Study shows New Jersey teen drivers safer with red decal on license plate

Whether you have a teenager or not, if you live in New Jersey, you are likely aware of the law requiring teen drivers to affix a red decal to their license plate. According to a new study, the law has served its purpose, preventing accidents and fatalities on the road.

The law has been in place since May 2010 and requires all drivers under the age of 21 to have a red decal on their license plate. The decal is meant to make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify teens who are violating the terms of their graduated driver's license. The study reveals the law may also be leading to improved driving habits amongst teens.

According to the study, conducted by Temple University, over 1,600 motor vehicle accidents have been prevented because of the law. The research revealed that the number of auto accidents involving teen drivers decreased 9 percent after young drivers were required to use the red decal. In addition to these positive benefits, the researchers also found that the number of citations issued to young drivers for violating the terms of their graduated license increased by 14 percent.

In New Jersey, drivers between 16 and 20 years of age have probationary licenses, which are subject to the terms of New Jersey's Graduated Driver License law. The restrictions imposed on these young drivers include:

  • Prohibiting teens from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Allowing only one passenger in the vehicle, unless a parent is present
  • Prohibiting the use of any type of cellphone, including hands-free technology

If a teen is found to have violated one of the terms, he or she can be subject to a fine of $100.

New Jersey Teen Auto Accidents

While some find these laws to be severe, the fact remains that the leading cause of death for New Jersey residents from 16 to 20 years of age is motor vehicle accidents. Although teenagers only make up 6 percent of all licensed drivers in New Jersey, 13 percent of all accidents in New Jersey involve a teenage driver.

In 2009, 34 teenagers behind the wheel and eight teenage passengers died in auto accidents in New Jersey. In addition, during the same year there were almost 48,000 motor vehicle collisions involving a driver between the ages of 16 and 20.

While New Jersey has taken significant steps to curb the number of accidents involving teen drivers, these types of crashes continue to be a serious concern. When someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, consulting with a skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney will ensure the injured party's rights are protected.