Measure Provides Drivers Who Passed Their Road Tests with a Two-Month Grace Period to Drive
Long lines remain the norm at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission facilities across the state, and the Senate today endorsed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco to help alleviate the logjam.
To help alleviate long lines and backlogs at MVC facilities, Senator Bucco’s bill would allow new drivers who passed their road tests to drive for 60 days while they are waiting to get their probationary drivers’ license. (SenateNJ.com)
Due to the backlog at MVC facilities, Bucco’s bill, A-4442/S-2755, would allow new drivers who passed their road tests to drive for 60 days while they are waiting to get their probationary drivers’ license.
The measure is part of an extensive package of Bucco-sponsored legislation to accommodate motorists who have been frustrated by extensive delays at MVC facilities as a result of increased demand caused by the pandemic.
“We can shorten the lines for motorists who need to conduct business in person and lighten the workload for commission employees by postponing one interaction with Motor Vehicles for every new driver,” said Bucco (R-25). “The delays and congestion at MVC are inexcusable, and it is clear the commission needs some help and guidance from the Legislature. This is one of many simple tweaks that can help New Jersey residents get the services they need without forcing them to spend hours and days waiting in line.”
Bucco has been advocating for better treatment and service for New Jersey motorists since early in the pandemic.
When MVC shut its doors after Governor Murphy declared the coronavirus state of emergency, Bucco anticipated future problems for drivers as a tremendous backlog of paperwork, transactions and license-testing developed.
On May 7, the Senator wrote to NJMVC’s chief administrator, B. Susan Fulton.
“I suggest that you consider alternate ways to complete some of these services remotely in the interim. Perhaps you can consider what other states are doing in this area,” Bucco wrote. “Procedures such as on-line title transfers and issuing temporary licenses to new drivers under a protocol you develop to help lessen the anticipated overwhelming need when the agencies reopen. In an effort to lessen the anxiety of my constituents, I would respectfully request an overview of your plan for reopening.”
He later called for MVC to increase staffing in preparation for its post-lockdown re-opening, and Bucco sent another plea to Fulton on May 19. He never received a response.
“Long before coronavirus became an issue, the operations at these agencies were dysfunctional,” said Bucco. “Every day, MVC facilities demonstrate the failings of government bureaucracy. It’s time for the Legislature to address these chronic problems.”
Bucco joined Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick on July 9, offering a series of concrete solutions that the Governor could implement immediately to help remedy the chaos at MVC, including:
- open agencies seven days a week for 12 hours each day;
- serve people based on the first letter of their last name or some other distinction on different days;
- allow for permits to be issued online for those who have completed driver education courses;
- allow for those who are seeking a probationary license to continue driving temporarily with their permit;
- allow for those seeking to convert a probationary license to a basic driver’s license to do so online.
Bucco recently introduced three other measures designed to shorten lines and ease the stress on New Jersey drivers.
- S-2762 requires the state to reimburse municipalities for police costs related to crowding at motor vehicle sites and appropriates $500 million from New Jersey’s pot of federal CARES Act funding. The need for police at facilities to control long lines and ensure traffic safety has resulted in skyrocketing costs for municipalities.
- S-2756 reduces lines at MVC by allowing licensed motor vehicle dealers to process titles and registrations for used vehicles purchased through private sales.
- S-2757 also addresses the demand for MVC services, permitting qualifying driving schools to conduct road tests for licenses.
“New Jersey motorists deserve better treatment than they are getting from the Motor Vehicles bureaucracy,” said Bucco. “Common sense and adaptability will help mitigate what remains an untenable situation at MVC facilities across the state.”
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