New Jersey on verge of tougher teen driver requirements

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/12/2012

An effort to help make sure New Jersey’s youngest drivers are better prepared to take to the roadways is one step away from becoming state law.

Wrapping up work on the two-year session that ended Monday, Jan. 9, state lawmakers voted to approve a bill to strengthen teen driver education and practice requirements. The bill – A3309 – now moves to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, said the bill provides the missing pieces in New Jersey’s teen driver safety puzzle.

“Not only will these requirements produce better and safer teen drivers, they will help parents feel more at ease when their child gets behind the wheel,” Wisniewski said in a previous statement.

If signed into law, parents of teens under age 18 applying for their learner’s permit or examination permit would be required to complete an online or in-person teen driver orientation program. The class would also be available, but not required, for parents of drivers between 18 and 21 who are pursuing an examination permit.

Also required for any driver under 21 is completion of up to 100 hours of certified practice driving.

In addition, the bill would extend the six-month permit phase to one year for all new drivers up to age 20. Once the permit phase is over, they would be eligible for a probationary license.

If signed into law it would take effect in early 2013.

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