For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2008
Recommendations accepted; bill voted out of committee and to full Senate
“As a retired high school principal with more than 30 years in the educational profession and a founding member of the Monmouth County Traumatic Loss Coalition, I have attended too many funerals of young people killed in car accidents,” McMorrow said in testimony before the Senate Transportation Committee on June 9. “If we save only one life, it is worth the effort.”
Committee members accepted the recommendations and voted the amended bill out of committee. It now moves to the full Senate and Assembly for floor votes.
In her testimony, McMorrow asked the senators to move forward on three specific amendments to the state’s existing Graduated Drivers’ License Law (GDL).
- Return the use of the word “probationary” driver when referring to a driver on a restricted license instead of the word “provisional.”
- Limit the number of passengers a probationary driver may transport to just one, regardless of his or her relationship to the teen driver.
- Provide one curfew for both permit and probationary drivers under the GDL.
“While the recommendation to change the wording may seem inconsequential when it comes to reducing crashes and saving lives, the Commission believes that it will send a strong message to teens because of the word’s connotation,” McMorrow said. “Driving is a privilege that can be suspended when a license holder fails to drive in a safe, responsible and law-abiding manner.”
McMorrow told committee members that there is excellent research to support the limiting of passengers in a vehicle driver by a probationary driver. “A teen driver is 158 percent more likely to be killed in a crash while carrying two passengers; the risk increases to 207 percent when there are three passengers in a teen driver’s car. The increased risk is often the result of a distraction and others in the car encouraging the teen driver to take risks.”
McMorrow said her passion for enacting this legislation transcends politics, as it surely does for state legislators.