Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500,

www.njlaws.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MOTOR VEHICLES AFFORDABILITY AND FAIRNESS TASK FORCE FINAL REPORT

MOTOR VEHICLES AFFORDABILITY AND FAIRNESS TASK FORCE FINAL REPORT

http://www.nj.gov/mvc/PressReleases/archives/2006/reportAFTF.pdf

February 2006
Presented to
Governor Jon S. Corzine
and
The New Jersey State Legislature
Prepared by:
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
33 Livingston Avenue – Suite 500
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
and
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ 08666
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary..................................................................................................................................vii
Section 1: Report Outline and Background................................................................................................1
Report Outline ...............................................................................................................................1
Background ..................................................................................................................................1
Task Force Mission and Charge....................................................................................................2
Task Force Organization ...............................................................................................................3
Public Outreach............................................................................................................................3
Section 2: Driver’s License Suspension in New Jersey .............................................................................5
Overview of New Jersey Suspension Statistics .............................................................................5
Characteristics of Suspended Drivers in New Jersey ....................................................................6
Age and Gender Profile of Suspended Drivers..............................................................................7
Incidence of Multiple Suspensions and Suspended Drivers with Points........................................8
Geographic Profile of Suspended Drivers in New Jersey ..............................................................9
Reasons for Suspension..............................................................................................................11
New Jersey Point System .....................................................................................................13
Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol .................................................17
Driving while suspended or revoked .....................................................................................18
Insurance Surcharge Program..............................................................................................20
Parking Offenses Adjudication Act........................................................................................24
Failure to comply with a child support order..........................................................................27
Failure to maintain insurance ................................................................................................29
Comprehensive Drug Reform Act .........................................................................................31
Failure to appear in court ......................................................................................................32
Failure to comply with a court ordered installment plan ........................................................35
Section 3: The Impacts of Driver’s License Suspension ..........................................................................37
Suspended driver survey.............................................................................................................37
Public testimony and comments ..................................................................................................40
Section 4: Restricted-use Driver’s License Programs..............................................................................43
Section 5: Detailed Recommendations....................................................................................................48
Section 6: A Framework for Implementation............................................................................................56
References ..............................................................................................................................................60
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report iii
Appendices:
Appendix A: Task Force authorizing legislation
Appendix B: Task Force rules and procedures
Appendix C: Task Force membership and subcommittee rosters
Appendix D: POAA notification process and court notices
Appendix E: Summary of public comments
Appendix F: Schedule of DUI-related fines, fees and penalties
NOTE: The appendices are available upon request in hard copy only as a separate volume.
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Number of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC annually .................................................... 6
Table 2: Number of suspended drivers by gender and age group (May 2004)............................................. 7
Table 3: Suspension rates in other states..................................................................................................... 8
Table 4: Incidence of multiple suspensions among suspended drivers (May 2004) .................................... 9
Table 5: Point accumulation by suspended drivers (May 2004) ................................................................... 9
Table 6: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by area type and income class (May 2004) ............................ 10
Table 7: Distribution of suspended drivers by area type and income class (May 2004) ............................ 10
Table 8: Suspension rates by area type and income class (May 2004) ..................................................... 11
Table 9: Average number of suspensions ordered/confirmed by MVC annually – Top twelve “reasons” .. 12
Table 10: New Jersey Point Schedule........................................................................................................ 15
Table 11: Suspension rates by area type and income – Point accumulation and other driving-related
reasons, excluding DUI (May 2004) ............................................................................................... 16
Table 12: Suspension rates by area type and income – Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of
alcohol or drugs (DUI) (May 2004) ................................................................................................ 18
Table 13: Suspension rates by area type and income – Driving while suspended or revoked (May 2004) 19
Table 14: Schedule of fines and penalties for driving while suspended/revoked ........................................ 20
Table 15: Offenses subject to insurance surcharge.................................................................................... 21
Table 16: Number of drivers with outstanding surcharge balances (September 2005) .............................. 22
Table 17: Surcharge amounts billed in 2004 .............................................................................................. 22
Table 18: Average surcharge collection rates............................................................................................. 23
Table 19: Suspension rates by area type and income – Non payment of MVC insurance surcharges (May
2004) ............................................................................................................................................ 24
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report iv
