Hope Shaffer Act: Edmond Family’s Loss Prompts New Law For Parents Of Student Drivers

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a new law to protect student drivers in Oklahoma by allowing parents to choose whether their child rides with another student driver.   

Friday, May 10th 2024, 10:35 pm



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Oklahoma lawmakers passed a new law to protect student drivers in Oklahoma.  The change allows parents to choose whether their child rides with another student driver.   

One Edmond couple pushed for the change after their family’s loss. They wanted the measure to prevent their story from happening to someone else. 

Photos open a window into the past. Charla and Nick Shaffer seek comfort in memories -- reminders of days they would travel to if they could. 

“She was just sensitive and compassionate towards people,” Charla Shaffer said. 

“Just her sheer joy -- she loved to dance. she glowed,” Nick Shaffer said. 

Their daughter Hope Shaffer was the light of their family. Now, she is a memory.  

“I think losing a child is probably one of the harder things in life,” Charla Shaffer said. “I think that grief will always be with us.”   

On January 15, 2020, Hope rode with her student driving instructor and another student behind the wheel. A pickup hit the back of their car. The student driver and the instructor survived, but 16-year-old Hope lost her life.  

“We didn’t want this to happen to another parent,” Charla Shaffer said. 

The Shaffers worked with state Rep. Forrest Bennett to draft a bill that’s been through the legislature for several years. The legislation allows parents to decide if their child rides with another student driver. This year the bill ‘The Hope Shaffer Act’ became a law. 

“We finally did it this year,” Bennett said. “[The Shaffers] did a lot of leg work. Really drives home the whole point of this job.”  

Charla can appreciate the moments she shared with her daughter. 

“Lots of tears, lots of tears that day, both happy and sad,” said Charla Shaffer, about the day Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill into law. 

As they look back in time, they remember that in the days ahead there’s always Hope. 

“She really was an amazing girl,” Charla Shaffer said. “I think that we have the hope that we’ll see her again and I think that’s what keeps us going.”  

Bennett said this was not an easy process, but he credited the Shaffer's persistence in getting the bill across the finish line. 

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