Teen driving bill passes Assembly panel

TRENTON – The Assembly Transportation Committee released a bill that would add more requirements for teens seeking graduated driver’s licenses, such as requiring more time behind the wheel and greater education.

Under the bill, A3309, individuals with a special learner’s permit would still need to take a six-hour, behind-the-wheel automobile driving education course in order to receive a graduated driver’s license, or GDL.

But that’s not all. In addition to that education program, the bill requires applicants would have to complete at least 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours of night driving.

Also, the bill increases from six months to 12 months the amount of time that a permit holder must hold such a permit before becoming eligible for a probationary license.

In addition, the bill also calls for informational brochures with travel logs be given to parents and guardians of beginning drivers under the age of 18 at approved teen driver orientation programs. Under current law, such brochures are submitted at the time a permit is issued to a beginning driver.

The parent or guardian, or the supervising driver, of a permit holder must certify that these hours of practice driving were completed, according to the legislation.

Pam Fisher of the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition supported the revised bill.

She said it takes 1,000 miles of driving before the crash risk really drops.

Other groups who testified in support of the bill were State Farm Insurance.

Donna Weeks, whose daughter died in an accident involving a GDL driver, also supported the bill.

AAA and the New Jersey Chiefs of Police Association, however, opposed the online component of the bill, saying it would undermine the need for a one-on-one interaction between the parent and the applicant.

  Teen driving bill passes Assembly panel