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New Jersey State Senate Looks to Extend Deadlines, Offer Deaf Motorist Help Under Three Proposed NJMVC-related Bills

A trio of bills aimed at changing operations at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) were advanced by lawmakers in Trenton.

A bill, (S-3330), sponsored by State Sens. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) and Patrick Diegnan (D-18) would extend MVC documentation deadlines during a state of emergency passed the Senate Transportation Committee. That committee passed another proposed law (S1882) to clarify the extension of certain identification documents for military personnel.

Meanwhile, the full Senate approved a bill requiring notation on automobile registrations for drivers with hearing impairments.

Automatically Extending Deadlines During Emergencies

Diegnan and Bucco’s bill was designed to help drivers who were facing MVC document expiration deadlines caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would provide for automatic date extensions for document renewals by MVC customers during a state of emergency declared by the governor.

“People shouldn’t have to park their cars for weeks because the MVC is backlogged and can’t keep up with the work volume,” said Bucco.

This would allow drivers to remain on the road for the duration of the pandemic. Additionally, it would remedy drivers contending with inherited vehicle registration issues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the operations of the MVC across the state,” said Diegnan in a press statement. “Many individuals have been unable to renew their licenses or register their vehicles, forcing them to drive with expired or nonexistent documents. This bill will ensure that there will be no penalties as long as a scheduled appointment is made.”

Extending Expiration Dates for Military Personnel

Sponsored by State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15), S-1882 would clarify the extension dates for the extension of driver’s license, identification card, and motor vehicle registration expiration dates for certain military personnel.

Under the law, the documents would remain valid until 90 days after the date for which active-duty service is scheduled to end or 90 days after the military member’s return to New Jersey.

“This bill will clarify these provisions, ensuring that these documents will remain valid as long as the individual is deployed,” said Sen. Turner.

Notification for the Hearing Impaired

The full State Senate approved S-1740 on Jan. 28, designed to alleviate possible confusion during traffic stops for deaf motorists. The bill would require a special disclosure on the vehicle registration for those with a hearing issue.

The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by State Sens. Steve Oroho (R-24) and Linda Greenstein (D-14).

The bill, suggested to Oroho by members of the deaf community, is intended to compensate for gaps in training that fail to prepare police academy graduates for interactions with the deaf community.

“The addition of an icon signifying a hearing impairment will be obvious and helpful,” Oroho said. “We don’t want the lack of communication to escalate tensions and possibly lead to a dangerous interaction. If a driver’s inability to follow instructions is misinterpreted, it could lead to an unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation. This bill would relieve stress for both the driver and the police.”

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