New Bill Seeks More Training, Parent Involvement for Teen Drivers

A State lawmaker has introduced a new bill that would amend New Jersey’s Graduated Driver’s License program to provide teens with more training and require parental involvement before those teens could obtain their driver’s licenses. (1)

This bill comes in response to a national study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA). The study found that almost half of the parents surveyed felt their teens were lacking experience in one area or another, experience that was necessary to be safe, unsupervised drivers. Among the areas cited where teen driving experience was lacking were heavy traffic/ highway conditions and rainy conditions. (2)

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) sponsored the bill which would increase the amount of training and experience teens receive before getting their licenses and require parents or guardians to accompany their teens to a driver-orientation program specifically designed for teens. (3)

If passed, the bill would bring the following changes:

• Teens under 18 would be required to attend, with their parents or guardians, a teen driver-orientation program approved by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). This program would also be available to, but not mandatory for, new drivers between 18 and 21 years of age.

• Drivers under 21 holding a special driving permit would need 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night, with a guardian, parent or other adult supervisor in addition to the 6 hours of certified driving lessons currently required.

• Drivers with an examination permit of the same age would have a choice between the requirements listed above or 100 hours of certified driving practice, including 20 nighttime hours.

• The 6 hours of certified driving lessons currently required would have to be from private, one-on-one instruction.

• The MVC, along with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, would be required to update guidelines for driver’s education and traffic safety and make them standard between private and public State schools.

• All new drivers between 16 and 20 would be required to hold a driver’s permit for one year, as opposed to the current six-month period, before receiving their probationary license. (1)

The new bill is hoped to make teen drivers better prepared for unsupervised driving and keep the roadways safer.




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