New Jersey lawmakers are considering changes to the state's requirements for a learner's driving permit following the deaths of four teen football players in a single-vehicle accident last summer.
The Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday approved a bill that would require new drivers to keep a learner's permit for a year and to submit a log of 50 hours of practice driving before obtaining a full driver's license.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who sponsored revisions to the state's Graduated Driver's License laws in 2009, would also require 16- and 17-year-olds to attend a driver orientation meeting with a parent or other adult before getting a permit.
The legislation must still pass the Assembly and state Senate.
The legislation was introduced last session but faltered. It saw renewed interest following the deaths of four teenage football players in a single-vehicle accident in August.. The driver, 17-year-old Casey Brenner, had a restricted license that allowed him to carry only one passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Brenner was driving the carload of teammates from Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, near Atlantic City, to meet other players at a restaurant to celebrate the last practice of the summer before scrimmages were to start. The eight boys ranged in age from 15 to 17 and were crammed into a seven-seat SUV.
New Jersey has had a graduated driver's license program for a decade. It was revised in 2009 to limit the number of passengers in order to limit distractions for drivers who don't have a lot of experience on the road.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed “Lacey’s Law” in October, requiring more training and restrictions for teen drivers in that state. The legislation was named for 18 year old Lacey Gallagher who was killed in a 2007 SUV crash that injured six other teens.