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How the graduated driver license program keeps NJ drivers safe

Parents in Monmouth County likely worry a lot when their teens get behind the wheel. They may find it comforting then to know that New Jersey’s graduated driver license program is doing a good job of keeping teen drivers safe. According to New Jersey 101.5, teen drivers were involved in 3,885 deadly crashes across the country in 2014. That represents about a 10 percent increase. However, in New Jersey the number of fatal crashes actually decreased and many contribute that fact to the existence of the graduated driver license program.

Graduated licenses are intended to give new drivers more experience behind the wheel before allowing them to have full driving privileges. After obtaining a learner’s permit, they then receive a probationary license for a period before finally gaining a basic form of license. While every state has some form of graduated license program, New Jersey’s is unique both in its age requirements and the number of restrictions placed on inexperienced drivers.

Some experts think there is even more that can be done in New Jersey. Including mandatory practice hours and requiring more parent involvement would go a long way, they argue. In addition, some think that the hours in which teens can drive should be restricted even further. New and probationary drivers currently cannot drive after 11:00 at night. However, statistics indicate that 9:00 may be a more appropriate cutoff since that is the time at which the risk of crashing increases.

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, probationary license holders cannot be on the road after 11:00 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m. In addition, they are only allowed to have a parent or child as a passenger. Siblings are not allowed. If a parent is in the car, one other passenger can also be present.

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