Curfew laws work to prevent gang violence
Residents in the cities and counties across the United States look at curfew laws as a way to keep kids safe. The evening is the time that gangs typically choose to commit violent acts under the cover of darkness. Some groups even visit adjoining communities that do not have curfew laws to fight their rivals, often resulting in intensified destruction and mortality. When local governments impose curfews, the goal is to defend the innocent and round up the guilty.
Stricter teen driving laws went into effect in the State of Ohio on July 1, 2015. Restrictions include no driving between midnight and 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. In Cleveland, the curfew is broken down into four age groups. The City of Cincinnati enforces a curfew between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for minors under the age of 16.
Other exceptions to the curfew include emergency situations or travel to or from employment. In Toledo and Akron, curfews for minors are enacted to prevent juvenile crime and protect youths from victimization. To be effective, the focus of the law should be on the locations, ages, and times the jurisdiction is seeking to restrict. In Toledo, the curfew applies to all minors under the age of eighteen.