Study Shows Accident Rate Dips For Teen Drivers In N.J., Now, N.J. Wants Parents To Get More Involved

overturn new hamsphire pine picRestrictions on the number of passengers allowed, more practice driving, late-night curfews and all the other facets of the state’s Graduated Driver’s License program for teenagers seem to be paying off. An AAA Foundation for Safety study of New Jersey’s recently strengthened GDL program called it a model for leadership and credited a drop in fatal crashes among 17-year-olds to the GDL provisions after comparing accident statistics for 1998-2000, before the GDL took effect, with rates from 2002-05. The GDL law was implemented in 2001. Now, safety advocates and officials who drafted the state Teen Driving Study Commission recommendations want to increase the involvement of mom and dad in making sure teenagers get enough practice time and follow the rules.

“We are working with the (state) Motor Vehicle Commission, looking at how to get parents more involved,” said Pam Fischer, state Division of Highway Safety director and mother of a teenager approaching driving age. “Parents must get engaged. We need parental involvement before they (teens) get their permit to understand the risks and the law.”

A bill that would have addressed parental involvement is being reintroduced this year, having been passed by the Assembly last year but not being posted for a vote in the state Senate. The bill would require parents of a driver under age 18 to attend a teen driver orientation course.

Currently, safety advocates are looking for sponsors, Fischer said. Assembly members John S. Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, and Mary Pat Angelini and state Sen. Sean Kean, both R-Monmouth, are co-sponsors.

The bill would have allowed a relative who is at least 21 and has held a driver’s license for three years to take the orientation course if a parent or guardian isn’t able.

Schools stress safety


Some high school districts have acted to make teen drivers more aware of safety, including Freehold Regional, Randolph and Morristown. Freehold Regional and Randolph require parents of 11th-graders to take a driver safety orientation class with their teenagers before issuing parking permits. Morristown requires juniors to take the “Alive at 25” safety course to be allowed to park at school. Read full article in APP

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