A study on the use of red decals for teen drivers reduced road crashes

Last Monday, a very revealing result of a 3½-year study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that showed when other factors are taken into account, the N. J. law requiring new drivers under 21 years old to use the red decals greatly reduced road crashes among this age group by 9.5% during its first two years on records.

Allison Head Curry was the lead researcher for a team in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia team that started studying the decal one year after it was made into a law effective May in 2010. The team saw that there were nearly 3,200 fewer crashes after decal provision had been enacted.

Only New Jersey includes teen identifiers in its Graduated Driver License laws, but two other states, New York and Massachusetts, have their bills pending.

Curry proclaimed that the Decal provisions” now have scientific support.

The study made a comparison of monthly rates of police-reported crashes of GDL drivers within 2 years that decal was mandated. Curry said that they have estimated the declines in crashes tied to drivers required to use the decal and it showed an overall decline of 3,197.

When the decal law was mandated in 2009, lawmakers based their proposal from experiences of drivers in Britain, Japan and Australia, where teen identifiers were already commonplace. They included the testimony of local police who had difficulty in identifying driver’s ages in the imposition of curfew on driving from teeners, including passenger restrictions on teens.

 Pam Fischer former state Director of Safety Traffic Highway, stated that now science has affirmed that decals protect teens and to know that she spearheaded the decal implementation.

CDC estimated that traffic accident is the cause of more deaths among young people compared with any disease.

The law was created as a reaction to the death of Kyleigh D’Alessio, age 16 that was killed in 2006 when the 17-year-old driver of the car she was riding crashed into a tree in Morris County.

Once Kyleigh’s Law was passed, some parents and teens were pushing back, mostly on social media. They complained that the decal would motivate encourage police to make teenagers easy targets for predators. In 2011, a study made by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that decal opposition among the young drivers whose license were probationary  had reached 90 percent%, as well as an 83% objection of decals from their parents.

Surveys also showed that there was little use of decal as it was found that less than 30% of qualifying drivers some schools was using them.

Even statistics presented by the Administrative Office of the Courts showed that police in almost all towns are now enforcing decal law.

Former high school teacher, Maureen Nussbaum has been helping organize in the academe teachers to influenced law makers to implement stiffer teen safety reforms. She believes that schools must encourage the decal and pay attention to this study because it shows that it’s improving safety for kids.

Donna Weeks, mother of Kyleigh D’Alessio’s mother, is confident that result of the study said will alter lingering negative attitudes and recognize the positive reasons for the decal.




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