Two’s company, three’s a crowd for new drivers

In+2001%2C+New+Jersey+state+legislature+introduced+the+GDL%2C+or+Graduated+Driver+License%2C+for+the+first+time.+In+conjunction+with+other+restrictions%2C+the+GDL+is+responsible+for+the+one-passenger+limit+placed+upon+drivers+during+their+first+year+behind+the+wheel.%0A%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fcreativecommons.org%2Flicenses%2Fby%2F2.0%2F
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Two’s company, three’s a crowd for new drivers

In 2001, New Jersey state legislature introduced the GDL, or Graduated Driver License, for the first time. In conjunction with other restrictions, the GDL is responsible for the one-passenger limit placed upon drivers during their first year behind the wheel.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In 2001, New Jersey state legislature introduced the GDL, or Graduated Driver License, for the first time. In conjunction with other restrictions, the GDL is responsible for the one-passenger limit placed upon drivers during their first year behind the wheel. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Creative commons photo courtesy of StateFarm

In 2001, New Jersey state legislature introduced the GDL, or Graduated Driver License, for the first time. In conjunction with other restrictions, the GDL is responsible for the one-passenger limit placed upon drivers during their first year behind the wheel. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Creative commons photo courtesy of StateFarm

Creative commons photo courtesy of StateFarm

In 2001, New Jersey state legislature introduced the GDL, or Graduated Driver License, for the first time. In conjunction with other restrictions, the GDL is responsible for the one-passenger limit placed upon drivers during their first year behind the wheel. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Zoe Conner-Bennett

When Officer Alisa Antunez from the Ocean Township Police Department was a teenager in 2001, New Jersey state legislature introduced the GDL, or Graduated Driver License, for the first time. In conjunction with other restrictions, the GDL is responsible for the one-passenger limit placed upon drivers during their first year behind the wheel.

“I can tell you, I was so annoyed,” Antunez said. “I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t drive past a certain time or with as many people as I wanted.” 

Eighteen years later, students from CHS still experience the same frustrations that Antunez did when she was a young driver.

Junior Colin Martin of Middletown said he agrees that most teenagers find this law difficult to follow. 

“People are not regularly following this law because it’s convenient when you’re in high school to drive with multiple friends,” Martin said. “The restrictions are a little bit annoying, in general.”

However, Martin said that he does try to abide by the restrictions as best as he can and understands why the law is necessary.  

“When you first get your driver’s license, you don’t know how to drive as well, you’re earlier in the process and you haven’t been doing it for very long.”  All of these factors, Martin said, make it much easier for a driver to get distracted.

Martin’s mother, Betsy Martin, said she cannot stress the importance of concentrated driving enough because an inattentive driver can lead to serious repercussions. 

“It needs to be understood that getting behind the wheel of a two-ton car going at high speed is no joke,” she said. “Underage drivers should make themselves aware of the consequences of breaking this law and make their decision [of whether or not to violate it] accordingly.”

Some students take this law even more seriously, such as senior Connor Martin of Spring Lake Heights, who said he “bought a car that only had two seats to begin with so that whenever everybody and their brother asked me for a ride I could just be like, ‘No, I only have two seats.’”

Other students, though, do not see any purpose to the one-passenger restriction. Junior Jill Fukushima of Eatontown said she does not believe the law is necessary because one additional passenger in the car can be just as distracting as multiple.

Junior Jillian Tracy of Belmar said she strongly disagrees with the previous statement.  

While she calls the one-passenger restriction unrealistic, she does think drivers and passengers can be in danger if it is ignored.

“There’s a drastic difference in the car when it’s you and one passenger versus a car full of people,” Tracy said. “It’s a lot more noise, especially if it’s your friends; they’re going to be excited, they’re going to be having fun, and that’s distracting.”

Since spending 11 years with Ocean Police and five years with the Traffic Bureau, Officer Antunez’s opinion on the GDL restriction has changed substantially since her teenage years. 

“As I have witnessed…many teens die or get seriously injured in crashes, I see the benefit to this law,” Antunez said. “Teen drivers in general are more likely to crash than other drivers due to inexperience. Add the extra distractions and it’s a recipe for disaster.”

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