VAINIERI HUTTLE, SPENCER, EVANS, BURZICHELLI & WILSON BILL TO EXAMINE CHANGES TO N.J.’S TEEN DRIVING LAW ADVANCED BY SENATE PANEL

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, L. Grace Spencer, Elease Evans, John J. Burzichelli and Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson to examine the recent changes to New Jersey’s graduated license program – including the teen driver decal requirement – was released Monday by a Senate panel.

“The changes made to New Jersey’s graduated driver’s license program were designed to make our roadways safer and our teenagers better drivers,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Unfortunately, some of the changes may have had unintended consequences that could require further legislation, which is why we are asking the Attorney General to review the program. I am pleased that the bill passed out of Senate committee, and I hope it quickly passes the Senate as it did in the Assembly.”

The bill was approved 57-21-2 by the Assembly on June 21. It was advanced Monday by the Senate Transportation Committee.

Under the bill (A-2740), the state Office of the Attorney General would be required to spend the next six months reviewing the changes made to New Jersey’s graduated license program – including the new license decal program for teen drivers and the curfew change for drivers from midnight to 11 p.m. – and then issue a report to the Legislature on the findings.

“The changes made to New Jersey’s graduated driver’s license law were made with the best of intentions – keeping teens safe behind the wheel while making them better drivers,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “Any review or study of the law should be sure to keep that in mind.”

“We want teenagers to be safe on the road and behind the wheel,” said Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen). “At the same time, the public outcry over some of the provisions indicates we should go back and take another look to make sure that in our desire to make our teen drivers safer we did not accidentally impinge upon their freedoms.”

“When it comes to the safety of teen drivers, we cannot afford to legislate from the hip,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “The changes made to the graduated driver’s license are brand new and need time to be properly implemented and reviewed so we can see what works and what doesn’t and figure out how best to deal with it.”

“If people are unhappy with the current graduated license because it is too restrictive, that’s one thing,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “If they’re unhappy with it because it just plain doesn’t work, that’s another thing entirely. Before we make a move, we need to know which it is, so we don’t wind up throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.”