teen driverStarting May 1st, New Jersey young drivers will face additional restrictions designed to help keep our teens safe.

The new law requires a red reflective decal on the front and rear license plates of vehicles operated by a permit or probationary license holder under age 21.  These decals are removable should another driver who is not a permit or probationary license holder be driving the car.  The purpose of the law is to give police the ability to identify those young drivers who are driving when they should not be driving.

Statistics show that young drivers have a much greater chance of having an accident from 11:00 PM to 5 AM.  These laws are meant to protect our teen drivers.

There are also some other provisions of the law.  A 17 year old driver who has a probationary license may only have one passenger in their car unless a parent or guardian is also in that vehicle. 

The statistics confirm this is a good idea.  A Johns Hopkins University study stated that the chances of a 16 year old dying in a car while a teen driver increased 39 percent with a single passenger, 86 percent with two passengers and 182 percent with three or more passengers.  In the December accidents we had locally  that claimed lives of the six teen passengers, two of the cars had six passengers and the other had three passengers.

It is time for us, especially parents to support these laws and stop complaining about them.  These laws are needed because we do not use our common sense when we drive. How do we expect our children to do any better.

How many times have you seen a parent talking on their cell phone while teen drivers are in the car?  How many parents don’t wear seat belts?  Distractions are the #1 cause of accidents with teen drivers.  It could be simply setting the radio or it could be turning to talk to a back seat passenger.  Whatever it is we need to teach our teens safe driving behaviors and do a better job of being a good example. 

Do your best to instill good driving behaviors in your teens and encourage our state reps here in Pennsylvania to follow the lead of New Jersey and pass better safe teen driver laws.

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