Sixteen-year-old Kyleigh D’Alessio, of Morris County, NJ, died in a car crash three years ago; thanks to the efforts of her mom, Donna Weeks, NJ lawmakers passed “Kyleigh’s Law,” the first teen driver-decal program in the nation, but not without controversy. No surprise, youth groups have opposed the law, and a Rockaway attorney l has tried to have the law repealed.
Effective tomorrow, May 1, Kyleigh’s Law requires new drivers under 21 years-old to place red decals be placed on vehicles they are driving — to make them readily identifiable to police. Montclair PD was at the high school yesterday to inform teens about the new law, which affects all drivers under 21 with a Special Learner’s Permit or first-year provisional or probationary licenses. The new law also imposes an 11 pm curfew for drivers, and prohibits more than one passenger in the car unless a parent is in the car.

For more information, go to or here. Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey is launching a national campaign of her own, against texting and talking on cell phones while driving.

Winfrey has declared today national “No Phone Zone Day” to bring attention to the life-threatening dangers of distracted driving.
Winfrey is asking folks to take the “No Phone Zone” pledge . The pledge has three options: “I will not text while driving,” “I will not text while driving and will use only hands free calling if I need to speak on the phone while I am driving,” and “I will not text or use my phone while I am driving. If I need to use my phone, I will pull over to a secure location.” Go to get the pledge sheet.

41 replies on “Kyleigh’s Law Puts Red Stamp On Young NJ Drivers”

  1. Why don’t we just prohibit driving for everyone except married heterosexuals with children. Or perhaps we should allow only women over 30 to drive. Imagine how many accidents would be avoided then!

  2. Is this a joke? i guess this is all we can expect from our politicians. forget about tackling real issues.

  3. This is so sad.
    And I applaud these parents for their efforts.
    I’m not sure I like the law, but hell, let’s give it a try. I should say, BEFORE I visited the link, I thought this was overreaching, but know what? IF this saves a life, a family and community from living through this pain and suffering– I’m all for it.
    I would also support a law that requires ALL CELLPHONES have an app that shuts the phone off once the car is in motion.
    The NYTimes had a review of several yesterday. I hope Oprah is successful. And parents get one of the apps.
    Because I’m sure by the time the little prof is driving, this will be a built in feature of the car or phone.
    …. Just like drinking, seat-belts and car seats… We’ll tell our grandkids, “We used to just pull out our phones and talk and drive…”
    The kids will look at us strangely and say, “really…..”

  4. I’m just at a loss to understand how having a tiny sticker on the car would have prevented whatever tragedy that happened to Kyleigh.

  5. As stated in the second paragraph, the idea is to identify to a cop a vehicle that may have a probationary driver at the wheel. If there are 5 kids in the car or it is after 11:00PM, the police should check that the driver is not a probationary driver.
    I’m don’t know the situation that caused the young woman’s death, but if it was caused by a probationary driver being distracted by a carload of friends, this sounds like it might work as a deterrent.

  6. I think the stickers are dumb. Tough enforcement of draconian teen driving laws would do the trick.
    For high school students, few punishments sting like the loss of a license. Scott McCabe, a Bridgewater 17-year-old, had been driving for eight months when he got his first ticket, for speeding on Interstate 495 in December. Then he got a letter from the RMV, suspending his license. In an instant, McCabe — who aspires to a career designing race cars, and who started competing at 8 on the Junior Drag Racing circuit — was reduced to getting rides from his father, no longer able to drive himself to school or to his job with DMC Racing, a Halifax chassis shop. “It had a huge impact,’’ said McCabe, frustrated that the law applies differently to people his age than to friends a few months older. “I think it’s not that cool.’’

  7. So now the cops can hand out another ticket $100 when will it stop. I don’t like this law i think its against our constitutional rights. It also gives the cops the okay to stop anyone who’s driving after 11pm. kid or adult just to check things out. Probably many more DWI’s in the future for adults. Well i guess thats not such a bad thing.

