A teenage rite of passage -- getting a driver's license and cruising around with a carload of friends -- ends Thursday.
Sixteen-year-olds can still get a license, that Holy Grail of teenage freedom, but other than relatives, they'll be able to carry only one passenger at a time.
With rare exceptions, they won't be able to drive at all between midnight and 6 a.m. And novice drivers cited for a moving violation, such as speeding, must deal with the ultimate humiliation -- having Mom or Dad with them again when they drive.
Blame (or credit) House Bill 343, passed last year and signed into law by Gov. Bob Taft just before he left office in January. The law takes effect Friday.
Chances that a teenage driver will be killed in a crash increase exponentially based on the number of passengers; chances are nearly three times as great when three passengers are in the car.
In states with passenger and nighttime restrictions such as those in the new Ohio law, the death and injury rate is 20 percent lower for teenage drivers.
Many students and parents don't seem to know about or understand the law.
Addie Zavatsky, 16, a junior at Bishop Hartley High School, said she'll have to adjust her driving habits, at least until she turns 17.
"I play volleyball and I do take people to games and practices," she said.
"It's going to change a lot of things. People are going to have to take more cars and find different rides."
She also said it will affect her on weekends if she is out after midnight and can't legally drive home.
"Some people think it's unfair. We understand teenagers are in a lot of crashes, but there's just so many places you have to go with so many different people."
Hartley, on the East Side, is like most other high schools when students begin leaving at 2:30 p.m. -- a chaotic sea of cars and buses.
Jacob Swartz, 16, a sophomore at Hartley, said he's pretty clear about the law because his mother, Donna, has dug out the details.
But he said most of his classmates don't know the law exists, much less what it will do.
He questioned the provision that costs drivers with moving violations their privilege to drive alone.
"I don't know why they would do that," he said.
Bob Carlisle, a Hartley sophomore who turns 16 this month, has his temporary permit. He doesn't think the law will have much effect on him.
"If it helps keep kids safe, then it's a good idea," he said.
His mother, Mary Jo Carlisle, said it will be a bit inconvenient at times, but she likes the law because it will give young drivers a chance to mature without so many distractions.
"Once they're with their peers, they tend to not pay attention," she said. "Not only do they put themselves at risk, but they put their friends at risk, too."
State Sen. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, one of the prime sponsors, said the legislation was a direct response to a rash of fatal accidents in southwestern Ohio involving teenage drivers and passengers.
"It may represent an inconvenience to some parents, but younger drivers need more time to learn how to drive without so many distractions."
Passengers, more than cell phones or the radio, are the biggest distraction to drivers, Cates said.
Joanna Herncane, spokeswoman for the Ohio Auto Club in Worthington, said more than 500,000 of Ohio's 7 million drivers are younger than 21.
She agrees with Cates that teen drivers are easily distracted.
"Everybody's piling in the back seat, the music is loud, people are talking and eating, and the cell phones are on," she said.
Herncane said young drivers who work very late or very early can obtain permission from their employers to drive between midnight and 6 a.m.
Patrol Lt. Tony Bradshaw said the law should be a wakeup call to young drivers who "don't know the importance of paying attention."
Law enforcement can't stop young drivers solely because an officer believes they are violating the passenger limit. However, they can be cited if they are pulled over for another violation, such as running a stop sign or a burned-out tail light, Bradshaw said.
Donna Swartz, mother of Jacob Swartz, said the restrictions in the law may inconvenience some families, make car-pooling difficult or prevent younger drivers from taking friends to school or sports events.
"But it's a fairly short period of time," she said. "I can't imagine there are too many parents who don't see the wisdom in it."