New Jersey and the GDL Decal
Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL, http://impactteendrivers.org/blog/get-down-law) has proven effective in reducing teen car crashes across the United States by up to 50% (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). GDL is comprised of various components or provisions, all of which serve the purpose of saving lives. The more we evolve our GDL and strengthen these provisions, the more lives we will save.
In May 2010, New Jersey became the first state to take the innovative step of requiring 16-20 year old drivers to post a reflective decal on the front and back license plates of their vehicles while they are in the learner’s permit/intermediate phases of the Graduated Drivers Licensing. The decal facilitates police enforcement of GDL restrictions and encourages young drivers to make good decisions in accordance with the law. New research has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that supports its effectiveness in reducing teen crashes.
A study conducted by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)shows a sustained two-year decline in crash rates among intermediate drivers. CHOP researchers found that in the first two years after the new decal requirement took place, the overall crash rate for young intermediate drivers declined 9.5 percent compared to the previous four years. The rate of single-vehicle crashes involving 18-year olds decreased 13 percent per year and nearly 17 percent for 19-year-olds.
"Decal provisions now have the support of science. The provision may encourage safer driving behaviors, both among teens and other drivers sharing the road with them," says lead author Allison Curry, PhD, MPH, director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP. "There is definitely more we need to learn, in particular with respect to the specific mechanisms by which the decals reduced crashes. The end result, however, is that many fewer teens crashed."
At Impact Teen Drivers, we believe that the union between education and enforcement is essential in achieving our goal of stopping the number one killer of teens in America. Together, we can help prevent these teen crashes by continuing to follow, enforce, educate about and support GDL.
Parents, remember you need to be at the forefront of your teen’s driving experience, enforcing GDL and always role modeling good behavior. Check out our library of “GDL Made Simple Videos,” that explain different states’ GDL in a straightforward and engaging manner: http://impactteendrivers.org/resources/videos/gdl