Table 20: Suspension rates by area type and income – Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA) (May
2004) ............................................................................................................................................ 27
Table 21: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a child support order (May
2004) ............................................................................................................................................. 28
Table 22: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to maintain proper insurance (May 2004) 30
Table 23: Suspension rates by area type and income – Drug offenses under the Comprehensive Drug
Reform Act (May 2004) .................................................................................................................. 31
Table 24: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to answer a summons for
a motor vehicle moving violation (May 2004) ................................................................................. 33
Table 25: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to answer a summons
issued for other non-driving reasons, excluding POAA (May 2004)................................................ 34
Table 26: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a court ordered installment
payment plan (May 2004) .............................................................................................................. 36
Table 27: Economic impacts of license suspension across income groups................................................ 38
Table 28: Economic impacts of license suspension across age groups ..................................................... 39
Table 29: Summary of restricted use license programs.............................................................................. 46
Table 30: Potential leadership and supporting partners.............................................................................. 57
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure ES1: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by population density ......................................................... x
Figure ES2: Distribution of suspended drivers by population density (May 2004) ........................................ x
Figure ES3: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by income class ..................................................................xi
Figure ES4: Distribution of suspended drivers by income class (May 2004) ................................................xi
Figure 1: Ten year history of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC .................................................... 6
Figure 2: Parking tickets pending over 60 days .......................................................................................... 25
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report v
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Task Force Members
The following individuals were appointed and/or designated to serve as members or
alternates on the Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force:
*Jean M. Bickal, Assistant Commissioner, NJ Department of Banking & Insurance
(serving for Director of the Division of Insurance in the NJ Department of Banking
and Insurance)
Lanuel J. Ferguson, Major, New Jersey State Police
*Judith Formalarie, New Jersey State Employment & Training Commission (serving
for Chairperson of the State Employment and Training Commission)
Sharon A. Harrington, Chair and Chief Administrator, NJ Motor Vehicle
Commission
Richard F. Liebler, Hillside Auto Mall
Pam Maiolo, Public Affairs Manager, American Automobile Association
William Margaretta, President, NJ State Safety Council
*Violet Marrero, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Honorable Joan Quigley, NJ State Assembly (D-32)
Roberto Rodriguez, Director, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety
*Ivette Santiago-Green, Deputy Director, Civil Rights and Affirmative Action NJ
Department of Transportation (serving for Commissioner of NJ Department of
Transportation)
Robert L. Simmons, Counsel, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company
Robert W. Smith, Assistant Director, Municipal Court Services, NJ Administrative
Office of the Courts (serving in an advisory capacity only)
Robert G. St. John, Jevic Transportation, Inc.
Teresa M. Thomas, South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance
Honorable José Torres, Mayor, City of Paterson
Honorable Shirley Turner, NJ State Senate (D-15)
Kenneth Zimmerman, Executive Director, NJ Institute for Social Justice
* indicates alternate member or designee
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report vi
The members of the Task Force would like to thank Jon Carnegie, Assistant Director of
the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey, and Secretary to the Task Force and Andrea Lubin, Project Manager at the
Voorhees Transportation Center who provided insightful research and skillful
administrative support throughout the Task Force’s tenure.
In addition, the Task Force would like to thank the following subject matter experts,
invited guests and administrative support staff without whose help the work of the Task
Force could not have been completed:
NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:
Donald Borowski
Kim Borowski
Mick Byers
Melissa Demko
Wayne Dirlam
Jack Donnelly
Carol Hollows
Lee Jackson
Debra Knipe
Howard Pollak
Diane Rothman
Shawn Sheekey
David Weinstein
NJ Administrative Office of the Courts:
Dan Phillips
John Podeszwa
Others:
Nancy Fishman, NJ Institute for Social Justice
Deborah Kole, NJ League of Municipalities
Sgt. Lazzaro Mazza , Paterson Police Department
Stephen Monson, NJ Deputy Attorney General
Adara Porter, Senator Shirley Turner’s Office
Finally, the Task Force would also like to thank the members of the public who took the
time to provide testimony and/or written comments to the Task Force and those
individuals who participated in roundtable discussions and interviews conducted by the
Motor Vehicle Commission and the Voorhees Transportation Center on behalf of the
Task Force.
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report vii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Background and Introduction
The Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force was created by New Jersey
statute, N.J.S.A. 39:2A-30 (L.2003,c.13,s.30). The charge of the Task Force as defined
by that statute is as follows:
…to study the impact of the current point system and non-driving related
suspension of driving privileges, in particular, the Merit Rating Plan
Surcharges, on the driving public and make recommendations for the
reform of the surcharge suspension program to increase motorist safety.
In addition, the task force shall examine ‘The Parking Offenses
Adjudication Act,’ P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.2 et seq.) and municipal
court processes related thereto, as well as court actions on surcharge
assessments and license suspensions related to nonpayment of fines or
tickets as well as motor vehicle moving violations.
The Task Force convened for the first time on February 25, 2005. At that first meeting,
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chief Administrator Sharon Harrington
was named chair of the Task Force and Jon Carnegie, assistant director of the Alan M.
Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University was named Task Force
secretary. In addition, three Task Force subcommittees were formed as follows:
?? Subcommittee 1: Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA) and other nondriving
related offenses
?? Subcommittee 2: Point system & other driving related offenses
?? Subcommittee 3: Insurance Surcharge Program
Including its first meeting, the full Task Force met four times during 2005/2006. In
addition, each of the Task Force subcommittees met four times to examine and discuss
the specific topics under their purview.
