Commentary: Tagging teens' cars a good idea

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

A New Jersey law that will take effect next year will require new drivers 21 and younger to display special decals on their cars. That's an idea that should spread.

The decals probably will be a small reflective rectangle attached to the front and rear license plates of the vehicle. They will be applied using Velcro, so older family members can remove them when they use the car.

The primary reason for the decals is to help police enforce state driving curfews and passenger restrictions for new drivers.

New Jersey apparently takes teen driving safety seriously. For one thing, it is the only state with a 17-year-old driving age.

In addition to approving the decals, the state also lowered its curfew for new drivers from midnight to 11 p.m., and new drivers are allowed only one other teenage passenger in the car. New Jersey also bans the use of cell phones, even hand-free ones, for new drivers – another idea that should spread.

Unlike New Jersey, South Carolina allows teens to get a beginner's permit with a written test at age 15. Beginners are required to have an adult older than 21 with them at all times when they drive. After 180 days, they can get a restricted or conditional license that allows them to drive alone during daylight hours. After dark, an adult must accompany them. They cannot get an unrestricted driver's license until they have held a restricted or conditional license for a year.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.