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Wisniewski & Lampitt Legislation to Promote Motor Vehicle Safety Among Teen Drivers Gains Assembly OK

Bills Would Require Increased Parental Involvement During Drivers’ First Year on the Road

Legislation Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to reform New Jersey’s graduated driver license program and promote motor vehicle safety among young drivers gained approval from the General Assembly on Monday.

“Parental involvement during a young driver’s early years can help prevent car accidents, which are the leading cause of death among American teenagers,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “By requiring parents – for whom teaching someone else to drive may be a new experience – to complete new driver orientation with their children and making sure that they stay involved once their children hit the road, we hopefully can reduce the number of fatal accidents in New Jersey.”

“Driver inexperience is a major factor that increases the risk of an accident,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “This legislation will encourage more parents to have conversations about distracted driving, nighttime driving and impaired driving with their children that will help set expectations to ultimately make all motorists in New Jersey safer.”

The first bill (A-3406) would establish a teen driver orientation program. Driver’s permit applicants under age 18 and their parents would be required to complete the program.

If a parent or guardian is unable to complete the program, the bill would permit a relative or supervising adult who is at least 21 years of age and who has been licensed to drive for at least three years to complete the program.

The second bill (A-3407) would require special learner’s permit holders and examination permit holders under age 21 to complete at least 50 hours of practice driving, with at least 10 of those hours completed at night, under a parent or guardian’s supervision. Current law does not require a set number of practice hours beyond a six-hour behind-the-wheel driving course.

The measure also would require permit holders to drive under an experienced driver’s supervision for one year before becoming eligible for a probationary driver’s license. Current law requires permit holders to have a permit for six months before becoming eligible for a license. Drivers must then hold a probationary driver’s license for one year before applying for a basic driver’s license.

Both bills now await further Senate consideration.