The Task Force understands that driving and registering a vehicle in New Jersey is a
privilege and that every citizen has a duty to abide by the laws of the State. Similarly,
the Task Force recognizes the important public safety purpose served by suspending
the driving privileges of those that fail to live up to their obligation to drive safely.
However, after a year of investigation, the Task Force has concluded that the current
system of license suspension in New Jersey, as it has grown and evolved over the
years, has de-emphasized motorist safety as the primary reason for suspension.
Instead, the system results in license suspensions, most frequently, for reasons
unrelated to promoting highway safety. Further, the Task Force finds that license
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report viii
suspensions often have serious, albeit unintended, consequences especially for low
income drivers. These consequences include loss of employment and/or income;
higher insurance premiums; as well as a variety of psychological and social impacts.
As detailed in this report, the Task Force finds that key elements of the current system
need reform. Specifically:
?? The courts and MVC need to be given more flexibility and greater discretion to
address the unique circumstances of each case, especially for suspensions
resulting from financial reasons.
?? There is a need for greater public education regarding license suspension laws
and the potential direct and indirect consequences of license suspension.
?? License suspension notification procedures and documents need to be improved
to ensure notifications are received and to communicate better the importance of
addressing suspension issues; and
?? Social service agencies and employment counselors need to be educated
regarding the license restoration process and resources available to help their
clients regain driving privileges.
In addition, there was substantial discussion at Task Force meetings that let to a
recommendation that the State consider creating a restricted-use license program to
help those drivers who, for financial reasons, are unable to pay court-ordered
installment plans, child support orders, and MVC insurance surcharges in order to gain
their full driving privileges back.
Driver’s License Suspension in New Jersey
New Jersey has approximately six million licensed drivers. The vast majority of these
drivers remain violation and suspension free throughout their driving years. Only a
small percentage of drivers (five percent) have their driving privileges suspended
or revoked at any given time. Forty three percent of New Jersey drivers reside in
urban areas, while 38 percent live in suburban areas and 19 percent live in rural parts of
the State (see figure ES2). Most New Jersey drivers live in middle income areas. Only
about 17 percent of all licensed drivers in the State live in lower income zip codes and
12 percent live in high income areas (see figure ES3).
Contrary to the legislative declaration that accompanied the Task Force
legislation, it does not appear that there has been an upward trend in the number
of license suspensions being ordered or confirmed by the MVC. An analysis of
time series data indicates that over the past ten years the number of suspensions has
fluctuated but has remained relatively constant at approximately 800,000 +/- per year.
This figure represents the total of individual suspension actions taken, NOT the number
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report ix
of drivers subject to those actions. For example, it is common for an individual driver to
have several active suspension orders on his/her record at a given time. So, the number
of suspended drivers at any given time is far less than the number of suspensions
ordered or confirmed each year.
Driver’s license suspension was originally conceived as a sanction used to punish “bad
drivers.” The logical nexus between driving behavior and sanction was clear. However,
today in New Jersey, most license suspensions are not imposed to punish habitual bad
driving. The reasons for driver’s license suspension are diverse, complex and
sometimes interrelated. Reasons include those that are clearly driving related (e.g.,
DUI, point accumulation, reckless driving, and driving while suspended); those that are
clearly not driving related (e.g., compliance reasons such as failure to pay child
support or failure to appear in court for a non-driving offense and suspensions imposed
for drug-related offenses not involving the operation of a motor vehicle); and those that
are for compliance reasons indirectly related to driving behavior or motor vehicle
use. These include: failing to appear in court to pay/satisfy a parking ticket or moving
violation; failing to maintain proper auto insurance; and failing to pay MVC insurance
surcharges that stem from a driving related infraction.
Most suspended drivers (64 percent) have more than one active suspension.
Less than six percent of all suspended drivers are suspended for purely drivingrelated
reasons. The vast majority of drivers are suspended not for habitual “bad
driving,” but for a variety of compliance reasons stemming from one or more
motor vehicle infraction, parking tickets, or failing to maintain proper insurance.
Only a small percentage of drivers, less than five percent, are suspended for
purely non-driving, non-motor vehicle related reasons. It is noteworthy that most
suspended drivers (59 percent) have zero motor vehicle violation points. However, it
should also be noted that some serious driving offenses, such as DUI and driving while
suspended do not result in the assessment of motor vehicle points. Instead, in most
cases, these violations carry substantial fines and mandatory suspension periods.
A detailed analysis of suspension statistics and survey data specific to New Jersey
indicates that suspended drivers tend to be younger male drivers. Furthermore, a
disproportionate number of suspended drivers reside in urban and low-income
areas when compared to the distribution of all New Jersey licensed drivers. Although
only 43 percent of New Jersey licensed drivers reside in urban areas (see figure ES1),
63 percent of suspended drivers live there (see figure ES2). At the same time only 16.5
percent of New Jersey licensed drivers reside in lower income zip codes (see figure
ES3), while 43 percent of all suspended drivers live there (see figure ES4).
