A new bill in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly would require drivers under the age of 21 to get at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience while they have their driving permit before being issued a license.
A group called Partners for Practice Hours noted that while New Jersey has very strict rules for getting a commercial driving license (CDL), there is a “gaping hole” in its rules for giving young, inexperienced drivers licenses. A spokesman for AAA, which is part of the group, added that crash rates among teenage drivers are rising at an alarming rate.
In 2020, there were 28,000 accidents involving drivers under the age of 2021, a figure that could be reduced by 13% of hours of experience were mandated, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The bills state: “For six months immediately following the validation of an examination permit, and until the holder passes the road test, the holder who is less than 21 years of age shall operate the passenger automobile only when accompanied by, and under the supervision of, a New Jersey licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and has been licensed to drive a passenger automobile for not less than three years. The holder of an examination permit who is at least 21 years of age shall operate the passenger automobile for the first three months under [such] this supervision and until the holder passes the road test. The supervising driver of the passenger automobile shall sit in the front seat of the vehicle. Whenever operating a vehicle while in possession of an examination permit, the holder of the permit shall operate the passenger automobile with only one additional passenger in the vehicle excluding dependents of the permit holder, except that this passenger restriction shall not apply when the permit holder is at least 21 years of age or when the permit holder is accompanied by a parent or guardian. Further, the holder of the passenger automobile permit who is less than 21 years of age shall not drive during the hours between 11:01 p.m. and  5:00 a.m.; provided, however, that this condition may be waived for an emergency which, in the judgment of local police, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to substantially endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property of a person, or for any bona fide employment or religion-related activity if the employer or appropriate religious authority provides written verification of [such] the activity in a manner provided for by the chief administrator. The holder of the examination permit shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency, while operating a moving passenger automobile on a public road or highway. “Use” shall include, but not be limited to, talking or listening on any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device or operating its keys, buttons, or other controls. The passenger automobile permit holder shall ensure that all occupants of the vehicle are secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child restraint system.”