UPDATE: The state Supreme Court this morning upheld the controversial “Kyleigh’s Law,” ruling that red decals on the license plates of teen drivers “furthers New Jersey’s compelling interest in maintaining highway safety with minimal intrusion upon the drivers.”
The unanimous decision found that signaling that someone is underage doesn’t violate law protecting individual privacy.
The justices also said the 2009 law serves a greater good in its intent to save lives and make roadways safer.
They said it constititues “a legitimate state interest — providing an enforcement mechanism for the
state’s objective of ensuring vehicular safety.” they said.
The justices also said Kyleigh’s Law doesn’t violate federal protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures” by police who would stop cars, because the decals are on the outside of vehicles in plain view of the public.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought against the state by George Trautmann, a Rockaway Township attorney who said he had “hopes of getting Kyleigh’s Law overturned and giving teens their rights back.”
The opinion is “based substantially on the reasons expressed” in an earlier Appellate Division ruling, the state’s highest court said this morning.
New Jersey is the first state to make the decals mandatory, although some counties have required them. It gives police probable cause to stop a vehicle they suspect is in violation of a new state curfew and occupancy rules that apply to teen drivers.
Named after car-crash victim Kyleigh D’Alessio, 16, “Kyleigh’s Law” requires the decals for graduated-license drivers who can only have a certain number of passengers in their vehicle and can’t be on the road past 11 p.m. It was signed into law by then-Gov. Jon Corzine on April 15, 2009.
Several lawmakers who came to Trenton in 2010 fought the measure, obtaining signatures on an online petition. The opponents say the decals make the young drivers targets for profiling police and prowling pedophiles.
Several municipalities even adopted resolutions asking the Legislature to repeal the sticker law as soon as possible.
Tens of thousands of youngsters and their parents raised their collective voices on Facebook and elsewhere, demanding action.
Teen license decals aren’t being removed — yet
Legislator renews fight against red decals for drivers
Lawmakers try to put the brakes on teen decals before deadline
The reflective red decals must be bought at MVC offices for $4 each. Violatators faces fines of $100.
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