Earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a law that requires teenage drivers to display a decal on their license plate for a specified period of time. In its decision, the court unanimously overruled lower court decisions finding that the decal requirement constituted an unreasonable search and seizure and violated privacy laws.
The fight over the law does not appear to be over, however, with opponents vowing to petition the United States Supreme Court for a review of the case. They claim that the decals single young drivers out and make them vulnerable to potential attackers. But advocates continue to maintain that the law is a positive step toward reducing teen car accident fatalities in the state, and that any risks are therefore outweighed by the law's benefits.
The decal requirement is just one part of the state's graduated driver's license mandate known as Kyleigh's Law. Named after a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a crash involving a vehicle driven by a newly licensed teenager, the law forbids new drivers under the age of 21 from using handheld devices or carrying more than one young passenger. It also requires them to place the Velcro decal on their license plate, under the threat of a $100 fine.
However, many New Jersey parents believe that the decal could potentially cause harm to their teenagers by readily identifying them to people who wish to do them harm, and refuse to force their teens to place the decals on their vehicles. But with 44 teenagers killed in car accidents in the state last year, it seems that any measure which aims to decrease car accident deaths is a positive step for the state. Hopefully, it will continue to be upheld.
If you or a family member has been injured by a motor vehicle accident involving a teenage driver, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, "N.J. high court upholds license-plate decal for young drivers," Barbara Boyer and Angelo Fichera, Aug. 6, 2012