High Teen Accident Rates Lead to Calls for Increased Driver Ed, Longer Permit Period


Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of teen deaths in New Jersey. To combat the problem, a coalition of automobile safety advocates is pushing for more stringent laws governing driver education and learner’s permits.

According to a study by the American Automobile Association traffic safety foundation, 16 and 17 year old drivers are four times more likely to be involved in accidents than drivers aged 18 and older. The study also shows that drivers under 18 years old are nearly five times more likely to be in a fatal auto accident. A major factor in the high fatality rate among younger drivers is inexperience. These younger drivers also pose a hazard to other people on the roads.

The automobile safety coalition — which includes the AAA Clubs of New Jersey and other traffic safety, education and insurance organizations — is supporting legislation that includes measures to better train and educate younger drivers. Pending bills in the Senate and Assembly would require new drivers to complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice. New Jersey currently has no supervised practice time requirement to obtain a driving license. Mandating 50 hours of supervised driving is significant. By comparison, federal regulations require only 40 hours of flying time to qualify for a private pilot’s license.

In addition, the proposed legislation would increase the duration of a learner’s permit to 12 months, which is double the current six-month period. A permit is issued after the driver passes a written examination and continues in force until the passing of a road test. A driver with a permit has limited driving privileges. A permit holder under the age of 21 may drive only with an adult licensed driver in the front passenger seat. The holder is prohibited from carrying more than one other passenger and from driving at night. Doubling the permit period would provide extra practice behind the wheel that in turn would help sharpen the driver’s skills, according to the bills’ sponsors.

No amount of training will completely eliminate the risks inherent in driving. Vehicles crash, people get hurt and property is damaged or destroyed. Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to minimize payouts to accident victims. Rigorous and competent legal representation can persuade insurers to pay the victims fair compensation.

Based in Ridgewood, Seigel Law has been representing injured motorists in New Jersey since 1976. If you were involved in any type of vehicular accident, feel free to contact us online or call 201-444-4000 for a free initial consultation. Our attorneys and support staff work diligently to achieve the best possible results for you.

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