On Wednesday Governor Corzine of New Jersey signed what is now being called the toughest Graduated License Law (GDL) in the country. There were two laws passed. The first law toughens the GDL so that a teen with a GDL can have only one passenger (other than siblings) in the car with them. Since distraction from other passengers in the car is a major reason for accidents among teen drivers I think this is a great idea.
The law also states that the teen driver can not drive between the hours of 11:01 PM and 5:00 AM. Again statistics will show that this is a great idea. Sometimes I hear complaints from parents about these stricter rules. However parents must educate themselves on the dangers the teens face while driving. If the parents realize how these laws protect their children there would be fewer if any objections.
Another law passed Wednesday requires teen drivers with a probationary license to have magnets telling everyone that there is a teen driver driving this vehicle. Although I think the law was well intentioned and I have spoken out many times about teen driver safety, I feel this law is dangerous. I would not want my car labeled with a teen driver magnet. I think you put your child at risk identifying the car as a “teen driver” car. This alerts everyone that there is young teen driver in the car. They could become the target of predators or just treated poorly by other drivers.
However, I have heard of parents putting magnets on their cars while teaching their children to drive. I think this is a great idea and hopefully drivers around that vehicle would be more courteous and cautious of that car.
I think parents need to do everything they can to help protect their teen drivers and I think it is the job of our legislators to protect our teen drivers. However I think the New Jersey legislators need to rethink the idea of labeling a car a “teen driver” car. If you agree I would urge you to talk with your elected officials. For a recent article on this subject go to: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Scarlet-Letter-for-Teen-Drivers.html#wwoeMDPgR2VUB