NJ Unveils Decal to 'Brand' Teen Drivers

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:19 PM EDT
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New Decals in NJ Identify Young Drivers

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New Decals in NJ Identify Young Drivers

New decals are required on vehicles of young drivers in New Jersey.
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Starting May 1, every teen driver on a permit or provisional license in New Jersey will have to put red decals on his or her license plate.

"Some kids will wanna rebel and just take it off," admitted Ryan Kiernan, 16, a junior at Freehold Regional High School in Freehold Township.

But Kiernan, along with several other members of  the school's Project Lundy, are all applauding the new restrictions for those teens who have yet to get their regular license, which usually happens when a driver reaches the age of 18.

"It's gonna save lives in the end. If everybody abides by it, it'll do its job," said Rory Craig, 18, a senior at Freehold Regional.

Their group is named after one of three students killed in January of 2007 in an after-school car crash.

The new law requiring the decals is named after Kyleigh D'Alessio. The Morris County teenager was killed just over 3 years ago when she rode with a fellow teen who had just a provisional license.

Her mom, Donna Weeks, said of that dark year "Every week we were losing teenagers. Within a 5 week span we lost 11 teenagers."

In addition to requiring the new Velcro-backed red decal for anyone with a learner's permit or provisional(to be renamed 'probationary') license, it moves the curfew time up to 11p.m., and puts new restrictions on who can ride in the car with the teen driver.

"I guess people are gonna be a little embarrassed about it but in retrospect especially in our community we know it will help us," said Pat Conti, 17, a senior at Freehold Regional.

From 1997 through 2009, state records show more than 150 teen-aged drivers and their passengers in the Garden State died in traffic accidents.

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