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NJ GDL law has reduced teen driver fatalities, P.2

In our previous post, we mentioned that last Thursday was the 10 year anniversary of New Jersey's Graduated Driver's License (GDL) law.

One part of that law, the decal requirement, has been somewhat controversial. Some feel that the law is too intrusive, that it will open teens to harassment or identify them to predators. Others argue that teens have poor compliance with the law and that police do not enforce it anyway. But many supporters point to the positive impact the law has had on teen car accident fatalities.

Sources say over 1,800 summonses were written between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011 for failure to display the decal. Supporters of the decal requirement, though, point out that among drivers who displayed the decal there were over 6,000 summonses written for more serious violations of the GDL law which could have led to a car accident. The decal, they say, assists officers in spotting the more serious violations, such as failure to use seat belts, being out after curfew, and having too many passengers.

While the requirements of the law may seem a bit burdensome to teens, many say the law is having a positive effect on teen driver safety throughout New Jersey.

According to Eric Mason, Cranford Chief of Police and president of the New Jersey Police Chiefs Association, the new requirements have most definitely reduced the number of teen driver fatalities. "You can't debate the fact that this GDL law and decal have driven down fatalities." Gary Poedubicky-current director for the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety-spoke similarly, saying, "Without a doubt the GDL program has helped to reduce car crashes, which is, of course, the number one killer of teens in New Jersey."

Source: mycentraljersey.com, "Fatal teen driver crashes down 42 percent," Larry Higgs, 19 May 2011.

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