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Teen license decals aren’t being removed — yet

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Concerns increased today as a bill to remove red decals from the license plates of young drivers was ignored before legislators in Trenton could even discuss it.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT illustration
(No use without permission)

Assemblyman Bob Schroeder of Bergen County openly questioned why the chairman of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works & Independent Authorities Committee refused to schedule discussion on a bill that would repeal the decals, insisting that the stickers expose young innocents to sexual predators.

“People throughout New Jersey have legitimate concerns that these red stickers are targeting our teens for criminal predators,” said Schroeder, a Republican from Washington Township.

“The decals are dangerous, discriminatory and should be taken off license plates immediately,” he said.

A freshman legislator with two teens of his own, Schroeder is the primary sponsor of A-2650, a bill that has gotten bi-partisan support from key legislators, including Deputy Assembly Majority Leader Joan Voss of Fort Lee (See: Legislator renews fight against decals).

What’s more, several municipalities statewide have begun adopting resolutions asking the Legislature to repeal the sticker as soon as possible.

The trick now is getting the issue to the floor of the Assembly before it can be brought to the full Legislature.

NJ State Assemblyman Bob Schroeder (R-Bergen County)

“Kyleigh’s Law,” which took effect earlier this month, was enacted to avoid a tragedy like the one that happened to Kyleigh D’Alessio,” a 16-year-old passenger who was killed in a car crash, along with the teenaged driver, Dec. 20, 2006. It requires special license-plate decals for all drivers under 21 who have probationary licenses. Violators can be fined $100.

However, several new legislators who took office after their predecessors approved the measure think it deserves a much closer look.

Schroeder said there’s still time for Transportation committee Chairman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, to add the bill to the committee’s June 14 agenda, or for the committee to meet again on June 17.

“The time has come” for a new look at the decal approach, he added, “so that this important public policy issue can be corrected this month.”

“It is a matter of legitimate public concern that requires leaders to be proactive,” he said. “A ‘wait and see’ approach only endangers young drivers and keeps them at risk. Must we wait until a tragedy occurs to address the concerns of our citizens?”

Wisniewski didn’t budge, however, countering that Schroeder “is more obsessed with building hysteria than protecting teen drivers.” The chairman also claimed that Schroeder didn’t approach him on the issue, despite the fact that the assemblyman wrote him a letter outlining his concerns, and his request, last month.


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