Any car accident that results in injury or death is a tragedy, but when teenage drivers are the victims, it highlights just how quickly a life can be negatively impacted or cut too short. In hopeful news, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has concluded a study showing that up to 1,600 car accidents have been prevented by a simple red sticker placed on the license plates of young drivers.
The study was based on New Jersey drivers who are under 17 years old. These drivers must place a red decal sticker on their license plates. This signifies to other motorists that the driver of the car must be following certain driving restrictions about transporting passengers and how late they are allowed to be on the road.
Not only does the decal make it easier for police to keep an eye on novice drivers, but it may also encourage teen drivers to driver more carefully, knowing that they may not be able to get away with breaking the rules as easily.
There has been some resistance to the law that requires the decal, arguing that identifying teen drivers in this way is profiling or a violation of privacy. But proponents of the law say that car accidents are the number one killer of teenagers, and any way to save young lives is worth it. Not only may teen drivers be more prone to impulsive decision making that can endanger not only their lives but the lives of others on the road, but their lack of experience can also contribute to dangerous situations that an experienced driver may be able to handle.
While at this time, the study shows that teen accidents have been reduced in New Jersey because of the decal, additional states, like Pennsylvania, may also consider implementing the life saving measure.
Accident victims that are injured by young drivers, particularly if the driver was distracted by text messaging or passengers, may be able to file a lawsuit to seek recovery for their injuries. Even though teen drivers are young and perhaps inexperienced, they engage in an adult activity that has responsibilities and consequences.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Inquirer Editorial: Car-tag decals are saving young drivers’ lives,” Nov. 1, 2012