TRENTON – The Supreme Court today unanimously upheld Kyleigh’s law, which requires young New Jersey drivers to affix special decals on their license plates.
The high court sided with an appeals court ruling in 2011 that upheld the law. The court ruled Kyleigh’s Law does not violate equal protection. Nor does the law give rise to unreasonable search and seizure concerns, the court ruled.
The court heard the case in May, when a New Jersey lawyer presented his argument to the court that challenged the driver decal law that requires young motorists with learner’s permits or provisional licenses to display their driver status by affixing special decals to their license plates.
The Supreme Court didn’t issue a full opinion in the case, rather choosing to affirm the judgment based on the reasons expressed in the opinion of the Appellate Division’s ruling.
State and federal laws protect drivers from disseminating certain personal information, including age, Gregg Trautmann told the state Supreme Court justices.
However, the state’s high court disagreed, affirming a lower court’s ruling that said identifying a driver’s age group does not fall under the umbrella of “highly restricted personal information” or “personal information” under federal laws.
The court also affirmed Kyleigh’s Law does not give rise to unreasonable search and seizure under state and federal law because young drivers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their age group because their physical appearance is routinely exposed to public view, according to the court’s ruling. The decision added that since the decal is affixed in plain view to the exterior of the car, a police officer’s review of the decal does not constitute a search.
Legislation named after 16-year-old Kyleigh D’Alessio, of Morris County, who died in a 2006 car accident, stirred controversy among some who said the special decal violates driver protection laws and also argued it puts a certain age group at risk of unreasonable search and seizure as well as makes them targets for predators.
The decal law applies to drivers between the ages of 17 and 21.