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 full Senate by a vote of 36 to 3.
�According to statistics, every nine minutes, a teen driver is involved in a car accident,� said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. �Statistics also show that 40% of fatal crashes occur during the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM. This legislation would reinforce New Jersey�s current laws regarding teen driving, while at the same time, making it easier for law enforcement officers to spot teen drivers. Maintaining the safety of teen drivers, and all who use the State�s roadways must be a cooperative effort.�
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.
�GDL rules are very cut and dry � younger, less experienced drivers are only permitted on our roadways during certain hours, and with a limited number of passengers. These requirements were designed to ensure that they receive the amount of training time necessary to make responsible judgment calls when they are behind the wheel,� 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.
�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. This bill isn�t about profiling or discriminating against young drivers. Instead, it seeks to ensure that parents, young drivers and police officers are able to take an active role in protecting our roadways,� said Senator Madden.
This measure now heads to the Assembly for approval.