  8. I think that parts of this law are worth a try…what I don’t agree with is the time of the curfew. My daughter is 17 and I think it is unfair for her to have to be home with the car at 11pm. I think the 12 am curfew, like it has been for years, is a better idea.

  9. Another problem I have with provisional licenses: If you’re over 18, you should be considered an adult. Period.
    You mean to tell me some 20 year old kid comes back from a tour in Iraq and needs to be home before 11 or he gets a ticket? Buh-loney.

  10. Imagine if this was a program to put red stickers on cars being driven by senior citizens!
    I’m much more comfortable in the car with my 19 and 22 yo sons than I am with someone 80 years old!

  11. Dumb idea. Stickers will only create more distraction. Inexperienced drivers will make potentially fatal mistakes behind the wheel and only other defensive drivers and luck will see them safely through this ‘learning’ phase.
    Most people are s**tty drivers. Pet peeve #2 is when one of these morons ‘cuts the corner’ when making a left. Oh man, this drives me CRAZY! There are times when I think I’m a ‘road rage’ incident waiting to happen. I’ll discuss this with my therapist next week. Anger is one of my favorite topics. 🙂

  12. OOH Mellon, you’re so right – what is WITH that! Gawd, can’t anyone make a 90-degree left turn any more? Some young gal did that to me just last week in a Chevy Tonnage or some such, and she looked at me like I was wrong. Hey, I was behind the limit line! Next time I’ll make sure she hits me – time for a new car anyway!
    And why do people feel compelled to swing left to turn right when they are *not* driving a bus or bucket truck?? !
    Finally – cops don’t ticket illegal parking, running of stop signs, left turns in the the face of numerous warnings of “no left turn”, and improper passing (i.e. cutting someone off either in the middle of an intersection, or on the highway doing 70 just so that they can get one whole car length ahead of you!) – and this additional unenforced law will be no different.
    Now for a serious question – how do kids learn to drive in NJ? Must they take a certified driving course from a school in order to get their permit? Or do they just take the written exam, and then get out on the road with mom or pop teaching them? (that would explain a lot, actually…)
    Bad Drivers have a special circle of hell reserved just for them!

  13. “Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution.”
    Have any of our law makers read this document lately? Or studied history?
    But then again it is easier to simply hand-wave than it is to actually do something creative, appropriate, legal and effective.

  14. Rob – it’s only for the kids with provisional licenses. Most kids over 18 have their full licenses, which have no restrictions

  15. Rob, why must we always pull out the poor 20 year old Iraq vet to make a point.
    Understand, there are many things that, as a society, we have deemed unsuitable for those under 21.
    Like drinking.
    So yes. Your Iraq war vet will have to wait. To drink.
    Looking over the laws, the sticker is not for those with a regular drivers license, which you can get at 18.
    So the tired, 20 year old Iraq vet can drive!!!!
    (But no drinking, something he should be used to since, there is not drinking in Iraq, right?)

  16. Rob, why must we always pull out the poor 20 year old Iraq vet to make a point.
    I don’t think I’ve ever pulled that one before.
    Anyhow, there are certain things that we, as a society, need to change. At 18, we assume you can make your own decisions when it comes to fighting in the desert because it’s convenient. Nobody wants their own kid to be drafted…so if someone else wants to volunteer – heck – fine with us. Let him sign up at 17 if his daddy approves.
    The same person wants to drive a car at 11:05 PM? Well now wait a minute…you’re just a child. Need a drink to unwind after dodging G.D. car bombs for the last year? Nope. Sorry kiddo. that’s reserved for brave men like me and profwilliams.

  17. Speaking as someone who has driven with the bright red failed inspection sticker, the police will have no problem spotting a red tag. It does raise issues about I would suggest a magnetized strip across the rear license plate that could be removed by any adult driver who didn’t want to be pulled over.
    And I agree with Rob, one and done. Minors guilty of any point-worthy infraction you should have their privledges suspended.

