NJ may stop suspending driver’s licenses for parking tickets
TRENTON – People would no longer risk having their driver’s license suspended for not paying parking tickets, although their car registrations could be if they rack up more than five or cancel more than five court appearances for such offenses, under a bill approved by the State Assembly.
The proposed change could result in savings for the nearly 100,000 people a year whose permits are suspended for unpaid parking tickets and who currently must pay $100 to have their permits reinstated.
The bill, A1376, passed 70-5 on Monday, with Aura Dunn MP, R-Morris, DiAnne Gove MP, R-Ocean, Erik Peterson MP, R-Hunterdon, Brian Rumpf MP, R-Ocean and the MP. Michael Torrissi, R-Atlantic, opposed it.
The bill is back to where it was in the legislative process in August 2020, when the Assembly passed an earlier version of the plan in a vote of 76 to 1. Dunn cast the only vote against to that that time. Gove, Peterson and Rumpf voted in favour, and Torrissi has yet to be elected.
The Senate never took up the bill in the remaining 16 months of the last legislative session, so it died and had to be reintroduced.
Legislative analysts warn that the number of unpaid parking tickets could increase if the threat of license suspension does not hang over drivers. A 1990 state law began allowing license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets, and in 2004 the number of unpaid tickets rose from 4.4 million to 400,000.
A 2019 state law eliminated the requirement for driver’s license suspensions as a penalty for various non-driving offenses, such as selling drugs or unpaid child support warrants. It is now at the discretion of the judge.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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