New Jersey drivers need better training, not more time (Opinion)
Typical New Jersey government is at work again. This time harassing young drivers and families by arbitrarily adding hours of "supervised" driving. The impetus behind the new push seems to be a study by AAA showing that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers aged 16 to 17 are four times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash, and 2.5 as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. - Dino Flammia via NJ1015.com
What the bill misses and fails to address is the root cause of the crashes. Is the problem more hours? Or is the issue that we are not teaching kids how to handle real-life road conditions. How many kids are taught to drive in the snow? In the rain? In traffic on Route 1 or Route 80? How about instead of adding time, add benchmark skills.
New Jersey public high schools should start driver training in Sophomore year and run it through graduation. Every rising senior should have the opportunity to obtain their full license after completing benchmarks throughout their training. Merging, right turns on red, crosswalks, passing on the left on a two or three-lane highway just to name a few.
The idea that we can ignore the reasons for so many accidents among young people and think that simply adding time to the road experience makes no sense. Parents and siblings may be decent drivers, but it doesn't mean they will be good teachers. And given the fact that many people are working extra time to put food on the table, this bill could be a huge financial burden to younger workers needing a license for commuting and families who barely have time to get to the grocery store, let alone set aside 50 additional hours.
Single moms and dads are paying the highest taxes in the nation to live and work in New Jersey, along with everyone else, they deserve better than a throw-away law that will likely do nothing to improve road safety, but will surely add one more burden for working families in New Jersey.
Make driving a core class in high school and require three years of training. End the provisional licensing and create a list of benchmarks that must be met in order for young drivers to get a license.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.