Friday, April 24, 2009

"NJ tags new drivers with decal"

This piece of public policy that I read about on Yahoo News via AP was very interesting and intriguing. New Jersey will require new drivers who are under the age of 21 to display special decals on their cars identifying their vehicles. Governor John Corzine signed the law and it will go into effect next year so that the police can enforce restrictions on younger drivers who can not drive in certain circumstances. There is support for the law across the state because it could make the roads safer.

Personally, I think that this is a good idea because in my hometown on Long Island, kids who just got their driving permit drive all the time alone and with friends when by law they are required to have a parent or someone 21 years or older with them while they still have their permit. I understand that it is the parent's responsibility to not give the 16 year old a car to drive but sometimes parents aren't always there or they just don't care. The decals might make some cops less hesitant to pull the car over but that may not be the case all the time. I wouldn't mind getting a $20 ticket instead of crashing and possibly people dying. There are ways around this, some kids don't have their own car and they drive their parents' cars which would not have the decal. A student was killed while she was in the car with a teenage driver and that tragedy spurred the law to be passed.

There is only so much regulating that a state can do and this is a simple start to making sure that kids don't drive when they're not allowed to do so. Hopefully there will be less accidents and a sharp decline in teenage car accident deaths. The whole idea might fail but the state needs to make sure that the sticker is on every car that a teenager can drive because it only takes one person to crash a car.

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