TRENTON – Drivers who secure auto insurance could see driver’s license suspensions reduced by up to 10 months under a measure sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner and approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.
“The current system perpetuates a downward spiral that makes it difficult for those caught without insurance to ever comply with the law and get that insurance,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “These individuals lose their license, then lose their jobs and any ability to pay for insurance. It’s a counter-productive system that needs an injection of common sense.”
Senator Turner continued, “It’s becoming increasingly common for employers to require their workers to have valid driver’s licenses, even if the job doesn’t require operating a motor vehicle. We’re putting these drivers in a no-win situation that provides no incentives to get coverage and follow the law.”
The Senator’s bill, S-1346, would change the length of the mandatory suspension of a driver’s license for operating a motor vehicle without insurance from one year to not less than two months nor more than one year if the owner or registrant acquires insurance coverage prior to the date of conviction.
“We need to make sure that every driver out on our roads is adhering to all of New Jersey’s traffic laws, especially when it comes to automobile insurance,” added Senator Turner. “Those who refuse to get insured should be kept off of our streets, but at the same time, there need to be incentives that encourage uninsured drivers to do the right thing and get covered as soon as possible.”
For instances when no insurance coverage has been acquired, the length of the suspension would remain at one year. Additionally, the bill does not revise the length of the suspension, currently two years, for subsequent convictions.
Senator Turner added, “The difference between being suspended for two months and one year is huge and would compel many uninsured drivers to purchase insurance before stepping into a traffic court. While there should be some sort of punishment in place for driving without insurance, those people who take the steps to remedy the situation should receive leniency.”
Senator Turner noted that this measure is part of a package of bills that look to implement the recommendations of the Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force.
The bill would take affect on the first day of the sixth month following enactment.
The bill was approved by a vote of 3-1 and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.