N.J. Teens Refuse To Use Red Decal Stickers Required By Ky Law

erick-rivera-decal-stickersjpg-3ed8e2c79c2c6d8b_largeLike many cars driven by teenagers in New Jersey, the Toyota Corolla 18-year-old Erick Rivera parked in a Newark high school lot Tuesday did not have any red decals affixed to the license plates. The $4 decals, required by law to be on any car driven by permit or probationary license holders under 21, were instead in his pocket. The Barringer High School senior said he doesn’t want to put them on his car because he feels they will make him vulnerable to police officers. Across the state, teenagers and parents have turned to chat rooms and online forums to voice their objections to the new law which, they say, unfairly targets young drivers because of their age. One assemblyman even plans to introduce legislation to repeal the law. 

Kyleigh’s Law, named after a teen who was killed in a 2006 crash, requires any permit or probationary license holder under 21 to stick red removable decals to the license plates of the car they drive. The law took effect Saturday. Underage drivers could face fines up to $100 if police find they have not placed the decal inside their cars during a motor-vehicle stop.

 Motor vehicle officials said 69,480 decals were sold by Monday. About 250,000 drivers are required to purchase the stickers, they said.

“The law is the law,” said Michael Horan, a spokesman for the state Motor Vehicle Commission. “They’re for sale and it’s up to them to come in a buy them. As to why they’re not coming in, I have no idea. It comes down to personal responsibility, like wearing a seat belt.”

Pam Fischer, director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety, called the lag in purchases “an educational process.”

But many teen drivers and parents say the decals do nothing but make them potential targets of predators or law enforcement officers.

“You’re putting your age on your car, you’re driving your age,” said Ashley Wahba, 18, a senior at Somerville High School who needs the sticker but doesn’t plan on getting one.

“I’m concerned about the welfare of all drivers,” said Assemblyman Robert Schroeder (R-Bergen), who plans to introduce legislation to repeal the law. “These young drivers would be targets of predators.”

His 16-year-old daughter has the decals on her license plates.

Opponents are turning to the Internet to vent their frustrations. One Facebook group against Kyleigh’s Law has over 31,000 members, while an on-line petition against the law has over 5,000 signatures.

Bethany Johnson, 18, of Vineland, who authored a blog in support of Kyleigh’s Law, said she was involved in two crashes before she got her driver’s license in March.

“The average teenager is driving irresponsibly and there needs to be a way to identify them,” Johnson said.

On Monday, minutes after Sara Murphy, 17, pulled out of her Warren home with the stickers affixed to her car, a police officer stopped her.

Murphy said the officer asked if she was using a cell phone or iPod because he saw a light emanating from her car. When she told him she wasn’t — she said her passenger was using the iPod — she got a $54 ticket for view obstruction for an air freshener and a guardian angel that hung from her rearview mirror.

Her mother, Kathy Karolis, said her daughter was targeted because of the decal.

“Get rid of the red stickers,” Karolis said. Star Ledger.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. To Fresser: Not necessarily true, Teens more than older people have more of a tendency of feeling invincible and being impulsive.

  2. I’m a teen driver and I do Not plan on getting these decals I rather pay $100 fine it’s a target for police no question about it

  3. I don’t think there should be stickers for under age drivers. Why not for over age drivers? Like if you’re 85. I am just being facetious, I think there should be less laws telling us what to do. We have to take responsibility for ourselves. If chas v’sholom someone causes an accident, he should get ticketed , and teens should learn more responsibilty. They should have more driver’s ed perhaps and their parents should over see them more, but, this new law – it stinks.

  4. Parents are sending the wrong message to their children by agreeing with them and not enforcing the law. Maybe the parents should be fined and given a surcharge on their insurance for not following the LAW. MONEY talks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. If I had a teen driver, I would not want him to have to have a sticker on the car, but, I would talk to him about safe driving and about obeying all the traffic laws. I would not walk him to be profiled by a cop because he is driving with a noticeable sticker on the car. If he was using my car, I would find it annoying to either have to remove and replace the sticker every time I or he drove, or to leave it on and perhaps a cop will be more likely to notice when I am driving and pull me over under some pretext or other.

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