FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Time for New Jersey to Act on Critical Teen Driver Safety Legislation
Coalition urges New Jersey Legislature to approve practice hours legislation (S1963/A1354) in the post-election session. Arkansas, Mississippi, and New Jersey are the only states in the nation that currently don’t require this life-saving practice for new drivers.
Wayne, N.J., November 29, 2021 — Partners for Practice Hours, a coalition of traffic safety advocates, medical professionals, traumatic brain injury patient advocates, educators, parents, and students, are calling on the New Jersey Legislature to pass S1963/A1354. The legislation would require new permit holders under the age of 21 to complete 50 supervised hours of practice driving, as well as increase the permit phase from 6 to 12 months to offer new drivers ample time to accrue practice hours and gain vital driving experience.
Inexplicably, New Jersey remains one of only three states (Arkansas and Mississippi) that does not mandate practice hours for new drivers, even though consistent training during the learning period has shown a reduction in crashes during the first year of driving.
In fact, a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found drivers ages 16 – 17 years old are:
- 4 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash
- 2.5 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash
- 3 times as likely as drivers 30 – 59 to be involved in a fatal crash
According to New Jersey Department of Transportation crash data, in 2019, over 30,000 teen drivers (16-19) were involved in crashes in New Jersey, including over 7,000 involved in injury or fatal crashes.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s GDL calculator estimates that if New Jersey were to add a 50 practice hours mandate, collision claims would be reduced by 13%, and most importantly, fatalities would be lessened by 3%. Requiring practice hours could prevent thousands of crashes and reduce fatalities across New Jersey.
S1963/A1354 passed both the Senate and Assembly Transportation committees early this year and is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee, respectively.
“It’s time for New Jersey to join 47 other states in requiring practice hours and to prevent avoidable crashes and injuries on our roadways. AAA urges the legislature to act on S1963/A1354”, said Lauren Paterno, Government Affairs Representative, AAA Northeast.
Partners for Practice Hours is a new coalition created to fight for improved laws to increase teen driver safety. Its members include: AAA Clubs of New Jersey, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Brain Injury Alliance of NJ, Consumer Federation of America, Emergency Nurses Association New Jersey State Council, Families for Safe Streets NJ, Farmers Insurance Group, Insurance Council of NJ, Kids and Car Safety, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) New Jersey, National Safety Council, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Nikhil Badlani Foundation, NJ Driver Education Committee, NJM Insurance Group, NJ PTA, NJ Teen Safe Driving Coalition, SADD, Safe Kids Worldwide, Selective Insurance Company of America , Society of Health and Physical Educators of NJ, Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, State Farm Insurance Companies, The Center for Auto Safety, and Vision Zero Alliance of NJ.
The AAA Clubs of New Jersey—AAA Northeast, AAA Mid-Atlantic and AAA South Jersey—provide automotive, travel, insurance, and financial services to more than two million members through 26 offices across the state. The AAA Clubs of New Jersey are affiliated with AAA, the not-for-profit, fully tax paying federation of automobile clubs, which serves as an advocate for motorists and travelers.
Support for New Jersey S1963/A1354 GDL Bills
Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of teenagers in the U.S. Lack of driving experience and a tendency to take greater risks is a lethal combination for teens. Addressing these shortcomings head on with proven solutions will make the roads safer for teens and everyone on the roads with them. Bills pending in the state legislature (S. 1963/A. 1354) would add a supervised driving requirement and extend the learner’s permit phase. These commonsense changes to the current graduated driver licensing (GDL) law will introduce teens to driving in a way that reduces risk and helps develop lifelong safe driving behaviors. Advocates calls on the New Jersey Legislature to advance S1963/A1354 without delay.”
Arnold Anderson Detective-Retired, Coordinator -Community Traffic Safety Program, Chairman, NJ Driver Education Committee, Leader – Teen Safe Driving Coalition of NJ
“Requiring that teen drivers be required to practice driving at least 50 hours, (10 at night) is an investment in time which will result in the safety for all road users in New Jersey.”
Evan Correa, Vice-President, Youth Advisory Board, West Orange High School
“Given that motor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death for teens, it is crucial for amateur drivers to obtain the practice necessary to make good decisions on the road. As such, the passage of S1963/A1354, which mandates practice hours for teens under the GDL system, is a key measure needed to reduce teen traffic fatalities.”
Sangeeta Badlani, founding member of Nikhil Badlani Foundation, Families for Safe Streets NJ and Vision Zero NJ Alliance
“Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Let’s give our teens the tools to keep them safe. It is imperative that we pass bill A1354/S1963 now to prevent further tragedies.”
Janette Fennell, President, Kids and Car Safety
“As a parent and a safety advocate, I know teenagers need guidance developing the skills necessary for a lifetime of safe driving habits. Unfortunately, crash statistics show that teen drivers are among the age groups with the highest risk of crashes, largely due to inexperience and risk-taking. The danger is heightened during the first few months of unsupervised driving. Fifty hours of driving practice with a licensed adult during the learner’s phase should be viewed as the bare minimum before putting our children behind the wheel of a multi-ton death machine.”