TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden which would call upon the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to provide special decals for drivers with Graduated Drivers Licenses (GDL) was approved today by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“According to the Teen Driver Study Commission, teens are twice as likely to be involved in car accidents between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. as adults,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Panel. “When it comes to our roadways, safety must be paramount. These decals are absolutely necessary to help law enforcement officers quickly determine the age of drivers in their attempts to enforce GDL regulations.”
Senator Madden’s bill, S-2314, would put into statute one of the recommendations of the Teen Driver Study Commission, by calling upon the MVC to work with the Division of Highway Safety to develop the decals to serve as identifiers to allow law enforcement to know when a new driver with a permit or probationary license is driving a car.
GDL drivers found in violation of this bill’s provisions would be subject to a fine of $100.
“Late at night, it can be extremely difficult to determine whether or not a driver is too young to be out on the road alone, with one glance. At the same time, we don’t want officers pulling over every driver who just happens to look young,” Senator Madden said.
The GDL program was established in 2001 to help reduce the number of car accidents involving drives between 17 and 20 years of age. Upon turning 16, drivers are permitted to obtain a special learner’s Permit, which requires them to complete a school driver’s education or driving school course, including a written and eye examinations and a six-hour behind-the-wheel driving course.
Drivers who are at least 17 years old are eligible for their examination permit, which is good for a full year. With an examination permit, drivers are permitted to drive with a driver who has been licensed for least three years and is age 21 or older. The fully licensed driver must remain in the front seat at all times. The underage driver may transport one additional passenger in addition who any siblings, or anyone who resides with him or her. These drivers are prohibited from driving between 12:01 a.m. and 5 a.m.
The final stage of the GDL program permits probationary drivers who have completed the necessary hours to obtain their special learner’s or examination permit to drive without the supervision of a licensed driver.
“According to the Teen Driver Safety Commission, a crash involving a teen driver occurs every nine minutes here in New Jersey. These regulations are designed to help keep our roads safe for all drivers,” said Senator Madden.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.