Just a couple of weeks after we ran Richard K. Rein’s column on the perils of teenage driving, Governor Jon S. Corzine issued a press release about setting up a Teenage Driver Safety Study Commission “to study, examine, and review the issue of teenage driver safety in New Jersey.”
It seems that the subject of “young people behind the wheel” is on everyone’s minds, particularly on the minds of the sponsors of the bill. All have good and personal reasons to worry about teenage driving.
Senator Ellen Karcher, a Democrat who represents Mercer and Monmouth counties, has a 17-year-old son and two nine-year old twin daughters. John S. Wisniewski, a Democrat representing Middlesex County in the Assembly, has three daughters, with the oldest in high school. And Joseph R. Malone III, a Republican assemblyman representing Mercer and three other counties, has two grown sons. He is often quoted as saying that the most two most horrible days in his life were “the days my two sons pulled away from the curb on their own” for the first time.
“A driver’s license is a rite of passage in a young person’s life,” said Corzine in the announcement press release, “but it also brings with it new dangers. The commission will seek out ways that we can better prepare and educate our youth to responsibly operate a car or truck.”
After six months his 15-member commission is supposed to report on how to reduce traffic-related fatalities for younger drivers. It will look at drunk and aggressive driving problems and whether defensive driving programs have helped to reduce accidents. It will analyze the types of motor vehicle violations that are causing these accidents.
It will also take a look at driver education programs. Some suggest they actually contribute to the problem. That opinion, held by Ben Bulot, of Biloxi, Mississippi, was cut for space from Rein’s column.
Bulot is the entrepreneur who set up a website (www.drivezebra.com) and charges $65 for “How’s my driving?” decals with a custom ID number for each participant. If a teenager careens down the road, a bystander can visit the website, key in the ID number, and the complaint will end up in the in-box of the young driver’s mother or father.
Bulot suggests that formal evaluations of high school driver’s ed classes indicate little effect in reducing crashes per driver. In fact, it has an unintended negative effect by encouraging early licensing among 16 to 17-year-olds. Quoting the American Journal of Public Health, Bulot says that the net result is more crashes per capita among teenagers.
It’s Not Too Late . . .
. . . to send in details about your company for the U.S. 1 Directory. We haven’t gone to press yet, and we are eager for every scrap of information.
Fax your information to 609-452-0033. If you do miss the print deadline, we can still correct your listing in the company directory at our website, www.princetoninfo.com, and we will also have it right for next year.