NJ introduces car decals for young drivers

March 24, 2010 3:32:48 PM PDT
New Jersey officials unveiled Wednesday new decals to alert police that a young driver is behind the wheel. It's the first state in the country to do that.

The decals make it easier for police to enforce laws such as limits on the number of passengers and nighttime curfews for teenagers.

It is a red reflective decal, a velcro sticker that peels on and off your license plates. The cost is two for $4, and they go on sale April 12.

"It's very easy to take off, very easy to put on," MVC Acting Chief Administrator-demonstrating Raymond P. Martinez said. "You can keep it in the glove box. And it's sold by pairs, $4 for two. One for the front, one for the back."

The sticker is now required by law for all New Jersey teens with probationary licenses as part of what is called Kyleigh's Law. It is named for a teen who was killed in 2006 while riding in the car with another teen who only had a provisional license.

"It wouldn't be fair if she didn't die and there was no law about it," her brother, Tyler Weeks said.

"I just knew that something needed to be done to save teens' lives," mother Donna Weeks said.

The stickers give law enforcement officers probable cause to stop a probationary teen driver who may be in violation of their permit, like driving after curfew or having too many teens in the car.

"No longer will police officers have to guess if a youthful driver is in violation of the permit probationary or requirement," New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow said.

There is no grace period, the law goes into effect May 1. Probationary drivers caught without it will be fined $100.

Also, the graduated drivers license rules are now stricter.

  • The curfew will be 11 p.m.
  • Probationary drivers can't use any electronic devices while driving, and that includes hands-free cell phones and iPods
  • There are new passenger restrictions

    "I heard about it, but I don't really like know about it," Monmouth High School sophomore Sam Leitner said. "But I know it's affecting me somehow."

    "I think they're doing a good job of trying to detect the teenagers that are driving underage or with a lot of teenagers in their car, but I think they should keep the rule by 12 o'clock," Monmouth senior Neil Thompson said.

    "The cops are going to be targeting us when they see a decal," senior Mike Cuttler said. "They might run your plates or check your speeding or be a little tougher on you. So I don't think that's fair."

    But this doesn't affect all teens. Those who are already fully licensed are free to drive.