New Jersey’s Graduated Driver Licensing Laws & Teen Car Accidents

Teen car accidents are a huge problem across the United States. Fatal accidents involving teen drivers increased 10 percent in 2015, reports the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA). To learn more and to help prevent teen car accidents in the United States, the GHSA launched an investigation into accident data from 2005 to 2014.

What did the GHSA find?

The GHSA report, called Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, The Next Chapter, found that the percentage of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes fell almost 50 percent from 2005, teens are still 1.6 more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than adults.

Surprisingly, the report also found that older teens (aged 18 to 20) are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than younger teens (15-17). In fact, older teens are two times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. Most accidents involving teen drivers occur during this time period, even though accident risk increases after 9 p.m.

To prevent teen car accidents, many states have graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws that prohibit teen drivers from engaging in certain behaviors (e.g., driving at night, riding with passengers, etc.) until a certain age. Most states only require GDLs until 17 or 18.

Is New Jersey preventing teen car accidents?

Yes. Despite the discouraging data in the Mission Not Accomplished Report, the numbers of fatal accidents involving teen drivers in New Jersey have actually decreased.

In fact, according to Pam Fischer, principal author of the report and former director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, New Jersey has reduced teen traffic fatalities by half.

A recent article on discusses how New Jersey’s different GDL model has decreased the amount of fatal teen accidents occurring in New Jersey.

Fischer said that New Jersey is the only state in the entire country, aside from Maryland, that requires everyone under the age of 21 to hold a learner’s permit for at least 6 months and then have a probationary license for at least a year.

While New Jersey has cut fatalities in half, Fischer believes that the state needs to enact an earlier curfew and require new drivers to submit practice hours to ensure teen drivers get the experience they need.

Even though our state can do more, one thing seems to be clear: New Jersey’s graduated driver licensing are a model other states should be following.

What should I do if my teen or I am involved in an accident?

Regardless of whether a new driver or a driver with more experience caused your accident, you deserve compensation. The car accident lawyers at Cordisco & Saile, LLC have the experience and the resources to handle all types of car accidents.

For a free case evaluation and answers to your questions about car accidents, contact us today at 215-642-2335.