Teen Drivers Will Need Parents to Take Orientation Under New Bill – Makes Sense or Nonsense [POLL]
Any new bill that has the name John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) attached to it has to be looked at with the jaundiced eye.
This one, however, might make sense.
Parents or guardians would have to complete driver orientation courses along with their teens under a bill that passed the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee this morning.
The bill (A1571), which was approved 10-0, would also make teens wait longer to get their licenses, requiring them to have a learner’s permit for at least one year – up from six months. And they’d have to log at least 50 hours of driving practice time, including 10 hours at night.
As for the requirement that parents take courses, Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs for AAA New Jersey said a AAA study last year found many were not sure how to teach their teens how to drive. The course, she said, would better prepare them for it.
“They didn’t know what to teach the teens, how to have those conversations,” she said.
A similar version of the bill was “pocket vetoed” by Gov. Chris Christie without comment in January, along with 42 other bills that he did not sign at the end of the last legislative session.
If a parent can’t complete the driver orientation program, another relative or supervising adult who’s at least 21 is allowed to substitute. Only parents of those teens under 18 would be required to take the course.
Besides being sponsored by Assembly member John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), the bill was also being sponsored by Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) and Albert Coutinho (D-Essex).
Here’s what I don’t like about it. In principle, requiring parents to take a course to teach their kids how to have the conversation about driving is tantamount to having prospective parents take a course on how to become a better parent. Sort of like a “Pre-Cana” for teen drivers.
Can government legislate that?
However, government can and should hold you responsible for some of the actions of your teens. They are minor, after all!
Hence the bill.