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New Jersey's young driver law examined after fatal crash

Last month, we wrote about the tragic car crash that took the lives of four members of a New Jersey high school football team. In the wake of that fatal car accident, state lawmakers may be looking to strengthen the state's graduated driver's license law.

Under the current law, new drivers must have an adult in the car at all times during their first year of driving. After that year ends, they may obtain a Graduated Driver's License. This removes the adult requirement, but mandates that drivers may not have more than one passenger in the car at any time, among various other restrictions.

If police cite a driver for violating the passenger limit of the restricted license, he or she will be fined $100, but no repercussions regarding the status of their driver's license. Following the fatal crash, New Jersey legislators are looking at that punishment (or lack thereof) and may now pass a law that tacks on additional measures to deter teen drivers from violating the law

If that happens, it will affect many young drivers in the state. Among New Jersey's 5.7 million drivers, approximately 125,000 have new driver restrictions tacked on to their licenses. Among those, less than 1,500 drivers have been ticketed for carrying too many passengers.

Lawmakers are citing the recent deadly car crash for the movement to change the law. At the time of the crash, the teenager was carrying seven passengers in his SUV. If consequences had existed to discourage the teenager from violating the law, the traffic accident may not have occurred.

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: The Washington Post, "Compliance with NJ young drivers law in spotlight after 4 die in crash of SUV driven by teen," Aug. 23, 2011

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