The state supreme court upheld Kyleigh’s Law Monday, but that may not be the final word. The controversial law requires teenage drivers to display a red decal on the license plates of the vehicles they drive. The parent who challenged the law said he’ll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. Some lawmakers say this effort to restrict teenage drivers and to protect their passengers is flawed. One of the those lawmakers is Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-12). Beck told Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the law puts children in harm’s way.
“The general public can then identify that there’s a young person in the car and that could mean that you have people that have bad intent going after their children.”
Parents have come into her office with their fears, says Beck. She predicts the fear will lead to a lack of compliance with the law.
To get around the court ruling through legislation, Beck says she and Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16) have a bill that would suspend the red decal and call on the Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) to come up with an alternative way for law enforcement to identify young drivers that is not visible to the general public. She says the bill addresses the objective of law enforcement and the concerns by parents.
Beck: “We do know that indeed teenage drivers are way more likely to get into accidents. We know that 50 percent of those happen in the night and so it’s important that police can enforce those … I mean, it’s very difficult for them to enforce the curfew portion of the graduated driver’s license. But by the same token, I think the fear that parents have is real and that we need to respect that.”
Although she is not a technology expert, Beck is confident that an alternative to a red decal exists.
“We know that right now that when you’re walking through the streets of New York that you have the ability through a wireless communication to take people’s credit card information. “So to me, there has to be some type of technology out there.”
Although she has not raised the issue with the governor’s office, Beck says she has reached out to MVC in the past about the two-year old bill.
“You know they obviously would prefer not to go back and revisit the work that they’ve already done to implement the red decal. But really for many parents this is a scarlet letter on their children and they are not complying. I mean it’s civil disobedience at its best so we need to come up with a better way. The red decal simply isn’t going to work.”