Driving rights laws take effect July 1 in New Jersey

| 6/23/2008

A legislative package in New Jersey intended to make it easier for drivers with suspended licenses to keep their driving privileges takes effect Tuesday, July 1. One new law helps truckers stay on the road.

The legislation stems from a report issued more than a year ago that said suspending licenses creates unintended consequences, such as job loss and difficulty in finding employment, the Asbury Park Press reported.

“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,” Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, said in a written statement.

As part of the legislative package, one bill reduces the severity of license suspensions for certain people. It gives judges or the Motor Vehicle Commission the option to suspend a vehicle registration rather than the driver’s license. The provision allows 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 their employers.

“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 package also allows the courts and the commission to create a payment plan to pay off fines and replace small fines with community service.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor