On April 16, Governor Corzine signed "Kyleigh's Law" (a series of amendments to N.J.S.A. 39:3-13.2a, 39:3-13 and 39:3-13.4, named after a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a car accident involving a teen driver) which will require holder's of special learner's permits to display decals on their cars, so that police officers may identify them as such. New Jersey is the first state in the union to have such a law, and a violation can result in a $106 fine and $33 court costs. Special permit holders cannot drive a car unless these decals are displayed.
However, decals are not the only thing that will be required of these permit holders. Another law that will be put into effect at the same time. Drivers younger than 21 without "full privilege licenses":
- Cannot drive between 11pm and 5am (changing the curfew from midnight)
- Can only have one passenger unless a parent/guardian is also in the vehicle.
- Cannot use cell phones or other communication devices, even if they are "hands free."
This law is being put into effect with the intention of trying to keep our children safe. According to a Teen Driver Study Commission report, cited in an April 16, 2009, story in The Philadelphia Inquirer, motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of teen deaths, and in New Jersey teen drivers are in accidents every nine minutes! The laws go into effect in May of 2010.
Parents need to be aware of these new laws as they go into effect and be sure to obtain the decals once they become available. Law enforcement will surely be ready to enforce it, and traffic citations that early in a driver's career are never a good thing!