New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Bipartisan Bill Requiring Notation on Automobile Registration Indicating Driver’s Hearing Impairment Advances

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Oroho/Greenstein Measure Would Help Improve Communication During a Car Stop or Emergency

Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Linda Greenstein to help eliminate possible confusion and tension when a deaf motorist is pulled over by police for a traffic violation was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Oroho and Sen. Linda Greenstein would require a notation on a vehicle’s registration certificate indicating the registrant is deaf to help eliminate confusion and tension during an interaction with the police. (Flickr)

“If a driver with a hearing issue has difficulty conversing with law enforcement, it can lead to a situation that is unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” said Oroho (R-24). “The last thing we want is the lack of communication to cause an escalation of tensions. We want to relieve stress for both the driver and the police, and this bill will accomplish that intention.”

Under the legislation (S-1740), the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to place a notation on a vehicle’s registration certificate indicating the registrant is deaf. Applicants would be issued a special registration certificate with their preference of either the international symbol for deafness or a numerical code designating deafness.

“Ensuring law enforcement officers are aware that they have pulled over someone who is deaf is very important. This will enable effective communication while hopefully avoiding any potential misunderstandings,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex).

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 noted. “This is a reasonable accommodation that will result in increased safety for motorists and officers.”

The bill cleared the Senate Transportation Committee in October.

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