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Senate Approves Consumer Protection Bills

Trenton – Today the Senate approved two bills that would increase consumer protections for New Jersey drivers.


The first bill, S-906, sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan, would allow residents to designate a beneficiary in the form of a “transfer on death” (TOD) title in the event that they pass away.


“Currently, the process of trying to inherit a car after a family member’s passing is arduous and costly without a will,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Less than half of adults living in the United States currently have a will, but for many families, especially those that are low-income, a motor vehicle is one of the major assets the family may have. With this bill, we will be able to offer New Jersey drivers a quicker, easier and cost-efficient way to transfer a vehicle without probate court approval.”


Under the bill, the transfer would be subject to the rights of all lien holders, whether created before, simultaneously with, or after the creation of the TOD interest. A trust is eligible to be a beneficiary of a TOD title.


The second bill, S-646, sponsored by Senator Gordon Johnson and Senator Declan O’Scanlon, would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to check the E-ZPass database prior to issuing an E-ZPass violation.


“Currently, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority are not required by law to check whether a vehicle owner has a valid E-ZPass account before issuing a notice of violation,” said Senator Johnson (D-Bergen). “While the New Jersey Turnpike Authority claims to have its contractors check for a valid account prior to issuing a fine, many E-ZPass customers still claim that they are charged violation fees. By requiring both entities to check before issuing a fine, residents will no longer be charged unnecessary fees and will not have to deal with the inconvenience of contesting those fees.”


As long as the account holder has up-to-date and accurate account information, they will not be liable for a violation that was incurred and would instead only pay the toll amount.


The bills were both released from the Senate by a vote of 34-0.