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report x
43%
38%
19%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
Urban Suburban Rural
Figure ES1 – Distribution of New Jersey licensed drivers by population density
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census - Urban = >800 persons/sq. mi;
Suburban = 200-800 persons/sq. mi; Rural = < 200 persons/sq. mi.
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
All Reasons
FTA - Parking
FTA - Moving violation
Drug Offenses - CDRA
Uninsured motorist
Nonpay child support
Driving while suspended
Nonpay Ins surcharges
Nonpay court pay plan
FTA - Nondriving
Points
DUI
Urban Suburban Rural
Figure ES2 – Distribution of suspended drivers by population density (May 2004)
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: FTA - Failure to Appear in a court of law; Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have
had their driving privileges withdrawn at least one time for the stated reason; Density calculation based on zip code
data from 2000 US Census - Urban = >800 persons/sq. mi; Suburban = 200-800 persons/sq. mi; Rural = < 200
persons/sq. mi.
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xi
17%
71%
12%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Lower Income Middle Income High Income
Figure ES3 – Distribution of New Jersey licensed drivers by income class
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census – Lower income areas defined as
having an average annual household income less than $40,000, middle income areas have an average household
income between $40,000 and $85,000, high income areas have an average household income greater than $85,000.
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
All Reasons
FTA - Parking
FTA - Moving violation
Drug Offenses - CDRA
Uninsured motorist
Nonpay child support
Driving while suspended
Nonpay Ins surcharges
Nonpay court pay plan
FTA - Nondriving
Points
DUI
Lower Income Middle Income High Income
Figure ES4 – Distribution of suspended drivers by income class (May 2004)
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: FTA - Failure to Appear in a court of law; Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have
had their driving privileges withdrawn at least one time for the stated reason; Income classifications based on zip
code data from 2000 US Census – Lower income areas defined as having an average annual household income less
than $40,000, middle income areas have an average household income between $40,000 and $85,000, high income
areas have an average household income greater than $85,000.
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xii
This may be due to a variety of reasons. For example, most parking infractions occur in
urban areas because urban areas have more parking restrictions than suburban and
rural areas. As such, urban residents have a greater chance of violating parking laws.
Similarly, the street and highway network in urban areas is more dense, with higher
levels of traffic, more intersections, stop signs, traffic lights, and slow speed zones than
suburban and rural areas. Generally, there is also a greater law enforcement presence
in urban communities. Consequently, there are more opportunities to violate traffic laws
and urban residents may be at greater risk of being observed violating traffic laws.
Finally and perhaps most obviously, low income residents are more concentrated in the
State’s urban areas. This population may be less able to pay fines, fees and
surcharges given their more limited financial resources.
The Impacts of Driver’s License Suspension
The obvious and most direct impact of license suspension is loss of personal mobility.
However, suspension may also have collateral and/or unintended consequences
such as job loss, difficulty in finding employment, and reduced income.
Consequences can also include other financial impacts, such as increased insurance
premiums and other costs associated with suspension; as well as psychological and
social impacts such as loss of freedom, increased stress, and family strain. In
addition, suspension can also have broader economic and societal impacts such
as limiting the labor force for specific industries such as automobile sales and
services, home health care aides and the construction trades. Jobs in each of these
industries depend on semi-skilled workers with a valid driver’s license.
According to a recent survey of suspended drivers conducted by researchers at Rutgers
University, many respondents with a history of license suspension experienced
employment impacts resulting from their suspension (Carnegie forthcoming):
- 42 percent of survey respondents with a history of suspension lost their
jobs when they had their driving privileges suspended. Job loss was
experienced across all income and age groups; however it was most
significant among low-income and younger drivers.
- 45 percent of those that lost their job because of a suspension could
not find another job. This was true across all income and age groups but
most pronounced among low-income and older drivers.
- Of those that were able to find another job, 88 percent reported a
decrease in income. This was true in all income and age groups but most
significant among low-income drivers.
In addition, most survey respondents with a history of suspension also reported
experiencing psychological and social impacts associated with license suspension:
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xiii
- 85 percent of those with a history of suspension noted that they “often” or
“sometimes” thought about the suspension when not intending to.
- 72 percent reported that any reminder of their suspension brought back
negative feelings about it.
- 69 percent felt ashamed of their suspension; and 68 percent noted they were
embarrassed to tell anyone about their suspension.
- 81 percent reported experiencing a loss of freedom.
- 83 percent experienced increased stress.
- 74 percent reported that suspension placed a strain on family, friends and
colleagues.
- 46 percent reported lacking a form of identification.
A number of individuals providing testimony and/or comments noted that license
suspension can have economic effects that go beyond impacts to the individual and
family. They suggested that limitations on an individual’s mobility, such as that which
occurs after license suspension, can limit the labor force available to fill jobs in some
areas for certain types of jobs. For example:
- License suspension can limit the labor force available to fill jobs in key
industries, such as home health care aides, motor vehicle sales and services,
and the construction trades, which require a valid license as a condition of
employment.
