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Katherine Calle Professor Mateer LA 101H 15 April 2012

To whom it may concern: As little kids we are forced to go to bed early, we have limited amounts of tv time, and we aren’t allowed to eat the foods we want when we want to. There is nothing more that we want then our own freedom. As kids we look forward to becoming adults. Adults have nice things, they get to do whatever they want and best of all they get to drive around. As little kids driving is the coolest thing there is. Our parents would buy us imitation cars, when we went to the park there were imitation steering wheels on jungle gyms, and sometimes we even pretended we are driving while in the car with our parents. Most Americans would say that being able to drive alone is the first step to becoming a responsible adult. In the state of New Jersey once a teenager turns sixteen they are allowed to get their driving permit. This permit grants the teen permission to be behind the wheel of a car with an adult present. A full year later at seventeen, you are now allowed to drive on your own with a special license called a “probationary license”. Although you now have the freedom to come and go as you please, that freedom isn’t absolute. On May 1st 2010 a law was passed in the state of New Jersey. It is the first teen driverdecal program in the nation and it is known as “Kyleigh’s Law”. Under Kyleigh’s law anyone under the age of twenty one with a probationary license must have the following:

The person who is under twenty one years of age shall not drive during the hours between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.. This condition may be waived in case of an emergency.

The person who is under twenty one years of age shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency.

The holder person who is under twenty one years of age must make sure that everyone in the vehicle is secured in a fastened seat belt or child restraint system.

Red stickers, known as decals, must be worn on front and back license plates of the car to indicate that the driver is under twenty one years of age.

If the person operating the vehicle fails to comply with any of the regulations stated above, they could be fined up to $100 if pulled over. The law came about when a 16-year-old teen was killed in a car crash on December 21st

2006. Kyleigh D’Alessios’ mom worked for countless hours to try and convince legislators to pass the law. She worked for two years straight in hopes of saving other teens’ lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 35 percent of teen age deaths are motor vehicle related. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association states that in 2009 there were a total of 3,466 teenage deaths between the ages of 13 and 19; 15% lower than the previous year. Also, there statistics show that teen age death rates increase with each additional passenger. Statistics here show that teen age death rates are high due to car accidents, but is putting red decals on a 16 year olds car really that safe? I believe that Kyleigh’s Law not only puts the safety of a teenager in danger but it also makes it easier for the teenager to become a target. Before this law was passed, if you were

operating a vehicle with more than one person in your car, there was no way for a police officer to know that you were under the age of twenty one. Before the law was implemented the rules for new young drivers where the same but without the 11oclock curfew and the red decals. All the decals do is make it known to the public that the car is being driven by an under aged person. The goal of Kyleigh’s mom was to keep other teenagers safe, but by establishing these restrictions and regulations it just makes it easier for them to become a target. This law puts young girls at risk of getting followed by a predator. It also makes them an easier target for police officers. Before Kyleigh’s law was implemented, there were still rules and regulations for drivers under the age of twenty one. Any driver without a basic driver’s license would have what is known as a provisional driver’s license. These rules consisted of:  “The holder of a provisional license shall be permitted to operate the passenger automobile with only one additional passenger in the vehicle, except that this passenger restriction shall not apply when either the holder of the provisional license or one other passenger is at least 21 years of age.”  “The holder of the provisional license who is under 21 years of age shall not drive during the hours between 12:01 a.m. and 5 a.m.; provided however, that this condition may be waived in case of an emergency.”  “The holder of the provisional license shall not use any interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency, while operating a moving passenger automobile on a public road or highway.”

“The holder of the provisional license shall ensure that all occupants of the vehicle are secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child restraint system.”

As you can see the only two major changes that Kyleigh’s Law enforced were the change to an earlier curfew and the must have of the red decals.

I propose that the law be reverted to its original state in which the red decals are removed from the cars. With this new law it makes it much easier for anyone to know who the driver of the motor vehicle is. So are we really saving young lives or are we just putting our children out there for the public. Teenage driving in the US is a huge controversy, but just tagging teenagers isn’t the way to solve the problem. In conclusion, the state of New Jersey is the only state in the nation that requires drivers under the age of twenty one who have a probationary driver’s license to have red decals on the top left corner of their license plates. I believe that this law poses a danger on young teen age drivers and instead of keeping them alive, as the law intended to do; it makes these young drivers a target to predators and police officers. I propose that the law be reverted to its original state in which it does not require the use of these red decals. Without the red decals there would be less targeting of teen age drivers. Just because you know that the driver is a teenager, it doesn’t mean that less accidents will occur or that the roads will be safer for every driver. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Katherine Calle

Works Cited

"Kyleigh's Law Requires License Decals for Young N.J. Drivers." The Star-Ledger. Web. 09 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/kyleighs_law_requiring_license.html>.

"Teen Driving Statistics." 301 Moved Permanently. Web. 09 Apr. 2012. <http://www.rmiia.org/auto/teens/Teen_Driving_Statistics.asp>.

"Teen Drivers ." Teen Drivers. Web. 09 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers>.

"Kyleigh’s Law FAQs." New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commision Kyleigh’s Law FAQs. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nj.gov/mvc/pdf/Licenses/FAQdecals.pdf>.