Controversial decals for teen drivers has some seeing red
Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 02, 2012 in Car Accidents
For years, states across the country have launched programs and legal restrictions aimed at helping teen drivers stay safe on the road. Reducing car accidents among this vulnerable demographic is a nationwide goal, but states have adopted different ways to do this. Connecticut, for example, has curfew laws in place for drivers under 18 and also restricts new drivers in who they are allowed to have in their car while driving.
Other states, however, are thinking outside the box and trying out programs that are raising some eyebrows. In one state, for example, new drivers are supposed to have a red decal affixed to their license plate to make them easier to identify. While the program has stirred up controversy, early results of the red decal program are making some critics think again.
The markers have had a significant impact on reducing car accidents among teen drivers. In fact, one study suggests that they have prevented more than 1,600 crashes involving young drivers. With the decal in place on the license plates of teens, they know that they are identified as a new driver. It is believed that they engage in less risky behavior behind the wheel and they know they must be in compliance with certain laws or they will face consequences.
Much like Connecticut, the state in which the decals are being used has curfew laws and license restrictions in place for young drivers. However, it has been a challenge for law enforcement to be able to identify the teens in violation of certain laws. With the decals, rule-breakers are easier to spot.
However, critics of the program believe that calling out teen drivers with the red decal makes them a target for unfair police intervention. They also believe that the decals make the teens more visible to potential predators and kidnappers. Advocates of the program disagree and believe that the significant drop in accidents among these drivers makes this program a success.
What do you think? Do you think identifying novice drivers with a red deal would be an appropriate measure to adopt in Connecticut?
Source: NewsWorks, "Study: 'Red decal' for young N.J. drivers has lowered accident rates," Zack Seward, Oct. 24, 2012