I’m NOT Happy. Okay. I’m Angry.
New Jersey, where my family and I live, is now known (infamous?) for being the first state in the nation to require ‘provisional drivers’ (those who don’t have their ‘full’ or ‘regular’ driver’s license yet) to place identifying red decals on the front and back license plates of the cars they drive. If the teens don’t, they are in for a first-time offense fine of $100 (and it escalates from there).
Some NJ state senators, notably Fred Madden, D-4, of Washington Township, NJ, sponsor of the decal measure. say this isn’t about profiling teen drivers. Some judges, notably Judge Robert Brennan in Morristown, NJ, say Kyleigh’s Law isn’t unconstitutional.
In our town, the cops were waiting for local kids to hop in their cars at lunchtime on Monday. Note: Our town has an open campus, which allows our students to leave for lunch. Can you say: Shooting ducks in a barrel. Oh yeah.
But that isn’t the point I want to make.
Do I think it’s okay to place reasonable restrictions on new drivers?
Do I think it’s okay to label their vehicles with the equivalent of a scarlet letter?
You already know our daughter Tory is a newbie driver. We always accompany her when she drives her beloved VW Bug Sunny; she’s still 16 years old and that age requires an adult in the car with her at all times. That’s really reasonable.
When she turns 17 years old she can drive alone or with one friend in the car with her. We (that’s mostly me) won’t be in Sunny with her (if she has anything to say about it, which she does since she’s getting older and more mature) most of the time during her 17th year.
When she’s driving home from a pitching lesson alone after dark, for example, she’s gonna have those red stickers glowing on her front and back license plates.
Someone might see those stickers and see she’s alone.
Someone will know she’s no older than 17.
Someone might decide to harass her, or worse.
By law now, she has to have the red stickers on her vehicle. It’s the law.
Reasonable rules and regulations? Yes.
Red decals? No.