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N.J. Supreme Court: Young Drivers To Continue Displaying Red Decals On License Plates

Mother Of The Teen 'Kyleigh's Law' Is Named After Says Legislation Saves Lives
Drivers in New Jersey under 21 with a provisional license must place a red decal seen here at the top left corner of their license plates under the new "Kyleigh's Law." (Credit: CBS 2)

Drivers in New Jersey under 21 with a provisional license must place a red decal seen here at the top left corner of their license plates under the new “Kyleigh’s Law.” (Credit: CBS 2)

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DOVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The controversial law known as “Kyleigh’s Law” was upheld Monday by the New Jersey Supreme Court. It requires new drivers in the state to place red decals on their license plates.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan spoke to Marisa Wardamsky on Monday. Wardamsky is learning to drive and she’ll have to put a red decal on her license plate while she holds a permit — and a year after that to let everyone know she’s a new driver.

“I think it’s good because, like, it can help new drivers and police locate them. But I think it can also cause predators to locate 17-year-old kids,” the Roxbury resident said.

That concern was at the heart of a lawsuit filed by attorney Gregg Trautmann on behalf of his son, Douglass. He refused to use the sticker, fearing what happened to one new driver could happen to him.

“The person came to car. He had a fake light, police light, that he pulled her over and came up to the car and said a few words and said he pulled her over because of a sticker and let her go,” Gregg Trautmann said, referring to a recent incident.

But New Jersey’s high court upheld the law, which is named after 16-year-old Kyleigh D’Alessio, who was killed in a crash six years ago while in a car driven by another teenager who also died.

“There were too many teens in the car. He was new GDL driver. He was speeding. That’s a lot of distractions right there,” said Donna Weeks, D’Alessio’s mother.

Weeks said the decals help police enforce the rules of probationary licenses. For 17-year-old drivers, that means they can only have one non-family passenger in the car.

“When you have one extra friend in the car there’s a 50 percent chance of that person getting into an accident. We have friends killing friends right now and we’re just trying to stop that,” Weeks said.

The red decals are Velcro and come off easily. That’s why many teens and parents have chosen not to keep them on their cars.

“I don’t like to be profiled so I refused to put it on my car,” said Chris Schetelick of Bernardsville.

That’s why Gregg Trautmann said he plans on taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping he’ll have a better chance.

Not having the decal is not a moving violation. Teens face a $100 fine.

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