You will never believe this, but many young drivers in Texas are dangerous. I know. My teenager hit another driver when she was 16! Fortunately noone was injured. I took her car away for a year, made her go back to driver’s ed classes, and personally coached her before I would let her drive again. And she hasn’t been in any crashes since.
While many young people are good drivers, the combination of inexperience, over-confidence, and their fondness of texting while driving makes teen drivers statistically much more likely to cause wrecks than drivers who have had more experience behind the wheel.
Many states, including Texas, have so-called “graduated license” laws limiting the number of passengers that teen drivers can carry as well as restrictions on the times of day when teen drivers are allowed to be on the roads. The problem with these laws is that they are hard to enforce. Officers do not have a way to easily identify a driver as 16, 18, or older without pulling them over. New Jersey now requires teen drivers to put decals on their license plates so officers can identify them easily.
Support for the decals has been varied. Many teen drivers and now some New Jersey lawmakers are opposing the law.
New Jersey teens opposed to the nation’s first state law requiring young drivers to display license plate decals that identify them as inexperienced have gained support for their cause from several state lawmakers and a national youth rights advocacy group.
The statute known as Kyleigh’s Law takes effect Saturday. It requires New Jersey drivers ages 16 to 20 to have a $4 pair of detachable fluorescent red decals on their front and rear license plates during a yearlong provisional license period. Failure to do so could result in a $100 fine.
The law was named for Kyleigh D’Alessio, a 16-year-old central New Jersey high school student who was killed in 2006 while riding in a vehicle driven by another teen. Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine signed the law last year.
Opponents claim the law is well intentioned but won’t improve safety, will subject motorists to nuisance traffic stops and might entice criminals to target young drivers.
“Kyleigh’s Law doesn’t prevent car crashes,” said Hal Levy, a 20-year-old college freshman and member of the board of the National Youth Rights Association. “It’s more of a feel-good law, at the expense of young people. We oppose the profiling by police and the stalking.”
Nearly 3,500 teens in the United States aged 15 to 19 were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2008, and more than 350,000 were treated for injuries suffered in crashes, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 46 states and the District of Columbia have graduated license programs. The agency said the programs have accounted for a substantial decline in teenage vehicle crashes — between 20 and 50 percent.
I am currently representing a woman who was t-boned by a driver who had turned 16 less than a week before.
I support the New Jersey law because I have represented too many people injured because of inexperienced drivers. When teen drivers have passengers, their risk of being in a wreck increases exponentially with each additional person in the car. Graduated license laws save lives and should be enforced.
If you’ve been hurt because of a wreck, call my office at 817-885-8000 or e-mail me. I will fight hard to get you the maximum recovery possible. In addition, if you mention that you found me by this blog or my website, I offer a reduced attorney fee of only 28% pre-trial instead of the 33.3% pre-trial fee that most attorneys charge. That will translate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings to you.