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Car Accident: Kyleigh’s Law Has Had Little Effect on Teen Crashes

Law Offices of James M. Curran

In May of 2010, New Jersey was the first state to adopt measures to address the number of accidents involving teenage drivers. Under Kyleigh’s Law, new drivers must attach small red decals to the license plates of the cars they are driving. The intention of this measure is to alert officials to the fact that the driver is subject to restrictions related to driving at night, and the number of passengers allowed, with the ultimate hope of avoiding another car accident.

Teenagers may also benefit because while they are aware that they are identifiable as drivers on learner permits, they may take extra care to obey the rules of the road. This will hopefully lead to licensed drivers that have developed into responsible operators with safe driving habits. Nevertheless, a recent study showed no significant drop in teen accidents.

A study, using crash and citation data from 2006 through 2012, revealed that the numbers of incidents involving the youngest drivers on learners permits have remained at the same relatively low number it had been before. This may be because such drivers may only drive under the supervision of a licensed adult. A study in 2012 revealed a decline of 9.5 percent in accidents involving older teen drivers since the implication of the decal rule in 2010.

Although no significant drop in teenage accidents followed Kyleigh’s Law, none of the studies shows any increase in citations or crashes involving teens. Unfortunately, there will always be exceptions, and with new-found freedom, teenagers sometimes act irresponsibly — often with devastating consequences. New Jersey residents who have suffered injuries in a car accident that was caused by teenage drivers may pursue compensation for medical and other documented losses. In personal injury claims that may follow such accidents, the parents of minor drivers, along with the registered owners of the vehicles — if there are other parties — may be named as defendants.

Source:, “Teen driving decals don’t reduce crashes, study says“, Kathleen O’Brien, June 30, 2015

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