- In addition, many employers use possession of a valid driver’s license as a
pre-qualifying “screening” question. This may unnecessarily limit the
available labor force when driving a motor vehicle is not integral to job
responsibilities.
The following other potential economic impacts were noted:
- Fewer drivers may result in fewer automobile sales and less automobile
related purchases for gas, service and insurance, which in turn results in
decreased tax revenue for the State.
- Drivers with suspended licenses that are unable to secure gainful
employment or who are forced to take jobs that pay less may require public
assistance payments, which is a cost to the State and its taxpayers. The
costs to the State may also include lost income tax revenue from lower rates
of employment and lower wages.
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xiv
Restricted use driver’s license programs
Conditional or restricted-use driver’s licenses are available in 39 states and the
District of Colombia. These licenses allow some or all suspended/revoked drivers to
receive limited driving privileges during the time they are suspended. Program eligibility
varies widely from state to state. Some states offer restricted-use licenses to drivers
suspended for compliance reasons, but most states limit the use of restricted-use
licenses to drivers with time delimited suspensions, such as those imposed for a first
time DUI offense, for point accumulation and for other traffic violations after a specified
minimum period of suspension is served. Most often, the waiting period ranges from 30
to 90 days, although a few states require all conditional license applicants to serve half
of their suspension/revocation period prior to being considered eligible for the license.
In most states, conditional or restricted-use licenses are not available to drivers
suspended/revoked for multiple DUI offenses, negligent vehicular homicide, or habitual
offenders. Furthermore, in most states, drivers suspended for compliance reasons are
not eligible.
Permitted travel and associated restrictions related to conditional use licenses also vary
by state. Some limit travel for employment purposes, while others are more lenient and
allow travel for many other reasons, including medical purposes, school, child/elder
care, “homemaker” duties and travel to and from religious services. Penalties for
violating program restrictions most typically involve the cancellation of the restricted-use
license and reinstatement of the original suspension or revocation. Some states also
extend the original suspension/revocation period, between several months to double the
original period.
A recent survey of New Jersey drivers found that more than three-quarters of
survey respondents supported the creation of a restricted-use license program
for at least some suspended drivers under certain circumstances. Although
support was greatest among drivers with a history of suspension, 69 percent of those
drivers that have never been suspended expressed support for such a license
(Carnegie, forthcoming).
Task Force Recommendations
The following recommendations were developed by the Task Force taking into
consideration the data and information provided to the Task Force and its
subcommittees by subject matter experts and outside researchers, public testimony and
comment received as part of its outreach activities and deliberative discussions that
took place at each of its meetings. The recommendations are intended to address the
affordability and fairness of license suspension in New Jersey while balancing the need
to maintain the deterrent and coercive effects license suspension provides as well as
being sensitive to the potential revenue impacts of certain proposals. The
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xv
recommendations presented here have been abridged for quick reference. More
detailed recommendations appear in section five of the report.
1. Provide judges with more discretion when establishing time payment orders.
2. Make payment of court-administered fines and time payment orders easier for
drivers.
3. Amend the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act to permit suspension of vehicle
registration as an alternative to license suspension.
4. Provide courts with greater discretion to allow payment plans in excess of 12 months
for those failing to pay child support arrears and support initiatives to increase
compliance with child support payments using driver’s license suspension as a
remedy of last resort.
5. Amend N.J.S.A 39:3-40 to provide courts with greater discretion regarding the
imposition of additional mandatory suspension time when drivers are convicted of
driving while suspended for non-driving reasons. Consider whether the current fine
amounts defined in the statute are appropriate given the nature of each offense.
6. Make payment of outstanding MVC insurance surcharges and restoration fees
easier and more affordable for low income drivers.
7. Conduct a revenue impact study to determine if lowering current surcharge amounts
would increase overall collection rates and maintain or increase overall revenue from
the insurance surcharge program.
8. Rename the insurance surcharge program to reflect its current purpose as a driver
responsibility assessment.
9. Increase public awareness and understanding of the insurance surcharge program
and the potential consequences of not paying the surcharges.
10. Develop informational materials to increase public awareness and understanding of
the potential consequences of motor vehicle violations, including: fine amounts (for
frequent violations), point accumulation, insurance surcharges and potential license
suspension.
11. Conduct a comprehensive review of New Jersey’s current point system and driver
improvement programs to determine the effectiveness of the programs relative to
ensuring highway safety.
12. Address issues that contribute to license suspensions for failing to maintain
insurance.
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Final Report xvi
13. Regulate and/or limit insurance premium increases that are based on license
suspensions for non-driving reasons.
14. Consider creating a restricted-use license program for drivers suspended for
financial reasons.
15. Change license suspension notification documents to make them easier to
understand and include supplemental education materials to communicate the
seriousness of license suspension and its potential consequences.
16. Improve communication with the public and increase awareness among drivers
facing license suspension that MVC has an administrative hearing process available
to address the individual circumstances of their suspensions.
