Recently in New Jersey, the state Supreme Court upheld Kyleigh’s Law which mandates that
special red stickers must be on the license plates of teen drivers. The law was
designed to help police officers spot teen drivers and enforce graduated driver
licensing (GDL) laws. It was put in place after Kyleigh D’Alessio, a
16-year-old was killed in a car driven by a teenager. New Jersey GDL laws prohibit
teen drivers from having any teen passengers in the car, using a cell phone or
driving at night.
The law requires teen drivers to purchase two of the decals and put them on both
license plates on the car. The original intent of the law was to make it easier
for police to identify teen drivers but it has experienced some push back from
critics and parents who claim the stickers make it easier for sexual predators
to target teens. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
found mixed results on compliance with the law and found it to be widely
were having an easier time finding teens breaking the law, teens were still
breaking the laws at the same rate as before it was passed.
are Considering Stickers
New Jersey claim that the law has not had time to take hold and that compliance
will increase as teens and parents accept the new requirements. They point out
the success of similar laws in other countries.
The New Jersey
law was based on legislation in Australia which starts a teen out with an L-plate
and than moves them to a P plate during a probationary driving period. Japan
requires new and old drivers to display stickers when on the road. Anyone over
the age of 75 must have a sticker just like teens.
these countries have found widespread support for the laws and New Jersey
officials hope that parents and teens will come around. The IIHS study found
that New Jersey officials have their work cut out for them, 84 percent of parents
disapproved of the law.
approval figures are not scaring off other states. New York and Rhode Island
are currently considering bills similar to the one in New Jersey. The highway
bill that recently passed on a federal level is setting up incentives for states
to tighten up restrictions on teen drivers. This includes stricter limits on
passengers and cell phone use as well as increased enforcement.
Why Do We Need
programs are not popular, they are necessary. Car crashes are the number one
killer of teens. They are four times more likely to get in an accident than
older more experienced drivers. Two thirds of teen passenger deaths happen when
another teen is driving the car.
There are a
number of reasons for these statistics. According to recent studies, teens
seriously over rate their driving skills and drastically underestimate the
risks on the road that they encounter. Teens are easily distracted with texting,
talking to their friends and messing with their MP3 players, all which leads to
more crashes. Teen passengers up the crash risk, with one passenger the risk
rises by 44 percent and when three or more passengers are in the car the risk
enforce existing GDL laws is the main reason learner stickers are required in
New Jersey and are under consideration in other states. While unpopular with
teens and parents, if this law saves just one teen life it will be worth