In recent weeks we have highlighted the pressing issue of devastating teen auto accidents. We noted that New Jersey legislators are renewing their commitment to curb distracted driving among teens and older drivers. We also discussed the fact that grass-roots efforts aimed at educating and inspiring teens to drive safely are being spearheaded by the families of accident victims. Each of these stories focused on those elements of teen driving safety concerns that have not yet been adequately addressed.
Thankfully, one New Jersey effort focused on reducing the rate of serious auto accidents among teens seems to be actively benefitting the state's youngest drivers. The small, red decals that teens are required to display on their license plates seem to have inspired a significant reduction in crashes among drivers in this age group.
It has been over a year since the controversial red dots first became a fixture on New Jersey roads. They are meant to alert law enforcement officers to drivers who are prohibited from certain behaviors, and also to inspire teens to adhere to their probationary license restrictions.
According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, teen auto accidents have fallen by nearly 10 percent since the red dots became mandatory. In addition, law enforcement witnessed a nearly 15 percent increase in the citation rate for teen driving restriction violations. Essentially, more teens are being held accountable for irresponsible driving behavior and their accident rate is falling dramatically as a result.
There is still much work to be done toward keeping New Jersey's teen drivers safe, as we have noted in recent posts. However, significant progress on this issue has been made in the last year and that is a milestone worth celebrating.
Source: NewsWorks.org, "Study: 'Red decal' for young N.J. drivers has lowered accident rates," Oct. 24, 2012