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NJ Bill To Expand Teen Driver Education Advances [AUDIO]

Flickr User JessicaSarahS

Every ten minutes a teen is involved in a car crash in New Jersey.

A bill working its way through Trenton would expand education and practice requirements for special learner’s and exam permits.

Pam Fischer, director of the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition, says the legislation is needed, “It would require parents and teens to go through about a 60 to 90 minute education program to learn about our graduated driver’s license program.”

The legislation adds a requirement that applicants for an examination permit under 21 years of age must take a teen driver orientation program approved by the Divisions of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

Any applicant under 18 years of age must also have a parent or guardian or supervising adult who is at least 21 years of age complete the teen driver orientation program as well.

Critics claim the extra education and practice time will cost too much money for urban parents. “It’s extra practice behind the wheel, its attending parent-teen orientations, this is not something that will affect residents in their pocketbooks” said Fischer.

The bill also requires any holder of an examination permit who is less than 21 years old to complete a six-hour course of one-on-one driver’s education as well as 50 hours of practice driving. The applicant also has the option of completing 100 hours of practice driving in lieu of the six hour driver’s education course. The bill also extends the amount of time that a holder of an examination permit must wait before taking a road test from six months to one year.

“That isn’t really much longer because most teens end up waiting a year with their permits anyway.”

Lastly, the bill also requires the MVC to adopt standard up-to-date guidelines to be implemented by public, parochial, or private schools and licensed drivers’ schools offering the six-hour driver’s education course. Informational brochures about teen driving are also to be issued during approved teen driver orientation programs; the bill requires that the brochures include a driving log.

“We’re really trying to strengthen what is a good law but make it better to save lives.”

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