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Police: NJ Teens With Learner's Permits Driving Without Adults Face Serious Consequences

Do you know New Jersey's teen driving laws?
Do you know New Jersey's teen driving laws? Photo Credit: Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

As if packs of out-of-area juveniles stealing cars in the middle of the night didn’t keep them busy enough, police in North Jersey say they’re also dealing with local high schoolers driving around with only permits and no adults with them.

Ridgewood Police Chief Jacqueline Luthcke said her officers have made several unsafe driving stops recently involving village and local-area teens with only learner's permits driving illegally.

“These students have been driving to and from school as well as driving around after school, without being accompanied by an adult supervising driver, as required by law,” the chief said.

“After having conversations with the student drivers, as well as parents in the community and the school, we have found that this is considered an acceptable practice by some parents and students,” she said.

“We cannot stress enough how unsafe and illegal this is,” Luthcke said.

The chief laid out the consequences to parents:

  • Allowing an unlicensed driver to operate your motor vehicle opens you to liability for injuries and/or damages that won’t be paid by insurance;
  • Those drivers who are caught could have their permits suspended for up to six months, delaying their licenses;
  • Those who are underage can be served with delinquency complaints that require appearances in the Family Part of Superior Court, followed by a fine, possible community service requirements -- and a juvenile record;
  • Those 18 and over can be charged criminally. Injure someone in an accident and you not only end up with a criminal record – you could go to prison or have to serve jail time.

Police and school officials do all they can to make streets safer – “but we need your help,” said Luthcke, the Ridgewood police chief. “We need young drivers to follow the rules of the road, while gaining the experience they need to become safe and responsible drivers.”

KNOW THE RESTRICTIONS

Special learners permit

  • No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.;
  • No using a cellphone, video game or other hand-held electronic device;
  • There must be an adult supervising driver who is at least 21 years old and has been a fully licensed driver for at least 3 years in the front passenger seat;
  • There can only be one additional passenger after that;
  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times.

Examination permit

  • The driver must be at least 17 and not in suspension status;
  • No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.;
  • No using a cellphone, video game or other hand-held electronic device;
  • There must be an adult supervising driver who is at least 21 years old and has been a fully licensed driver for at least 3 years in the front passenger seat;
  • Only one passenger from outside the driver’s household is permitted in the vehicle; other passengers must be from the driver’s household;
  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times.

Probationary driver's license

  • A reflectorized license plate decal must be displayed;
  • No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless the driver has a written statement of why he/she needs to be on the road for religious or work reasons;
  • The only passengers permitted in the vehicle are the driver’s parents, legal guardians or dependents:
  • There must be parent or guardian supervision if there are other passengers.

MORE INFO: SharetheKeys.com

ALSO: If you or your children have any questions about driving restrictions, you can contact your local police department’s traffic safety bureau.

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