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Sweeney/Turner Bill Would Require Speedy Vehicle Registration By New Residents

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Stephen M. Sweeney and Shirley K. Turner that would require new residents to register their vehicles with the Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) within 60 days of becoming a New Jersey resident was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.

“We need to crack down on New Jersey residents driving cars registered in other states,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem. “Out of state, out of date license plates make it incredibly difficult for the police to track hit and run suspects and in turn make our streets less safe.”

Senator Sweeney noted that recently in Bridgeton, there have been numerous hit and run accidents in vehicles that were registered out-of-state and driven by individuals without a driver’s license. Ultimately, many of the drivers ended up being individuals who live in rental properties in the town and, therefore, are required to submit to the town the license plate of the vehicle they operate, although many do not.

“It’s far too common for New Jersey residents to have out of state license plates on their cars and trucks,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “The fines are too small and enforcement is too weak. Many new residents simply don’t feel any pressure to register their vehicles in New Jersey.”

The measure, bill S-2087, would set the penalty for failure to register a vehicle within 60 days of becoming a resident of New Jersey of a fine of not more than $250 for a first offense and not more than $500 for a second or subsequent offense.

The bill also would require that the vehicle would be impounded for no less than 96 hours on the third or subsequent violations and released to the owner only upon proof of registration and that all fines have been satisfied. The fines and registration would need to be paid within 30 days of the vehicle being impounded or the vehicle would be sold at auction.

The measure passed the committee by a vote of 5-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their approval.