By Bob Katzen
The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would require two copies of a highly-reflective decal or other symbol to be clearly visible to law enforcement officers on the window of any vehicle being operated by a driver with a learner’s permit or a junior operator’s license. The size, fee and other details would be determined by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. A violation of the requirement would result in a fine of up to $50.
“A few years ago, a constituent approached me regarding a proposal for an automotive decal which would indicate that the driver of a vehicle is the holder of a learner’s permit,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere), co-sponsor of the bill. “He came up with the idea when his son was learning to drive. Other drivers would constantly beep, and were very impatient with him, which caused the young motorist to become nervous and mishandle the car. My constituent felt that if there was an official sticker from the Registry of Motor Vehicles identifying a new driver, others on the road may be more considerate.”
“With so many drivers on our roads today, hopefully having a decal that would alert people to student drivers will alleviate road rage, and maybe even save a life,” echoed co-sponsor Rep. Donald Wong (D-Saugus).
Some opponents say the bill is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. They note that families with more than one car would have to get two decals for each car and note that if a permanent decal is used, experienced drivers would often be driving the car with the decal and be mistaken for a novice behind the wheel. They argue that some motorists might pass student drivers illegally on a double yellow line to avoid being stuck behind someone learning to drive.