E-driver's licenses one step closer to reality in New Jersey

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/13/2016

A bill headed to the New Jersey governor’s desk could soon result in the state making available electronic driver’s licenses.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve a bill to require the state to study the feasibility of e-driver’s licenses. Assembly lawmakers voted earlier in the day to endorse the measure by unanimous consent.

The bill, S2695, would mandate the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission to prepare and submit to Gov. Chris Christie and to the Legislature a report on the feasibility of the licenses.

If signed into law, the state would join two others in taking steps to make the e-licenses available. Iowa has implemented an e-driver’s license pilot test, and Delaware is pursuing implementation of e-licenses.

New Jersey Assemblyman Dan Benson, R-Mercer/Middlesex, said the change makes sense given the commonality of technology in peoples everyday lives.

“It’s only a matter of time before we move toward electronic licenses, so let’s get started to see how we can best accomplish this goal for the benefit of our drivers,” Benson said in prepared remarks.

A 2015 New Jersey law allows use of electronic proof of insurance on smartphones, tablets and other similar devices.

Benson’s bill specifies that the report include an assessment of the means of issuing electronic licenses through a mobile app, and the accessibility of the app by drivers.

In addition, the report would make recommendations about the development and publication of an app for the issuance and use of e-licenses.

Recommendations would provide information for fiscal implications that include the cost, savings and efficiencies of creating e-licenses; keeping personal identifying information secure; and whether drivers should be charged for e-licenses or the use of an app.

“It’s time we laid the groundwork for exploring making this technology a reality,” Benson said.

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

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