17. Undertake a sustained and systemized effort to provide social service agencies,
employment counseling agencies, One-Stop Career Centers, Department of
Corrections personnel, parole officers and support staff at transitional facilities with
the information, training and tools they need to more effectively assist clients to
address license suspension and restoration issues.
18. Elevate the importance of dealing with license restoration issues as part of the
Department of Corrections discharge planning process.
19. Increase awareness among county social service agencies that public assistance
funds (e.g., TANF and other federal programs permitting the use of funds for
transportation purposes) can be used to pay surcharges, fees and fines associated
with license suspension as a means to promote employment opportunities among
eligible recipients and increase collections.
20. Amend existing laws, policies and procedures governing address change notification
to increase the accuracy of MVC mailing address data.
21. Monitor the License Restoration Program of the Essex County Vicinage and
evaluate its effectiveness as a potential model for other jurisdictions.
Implementing these recommendations will require the participation and sustained
commitment of many organizations, agencies and individuals. Section six of this report
provides a framework for implementation by identifying potential implementation
partners and specifying which entities might take a leadership and/or supporting role in
advancing specific recommendations.
Motor Vehicle Affordability and Fairness Task Force
SECTION ONE: REPORT OUTLINE AND BACKGROUND
Report Outline
Section one of this report provides background on the Task Force and briefly describes
the public outreach activities undertaken by the Task Force over the past year. Section
two provides an overview of driver’s license suspension in New Jersey, including a
description of the various reasons for suspension and detailed statistics that document
patterns of suspension in terms of age, gender and residence location. Section three
describes the collateral and unintended consequences that result from license
suspension as documented through survey research, public testimony and comment
received by the Task Force, and input received through roundtable discussions and
interviews conducted on behalf of the Task Force. Section four provides an overview of
restricted use license programs used in other states. Section five presents the Task
Force’s detailed recommendations for addressing the affordability and fairness of
license suspension in New Jersey. Finally, section six describes a framework for
implementing the Task Force recommendations by identifying the agencies and
organizations that could play a leadership or supporting role in advancing specific
proposals.
Background
On April 25, 2002, former Governor James E. McGreevey signed Executive Order
Number 19, which established the “Fix DMV” Commission. The twelve-member
Commission was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the Division of
Motor Vehicles to determine what reform efforts would enable the Division to operate as
a more secure, efficient and customer-focused Division. Once formed, the Commission
was given 120 days to complete its analysis and prepare a report detailing its
recommendations.
On November 7, 2002 the Commission issued its final report. The report focused on the
urgent need to meet or exceed customer satisfaction and expectations and to improve
the Division’s security. The need for structural and organizational changes, as well as
technological modernizations, including implementation of digital driver licenses and an
overhaul of the DMV computer system, were also recommended.
On January 28, 2003, Governor McGreevey signed “The Motor Vehicle Security and
Customer Service Act” into law. The law abolished the New Jersey Division of Motor
Vehicles (DMV) and replaced it with the semi-autonomous New Jersey Motor Vehicle
Commission (MVC), in but not of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In
addition, the law required a series of reforms designed to carry out the “Fix DMV”
Commission’s recommendations related to improved customer service, modernization
of MVC technology, enhanced security, including the implementation of digital licensing,
and improved efficiency.
Final Report 2
The law also called for the creation of the Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness
Task Force. As detailed below, the Task Force was charged with investigating “…the
impact of the current point system and non-driving related suspension of driving
privileges, in particular, the Merit Rating Plan Surcharges, on the driving public and
make recommendations for the reform of the surcharge suspension program to increase
motorist safety.”
Task Force Mission and Charge
The Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force was created by New Jersey
statute, N.J.S.A. 39:2A-30 (L.2003,c.13,s.30) and was intended to be comprised of
nineteen members, at least nine of whom are public members. In total, seventeen
individuals served on the Task Force.
The charge of the Task Force as defined by that statute is as follows:
…to study the impact of the current point system and non-driving related
suspension of driving privileges, in particular, the Merit Rating Plan
Surcharges, on the driving public and make recommendations for the
reform of the surcharge suspension program to increase motorist safety.
In addition, the task force shall examine ‘The Parking Offenses
Adjudication Act,’ P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.2 et seq.) and municipal
court processes related thereto, as well as court actions on surcharge
assessments and license suspensions related to nonpayment of fines or
tickets as well as motor vehicle moving violations.
The Task Force was also charged with developing recommendations regarding the
following specific issues:
1. The rapid growth in the number of driver's license suspensions;
2. The identification and regulation of drivers to deter unlawful and unsafe acts;
3. The establishment of a mechanism to assist low-income residents that are hard
pressed to secure the restoration of driving privileges;
4. The reform of the parking ticket suspension system and "The Parking Offenses
Adjudication Act;" and
5. Increasing the collection of outstanding surcharges.
The law further specified that the study shall include, but not be limited to, investigating
issues of motor vehicle safety, insurance, finance and socioeconomic conditions. The
Task Force shall review and analyze studies examining the social impacts of driver's
Final Report 3
license and registration suspensions. The Task Force shall also review and analyze
studies and statistics regarding surcharges and suspensions to develop
recommendations for reform.
