The NJ Supreme Court doesn’t think the bright red decals our young NJ drivers are required to stick to their front and back license plates make our kids easier marks for child predators and other creeps. That’s right. The NJ State Supreme court ruled 6-0 that Kyleigh’s Law does not violate young NJ drivers’ privacy. Those decals, bright, shiny and red, only make it easy for the police to keep an eye out for wayward young drivers who are breaking curfew or driving with too many passengers in their cars. Ummm. Right.
Just because the NJ State Supreme Court ruled the law permissible under the US Constitution doesn’t mean it’s a good law.To me, this law is trying to parent. And hello. That’s my job. I’m supposed to know where my kids are, especially my new drivers. I’m supposed to teach my kids to respect a state-imposed driving curfew. I’m supposed to teach my children about good choices and safety.
I first learned about Kyleigh’s Law when my daughter Tory got her NJ learner’s permit at age 16 (when she had to be accompanied by a licensed driver in order for her to drive) in 2010; the law was purportedly put in place to help police ID young drivers violating the conditions of their permits – the set curfew and the limiting number of passengers allowed in their vehicles. The law requires all NJ drivers under the age of 21 who hold a learner’s or examination permit or probationary license to put red decals on both their front and rear license plates so police can easily identify them as new, young drivers. Sure. The police and anyone else who wants to target young drivers can easily spot those bright red decals as they drive down the road. Whether you are a good person or a bad person. Read what I wrote here about how I felt about the law that permits police to single out young drivers.
When my daughter Tory received her NJ probationary license at age 17 (when she could drive alone in her car), we talked about the law, about the requirement of the red stickers. I bought the stickers. We put them on her car license plates, front and back. We stood back and looked at them. And at each other. And we took them off. Tory said she felt more vulnerable with the stickers on her plates, especially at night when she drove alone to her lessons and job. The issue to us is one of safety. We decided we’d risk her getting a ticket.
According to an August 7th article in the Star-Ledger, “New Jersey is the test kitchen on this.” So keep an eye out non-NJ parents as this law could be coming to your state too. It could be imposed on your kids. Do you think it’s a good law?