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Senate Approves Adler Bill to Regulate ‘Smart Cars’

TRENTON – The Senate approved legislation today sponsored by Senator John H. Adler that would govern the use of electric “smart cars” on New Jersey streets.

“As gas prices continue to be a concern, many people are looking to buy and drive more energy efficient vehicles,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. “Low-speed electric vehicles, or “smart cars”, are quickly becoming a popular choice for these people.”

Senator Adler’s bill, S-1834, creates the designation of a “low-speed vehicle” and sets forth standards and regulations to govern them. A “low-speed vehicle” (LSV) would refer to any four-wheeled motor vehicle with a maximum speed of between 20 and 25 miles per hour and which is not powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. The LSV must also meet federal safety standards, which include head, tail and stop lamps, brakes, side and rear view mirrors, a windshield and seat belts. Additionally, the State would require they have a speedometer, odometer, a vehicle identification number and a decal reading “25 MPH Vehicle” on the rear of the vehicle.

“‘Smart cars’ cause less pollution and less congestion than regular cars. It’s time for New Jersey to join 32 other states in allowing their use on our roads,” added Senator Adler, prime sponsor of 2004’s “Clean Cars Act”, which has worked to reduce auto emissions and improve New Jersey air quality.

The bill would also provide that LSVs be permitted to drive on all roads where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less. Additionally, the bill allows State, municipal and county governments to designate roads under their jurisdiction with speed limits between 25 and 35 miles per hour as roads where the use of LSV is permissible.

“Smart cars are a great fit for New Jersey – whether for running errands locally or getting around town while vacationing at the Shore,” said Senator Adler. “This is the future of personal transportation and New Jersey can’t get left behind.”

Under the bill, an LSV would need to be registered and insured and the driver would need to possess a valid driver’s license, registration card, and insurance card while operating the LSV. The LSV would also have to display a license plate issued by the MVC or by another state.

The bill was approved by a vote of 37-0. It will be considered by the Assembly next Monday.

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