  18. Am I reading this correctly, that new NJ drivers have “provisional” licenses until they are 21? The nanny state has really extended it’s reach. Curfews for 18 year olds? What next? Police should be particularly vigilant with young drivers, and take a hard line on traffic offenses, talking on cell phones, etc., should lead to suspensions. Many rules have been tightened up since my generation first started driving, and the roads are safer as a result, but we’ve got to stop somewhere. There are just too many regulations.
    Speaking of regulations, I now have a red sticker on my windshield from failing inspection. The reason for the failure was that the car is registered to me and the insurance card has my wife’s maiden name on it, as it has for 20 years. Apparently some genius came up with another rule. Now I need to get my policy amended, new cards issued, and take more time off work to get my mechanically sound vehicle re-inspected. Idiotic.

  19. Kay,
    In order to get a learner’s permit at 16 years old in NJ. The individual has to pass a written exam and also complete 8 hours in a car with a licensed professional (driving school) before they are given their permit.
    After receiving the permit, said individual can operate a car with an adult who is over the age of 25(?) in tow.
    The learner’s permit can then be upgraded to a provisional license through a road test at the local DMV. With a passing grade, a 17 year old NJ resident now has a provisional license and can drive alone in their car without any adults. However this 17 year old will still be subjected to the various provisional license restrictions (curfew, no more then one non-family member, these red stickers, etc.)

  20. The restrictions stop when you get your full license at 18. And the red stickers are velco…to be removed when adults drive the car

  21. For the provisional license–currently only 6 (not 8) hours of professional driving instruction are needed to get that certificate–and you don’t HAVE to do that, it just helps lower your insurance. The high school offers driver’s ed as part of PE class; that’s where you can take the written test. You bring your passing score to the DMV, as well as a whole lot of paperwork (more than adults need), take the road test, and then you get your provisional license.
    So in answer to a previous question, yes, you can still teach your kid to drive and they can go to the DMV for written and road tests, or you can do some outsourcing.

  22. Thanks, King Harvest.
    so … what if a person waits until age 18 to apply for a license, does the requirement for behind-the-wheel training go away?
    Only asking because back when I got my permit at 15, it was only because the folks paid for a private driving school during summer break. (Otherwise would have had to wait til the HS class which I had heard was horrifying in general and didn’t teach the kids much of anything.) Then I drove around for a year with the folks.
    At 16 I took the road test (on *real* roads, not in the DMV parking lot!) and got my full license (and since there were no restrictions back then, my cousin and I waved goodbye to my mom as I drove us away to celebrate my 16th birthday!)
    If I had wanted to skip the driving school altogether, I could have waited til age 18, taken the written and then later the road test, and if passed received a license. No school or road time required.
    So, I’m wondering, if that’s the case here – say the kid can’t afford private driving lessons – then what? Wait til age 18, pass the parking lot obstacle course, and then look out for Mad Max of Montclair?
    Can a kid get a permit at 17 without private lessons, have the folks teach them to drive, then take the road test later?
    If so, perhaps this is perpetuating bad driving behaviors? Because bad-driving mom or dad knowingly or unknowingly passes on their bad driving habits to junior?

  23. I don’t think I was clear above–taking a professional driving course and getting the certificate for it is not necessary to get your license (although it lowers your insurance).

  24. Thanks Oliver, I was wondering that about the HS.
    I went to the DMV page and looked at the requirements and it does seem that bad drivers can indeed beget more bad drivers. No behind the wheel training is required for applicants older than 17 other than “adult supervising driver who is at least 21 years of age and who possesses a valid New Jersey driver license and has a minimum of three years driving experience”.
    And while one can hope that the road test would whittle out the ones who aren’t ready, I honestly don’t feel that the parking lot maze can really determine that.
    So this means in theory, people who have never had an official lesson in their lifetime could be teaching others to drive!
    That explains a lot!

