New Jersey Law for Drivers Under 21 Just Became More Restricted

On Wednesday, Governor Corzine put more restrictive driving laws into effect for young drivers (i.e. those under 21 years old).  The new law includes a provision requiring placement of a car decal on vehicles operated by permit holders or provisional license holders. The rules have also been refined to limit the times that teens on a provisional license may operate a car. The law now prohibits operation after 11:00 p.m. The final piece of the legislation prohibits provisional drivers under 21 from operating a vehicle with more than one passenger and this limitation applies irrespective of whether the passengers are related or reside together.

My observations regarding this NJ amendment are multiple. While I am certainly sympathetic as to the horrors of teen motor vehicle deaths, it seems to me that the statute is somewhat unrealistic.  To limit children under 21 to one passenger has the real potential for being excessive and having negative effects. This law will also undoubtedly provide additional opportunities for stops and motor vehicle searches as it has been the experience of our NJ Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys that, at least insofar as it relates to young people, the law against unreasonable search and seizure becomes very grey in the field.