A recent study in New Jersey found that a new law requiring novice drivers to have a red decal on license plates has prevented more than 1,600 vehicle accidents. In addition to accident prevention, the decals also help police officers enforce regulations specific to beginning drivers.
The law began in May 2010 as part of a movement toward graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, which have since become popular in many states across the U.S. While the law encountered some controversy when it was first introduced, the results show a definite decrease in crash involvement and multi-vehicle crashes.
"The fact that we saw significant crash reductions in New Jersey, a state that already has a strong GDL law and one of the lowest teen crash fatality rates, suggests that implementation of a decal law... may lead to even more marked reductions," said Dr. Allison Curry, a director at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention in Philadelphia. "We hope that our study can help other states looking to reduce teen crash rates."
Decals are popular amongst researchers and lawmakers because there is no need for vehicle maintenance to attach something to cars or track implementation. Some opponents of the law, however, claim the law violates drivers' privacy, The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports.