A New Jersey Senate panel has approved a legislative package
that would make it easier for certain drivers with suspended licenses to keep
their driving privileges. One of the bills would help truckers stay on the
The Senate Transportation Committee endorsed six bills
sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, that stem from a report issued in
February that said suspending licenses creates unintended consequences, such as
job loss and difficulty in finding employment, the Asbury Park Press
"In New Jersey, driving is a necessity, not a luxury. For
many . the loss of their driver's license can equate with the loss of their job
and their ability to support their families," Turner said in a written
As part of the legislative package, a pair of bills would
reduce the severity of license suspensions for certain people.
One bill - S2326 - would give judges or the Motor Vehicle
Commission the option to suspend a driver's personal vehicle's registration
rather than the driver's license. The provision would allow such people as
employees of construction services and people with jobs that require a valid
driver's license to continue to work but only drive vehicles registered by
"For those individuals whose livelihood comes from sitting
behind the wheel of a company-owned car or truck, this is a crucial change. It
penalizes the driver by taking away personal driving privileges but still
allows them to go about their daily work," Turner explained.
The second bill - S2328 - would lower the mandatory
suspension of driving without liability insurance. The current one-year
mandatory suspension would be reduced to two to 12 months. It also would allow
the court to take into consideration whether the owner acquired liability
insurance coverage prior to conviction.
Two more bills - S2331 and S2332 - would allow the courts
and the commission to create a payment plan to pay off fines and replace small
fines with community service work.
The bills now head to the full Senate. If approved, they
would move to the Assembly for further consideration.