The Task Force shall develop recommendations for public and private strategies and
recommendations for legislative or regulatory action, if deemed appropriate, to address
these issues. The recommendations shall include suggestions for the development of
public information campaigns to educate and inform motorists about driver's license and
registration suspensions, and methods of lessening financial and social burdens on
motorists.
The Task Force's recommendations shall be aimed at developing and implementing an
amnesty policy and a reform of the surcharge suspension. The Task Force shall review
the impact of suspension of driving privileges upon businesses and individuals
dependent upon having a valid driver's license for gainful employment and to conduct
commerce in this State.
Task Force Organization
As noted above, seventeen members were designated and/or appointed to serve on the
Task Force. The Task Force convened for the first time on February 25, 2005. At that
first meeting, MVC Chief Administrator Sharon Harrington was named chair of the Task
Force and Jon Carnegie, assistant director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation
Center at Rutgers University, was named Task Force secretary. In addition, three Task
Force subcommittees were formed as follows:
?? Subcommittee 1: Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA) and other nondriving
related offenses
?? Subcommittee 2: Point system & other driving related offenses
?? Subcommittee 3: Insurance Surcharge Program
Including its first meeting, the full Task Force met four times during 2005/2006. In
addition, each of the Task Force subcommittees met four times to examine and discuss
the specific topics under their purview.
Public Outreach
The Task Force sponsored four public forums in June and July 2005 to receive
testimony from the general public and interested parties on the impacts of license
suspension and solicit ideas regarding potential remedies to address those impacts.
The hearings were held at transit accessible locations in Newark, New Brunswick,
Camden and Atlantic City. Thirty five participants provided testimony. In addition, 89
Final Report 4
individuals sent comments to the Task Force via an email address advertised on the
MVC website and by regular mail.
To supplement the input received from the public, the Task Force conducted two
roundtable discussions and six telephone interviews with law enforcement officers,
workforce development professionals, legal aid counselors, parole officers and
representatives from relevant industry sectors and social service organizations. The
roundtable discussions and interviews were conducted in September and October 2005.
Highlights from the public comments received are included in section four. A complete
summary of public testimony and comments and meeting reports from the roundtable
discussions and interviews are included in Appendix E.
Final Report 5
SECTION TWO: DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION IN NEW JERSEY
New Jersey has approximately six million licensed drivers. The vast majority of these
drivers remain violation and suspension free throughout their driving years. Only a
small percentage of drivers (five percent) have their driving privileges suspended or
revoked at any given time.
In New Jersey, driving and registering a motor vehicle are considered privileges, not
rights, which may be removed (“suspended”) for reasonable grounds. New Jersey
utilizes the term suspension, instead of revocation, to denote a temporary, rather than
permanent, withdrawal of the privilege(s). Driver’s license suspensions are
distinguished broadly in New Jersey by the following factors:
1. Whether the suspension(s) is imposed by court action or by the MVC
(administrative);
2. Whether the suspension(s) is for a finite or indefinite period of time. The latter
term indicates that the suspension period is dependent upon compliance with
some requirement or payment;
3. Whether the suspension(s) is mandatory (e.g., DUI penalties) or discretionary
(e.g., point system with option for a hearing at MVC); and
4. What privilege(s) are affected by the suspension(s): driving, registration, driving
& registration, or specific endorsements on commercial licenses (e.g., carrying
school-age children).
When a driver’s license is suspended by court action, the MVC’s role involves recordkeeping
and confirmation to the customer only. When the MVC suspends a driver’s
license, the Commission is responsible for giving notice of the proposed suspension
and for providing procedural due process in the form of pre-hearing conferences at the
MVC and hearings before the Office of Administrative Law.
Overview of New Jersey Suspension Statistics
Over the past ten years, a yearly average of approximately 838,000 suspensions have
been ordered and/or confirmed by MVC (see table 1 and figure 1). The number of
annual suspensions has ranged from a high of approximately 900,000 in 1995 to a low
of approximately 740,000 in 1998. These figures represent totals of individual
suspension actions taken, NOT the number of drivers subject to those actions. For
example, it is common for an individual driver to have several active suspension orders
on his/her record at a given time. It is valuable to note that overall, at any given time,
approximately five percent of New Jersey’s approximately six million licensed drivers
are suspended.
