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Concerns Over Teen License Plate Decals in New Jersey

According to the new law that goes into effect on July 01, 2010, all New Jersey drivers who are under 21 years of age must display red decals on the vehicle's license plates. The measure should make it easier for highway patrol and other drivers to identify teenage drivers and thus increase on road safety. Parents have concerns that red decals will also make it easier for stalkers to identify teenage drivers and thus put them in extra danger.

New Jersey Graduated Drivers License Law

New Jersey has one of the most developed and thorough graduated drivers license systems. Unlike most other states, it does not target just teenage drivers license applicants but applies to drivers of all ages. Although teenage drivers are subjected to more learners permit restrictions, in general, the licensing procedure is very similar no matter how old you are. You have to start by applying for a learners permit that has a minimum holding period, then you proceed to taking the driving test and getting your provisional drivers license. The final step is achieving a full unrestricted license.

According to the new law, in addition to the graduated license requirements, New Jersey teens will also need to display red tags on the front and rear license plates. The rule applies to all drivers who are under 21 years of age. Driving without these tags will be penalized by a fine of up to $100. The decals can be purchased from any New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's (MVC) for $4 a pair.

Possible Pros

The decals should help other drivers and police identify teenage drivers. Policemen may need this because teenage drivers license holders are subject to license restrictions and this way a policeman would be able to see that the vehicle is driven by such driver.

Other drivers on the road should have the advantage of being able to apply defensive driving techniques whenever a teenage driver is present nearby. Teenage drivers are highly likely to be involved in an accident due to the lack of driving experience and drivers who surround them on the road may need to compensate for this possible mistakes by providing them with more space and avoiding dangerous maneuvers in the vicinity of a young driver.

Argued Cons

The most common concern among parents is that these decals will alert possible stalkers that a teenager is behind the wheel, which could lead to a driver being stalked at night or on parking lots. Although it is a reasonable concern, it is unlikely that tags will change the current situation with stalking, as stalkers are actively searching for subjects and are able to identify teenage drivers even without red decals being displayed on the license plates.