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Teen Driving Decal Law Promotes Safety, According To New Study [AUDIO]

A new study finds Jersey’s law requiring young teen drivers to display a decal on their vehicle is helping to promote safety.

Teen Driver
Flickr User Adam Kiefaber

The study, conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that after Kyleigh’s Law went into effect in May of 2010, there was a nine percent reduction in the crash rate for drivers with probationary licenses during the following year.

Kyleigh’s Law is named for Kyleigh D’Alessio, a Long Valley teen, who was killed in a fatal car crash.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and one of the original sponsors of the law, says the study found the law prevented 1,624 drivers from getting into a crash.

“This means that that the combination of vigilance and awareness and caution that the new law employs has a demonstrable effect on how young drivers behave.”

He says, “Because of the law, teen drivers are aware that there are other people checking up on them, and at the same time teen drivers are also aware- very acutely because it’s now part of the protocol for getting your license- the limitations that are placed on them.”

Wisniewski points out, “When we started this exercise legislatively, the discussion always was this was about education. This was about making sure that both young drivers and the folks who are responsible for young drivers understand the limitations that are placed on those drivers…This study shows the decal law is having a positive effect on the safety of probationary drivers – it shows the law is a success.”

He adds, despite fears the decals could attract predators, “New Jersey is having the same experience as jurisdictions around the world have had with this law – no demonstrable reported incidences of anyone using a probationary driver decal for anything other than the purpose it was intended…As a father of 3 teenage daughters, I understand the concern the decals may attract unwanted attention, but I also understand the worry that I have as a parent – that my young drivers come home safely…The decal law is not only about reminding the teen drivers of their limitations with the probationary license, but it’s about the rest of the motoring public understanding that there’s a young driver in that car, it’s about police officers being able to keep an eye out for young drivers, it’s about making sure the restrictions that keep young drivers out of dangerous situations are enforced. I think, at the end of the day, we’re all very happy that we can send our young drivers out and that they come home safely.”

Calls to State Senator Jen Beck, who is sponsoring legislation to repeal Kyleigh’s Law, were not answered.

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