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Deadly teen crash spurs tougher New Jersey teen driving restrictions

Unfortunately it is often tragedy that sparks a change in New Jersey traffic safety law. The latest change in New Jersey’s teen licensing laws follows a serious car accident this summer that left four high school football players dead. The driver of the car involved in that crash had a graduated license which only allowed him to drive with one other passenger. The teen instead chose to pack his car full of his teammates and the resulting crash took many lives.

New legislation proposed Monday will strengthen New Jersey’s teen driving laws which are already among the strictest nationwide. The changes will require longer learner’s permit holding periods and more driving practice time for younger drivers.

A bill approved earlier this week by the Assembly Transportation Committee would require one-on-one certified driving instruction, mandate that a teen driver be accompanied by an adult while going through a driver orientation program, and lengthen the permit phase to a year.

The legislation also calls for longer practice hours under the supervision of a licensed adult and a signed log showing how much behind-the-wheel time the teen driver has received.

Similar legislation was not passed last year, but the tragic death of the four football players has reenergized lawmakers.

“This legislation provides the missing pieces in New Jersey’s teen driver safety puzzle,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski. “Not only will these requirements produce better and safer teen drivers, they will help parents feel more at ease when their child gets behind the wheel alone for the first time.”

Source: NBC New York, “NJ Considers Tougher Driving Rules for Teens,” Beth DeFalco, Nov. 28, 2011

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