Supreme Court Upholds Kyleigh’s Law

TRENTON – The state Supreme Court today upheld Kyleigh’s Law, which was intended to protect young drivers by making law enforcement more aware of them so the rules of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver’s License can be more easily enforced.

Opponents of the law, which requires new drivers to place a red decal on their car’s license plate, argued that it is an invasion of privacy and could make them more vulnerable to child predators. However, in a unanimous ruling the court determined that Kyleigh’s Law does not violate the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

“As the appellate division properly held, the young drivers subject to (Kyleigh’s Law) have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their age group because a driver’s age group can generally be determined by his or her physical appearance, which is routinely exposed to public view,” the decision said.

“I am gratified by today’s New Jersey Supreme Court ruling upholding the requirements of Kyleigh’s law and my work to improve the safety of our state’s teenaged drivers,” said Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex.) “Too many lives have been tragically affected by car accidents caused by young drivers. Kyleigh’s law helps protect teen drivers by ensuring that the rules of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver’s License are followed and that teens are well prepared for the responsibilities of a full driver’s license.”

In the wake of the Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of “Kyleigh’s Law”, Senators Jennifer Beck and Christopher “Kip” Bateman renewed their push for their bill to overturn the requirement that young drivers holding a graduated license display a red decal on their vehicle.

“A law being upheld as permissible under the state Constitution should not be construed to mean the Court deems the law a good idea,” said Beck (R- Monmouth). “With the benefit of hindsight and the input of parents and teen drivers responsible for complying with the law, it has become clear to me that this well intentioned law has unintended consequences.”

“The only safe and sensible way to implement Kyleigh’s Law is via a GDL identification method that is only visible or recognizable by law enforcement officers,” said Bateman (R-Somerset).  “Until then, we must trust in our driver’s education requirements, license regulations and in New Jersey’s parents, guardians and teenagers to follow these laws.”

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