New Jersey bills focus on commercial, personal vehicle licenses

August 19, 2021

Keith Goble


Multiple bills in the New Jersey Legislature focus on vehicle license registrations, renewals, and forfeitures for truck drivers and motorists throughout the state.

One bill introduced this summer would no longer require certain individuals to visit a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agency to renew their operator’s license.

Sponsored by Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, the rule change would apply to individuals who have met federal REAL ID requirements.

The bill, S3981, would permit individuals who have undergone certain background checks to renew their licenses into REAL ID-compliant versions online or by mail. The new rule also would apply to commercial driver’s licenses.

The change would apply to motorists and truck drivers who have either a federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential issued by the Transportation Security Administration or an endorsement to transport hazardous materials with a required TSA fingerprinting and background check. Renewals could be done by mail or the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.

Oroho wrote the change is reasonable to allow individuals to renew their licenses as REAL ID versions without having to do so in person. He says the bill’s necessity is due to the lengthy wait times for in-person appointments to conduct REAL ID license transactions.

S3981 is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Vehicle and licensing services

A related bill in the Senate Transportation Committee is intended to simplify obtaining an operator’s license or a renewal.

Sponsored by Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cape May, S3718 would require the Motor Vehicle Commission to provide certain vehicle and licensing services in each of the state’s 21 counties.

Currently, vehicle services are available in 15 counties and licensing services are available in 12 counties. There are seven counties with vehicle and licensing services available.

Testa has cited the inconvenience to travel long distances for services in nearby counties for his legislative pursuit.

Suspended licenses

One more Senate bill would align the CDL suspension for operating a noncommercial vehicle while intoxicated or refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test with the forfeiture of a basic driver’s license for committing the violations while operating a motor vehicle.

New Jersey law requires a CDL to be suspended for one year if the driver commits a DWI or refuses to submit to a breathalyzer while operating a non-commercial motor vehicle.

Basic driver’s license holders who commit these offenses with their personal vehicle forfeit their basic driver’s license only until the person installs an ignition interlock device in one vehicle the person owns, leases or principally operates, whichever the person most often operates.

Sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the bill would revise the rule to require CDL holders convicted of DWI or refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test while operating a noncommercial vehicle to forfeit their basic driver’s license and CDL until an ignition interlock is installed in the vehicle they most often operate.

S3612 is in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. LL

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