  25. For everyone who is talking about teenagers and the way that they drive.. Remember that you were once a teenager and there is no other way to become a good driver unless you practice and have the bad drivers around you.
    The percent of accidents by age group actually shows that people between the ages of 45 and 54 make up 20% of car accidents. So before anybody talks about the teenagers realize that most of the people commenting on this are in the age group that cause 1/5th of all accidents.
    There are many more older drivers that are in rushes trying to get to work and meetings then kids who are trying to rush to school or sports.
    So just lighten up a little everybody who is saying teenagers are bad drivers are probably bad drivers themselves. 🙂

  26. “Remember that you were once a teenager..”
    the prof was NEVER a teenager.
    He arrived a fully formed, educated, opinionated son of a bitch!!

  27. The same thing happened to my husband – he “failed” the inspection because the insurance card only had my name on it and the registration card only showed his name. We’re joint owners, but only one name was printed on each card and in this case they weren’t the same name. They could have easily looked on the computer to see both our names on the registration, so wouldn’t that be enough to satisfy them that the car was indeed insured by the owner? But no, after over 2 hrs. in line, he was sent away with the red rejection sticker. He had to get a new insurance card issued with both names and go back. Ridiculus!
    On a related point – what would stop a teen from simply removing the red tag on their window if it’s velcro?

  28. My problem with this law are the unintended consequences. Not only can the police easily identify inexperienced young drivers – so can everyone else.
    During HS, my daughter worked at the Mall. I was uncomfortable already with the late nights and walk from the Mall to the car after an eight hour shift. I would have been much more uncomfortable if the car she was heading to had a sticker on it which announced that the car belonged to a young driver. I believe that it would have made her much more of a target for someone with bad intentions.
    Obviously, she could remove the sticker everytime she worked. But, there is still the issue of some one driving around looking for cars with this sticker on it. It just makes it easier for someone to prey on teenage drivers.

  29. FWIW, I’d endorse the Mass. measures in Rob’s link. It’s hard to argue with those statistics. This law while probably well intentioned sounds to me like the knee-jerk reaction of a heartbroken mom.
    When I was a kid a neighbor’s wife was killed in a traffic accident with a car driven by a teen-aged driver. His reaction: a campaign to raise the driving age to 21. Heartfelt, but dumb.
    What happens to those little tags that are 10 inches off the road during the next NJ winter? And as someone else said, what’s to prevent a kid from just removing it?

  30. It doesn’t sound too outlandish if you read the description on the official site. It is only applicable to a FIRST YEAR or Probationary driver who is between 16-20 years of age. So (and I could be misinterpreting it here), after that first year – without incident – they can remove the velcro-backed decal and stuff as many people into the car at 3 AM as they like.
    Having almost been run-down this last week by three separate cars who were either trying to sneak through a red light and/or make a right turn when they weren’t supposed to, I’m all for more penalties. And if it means more tickets and more money for municipalities, so be it!

  31. As the parent of a teenager, I think this is a stupid law. It’s just an invitation for authorities to hassle kids and for predators to find them.
    Never mind the expansion of bureaucratic activity during a time of fiscal crisis! There will now be entire offices and lines of responsibility devoted to velcroing our teens’ cars!

  32. So people really believe that a red decal will positively influence the newbie drivers, improve their skills, make the roads safer and help the long arm of the law stretch a bit more. I wonder why!

  33. I can’t believe the whining! Other countries have had this law for years, and it works! People are complaining about a tiny red sticker, while other countries have to display a 6″ x 6″ placard on the front and rear, black and yellow, with a large “P” in the middle. Thus is standard for autos and motorcycles, with the “P” standing for Probationary. Time to get your priorities in order.

  34. Yeah, so? Other countries prohibit blasphemy.
    Or, to quote Mom: If other countries all jumped off a bridge, why should you?!?

  35. I know everyone has very strong opinions about Kyleigh‚Äôs Law. It doesn’t matter witch side of the fence your own, the long and the short of it is something has to happen. The old way is not working, we are not keeping up with innovation. We may even need a graduated program, and start with a larger bumper decal. Similar to the ones provided by

  36. If you are so interested in saving lives, William Smith Esq, then why not prohibit driving for everyone under the age of 30. Think of how much safer the world would be!

  37. If other countries all jumped off a bridge, why should you?!?
    Everybody knows a country can’t jump off a bridge. There are no bridges big enough, even for a small country.

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