Final Report 6
Table 1 - Number of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC annually
Year Suspension Orders
2004 825,320
2003 795,258
2002 841,097
2001 856,816
2000 867,065
1999 874,866
1998 740,710
1997 842,105
1996 833,905
1995 902,033
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
500,000
550,000
600,000
650,000
700,000
750,000
800,000
850,000
900,000
950,000
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Figure 1. Ten year history of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC
Characteristics of suspended drivers in New Jersey
The following suspended driver statistics were developed as part of the Driver’s License
Suspension, Impacts, and Fairness Study (Carnegie forthcoming), conducted by the
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University for the New Jersey Motor
Vehicle Commission (MVC) and New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Researchers derived the statistics using data sampled from the MVC driver history
database in May 2004. For the purpose of the study, “active” suspended drivers were
defined as New Jersey drivers possessing a current (not expired) driver’s license and
those with driver’s licenses that expired after May 2001 who had one or more
suspension orders recorded on their driver history record (Carnegie forthcoming).
Final Report 7
Age and gender profile of suspended drivers
In May 2004, there were 289,600 suspended New Jersey drivers (see table 2). This
represents slightly less than five percent of the State’s approximately six million licensed
drivers. As shown in table 2, the vast majority of suspended drivers in New Jersey are
male (70 percent); and most (59 percent) are between the ages of 25 and 44.
A review of driver’s license suspension statistics in other states reveals that suspension
rates in New Jersey are slightly less than the rates observed in other states (see table
3). Furthermore, a review of driver’s license suspension studies conducted in other
states indicates that suspended drivers in those states tend to also be male and
between the ages of 25 and 44 (Carnegie forthcoming).
Table 2 - Number of suspended drivers by gender and age group (May 2004)
Male Drivers Female Drivers All Drivers
Age Group Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
16-17 194 0.1% 52 0.1% 246 0.1%
18-24 35,046 17.2% 12,875 14.9% 47,921 16.5%
25-34 69,082 34.0% 28,062 32.5% 97,144 33.5%
35-44 51,958 25.6% 22,098 25.6% 74,056 25.6%
45-54 26,778 13.2% 11,942 13.8% 38,720 13.4%
55-64 10,269 5.1% 4,662 5.4% 14,931 5.2%
65-84 7,657 3.8% 4,867 5.6% 12,524 4.3%
85+ 2,322 1.1% 1,736 2.0% 4,058 1.4%
Total 203,306 100.0% 86,294 100.0% 289,600 100.0%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Final Report 8
Table 3 – Suspension rates in other states
State
# of
Licensed
Drivers
# of
Suspended
Drivers Rate
Alabama 480,000 27,213 6%
Arkansas 1,900,000 101,500 5%
Connecticut 2,300,000 134,000 6%
Delaware 570,000 78,660 14%
Idaho 1,000,000 70,000 7%
Illinois 8,400,000 258,511 3%
Iowa 2,000,000 57,000 3%
Kansas 1,900,000 103,000 5%
Minnesota 3,600,000 163,500 5%
Missouri 3,500,000 320,344 9%
Montana 450,000 31,931 7%
Nebraska 1,300,000 53,539 4%
New Jersey 6,100,000 290,000 5%
North Dakota 457,000 27,000 6%
Ohio 8,728,546 611,064 7%
Oklahoma 2,300,000 81,040 4%
Pennsylvania 8,300,000 600,000 7%
Tennessee 4,200,000 246,000 6%
Texas 15,000,000 430,000 3%
Washington 4,300,000 364,000 8%
Wisconsin 3,700,000 403,586 11%
Wyoming 455,000 15,000 3%
Average 6%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Incidence of multiple suspensions and suspended drivers with points
In addition to age and gender, researchers at Rutgers examined the incidence of
multiple suspensions among New Jersey suspended drivers and the number of
suspended drivers with motor vehicle moving violation points. As shown in table four, it
is quite common for suspended drivers in New Jersey to have more than one
suspension. Almost two thirds (64 percent) of suspended drivers have two or more
active suspensions and almost one quarter (21 percent) have 10 or more active
suspensions.
As described more fully later in this section, the MVC monitors driving behavior by
means of a point system under which drivers are assessed points for motor vehicle
moving violations. The accumulation of points is used as an indicator of “bad” driving
behavior. It is interesting to note that most suspended drivers in New Jersey (59
percent) have zero points (see table 5). The vast majority (85 percent) have six points
Final Report 9
or fewer, the threshold used by MVC to trigger advisory notification of potential
corrective actions to be taken to address bad driving behavior.
Table 4 - Incidence of multiple suspensions among suspended drivers (May 2004)
No. of Suspensions No. of drivers Percent
1 105,020 36%
2 37,603 13%
3 22,575 8%
4 16,772 6%
5 13,166 5%
6 10,865 4%
7 9,249 3%
8 7,819 3%
9 6,673 2%
10 5,863 2%
11 4,989 2%
12 4,583 2%
13 3,959 1%
14 3,658 1%
15 or more 36,806 13%
Total 289,600 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Table 5 - Point accumulation by suspended drivers (May 2004)
No. of points No. of drivers Percent
0 points 170,407 59%
1-6 points 74,087 26%
7-12 points 25,970 9%
> 12 points 19,136 7%
Total 289,600 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Geographic profile of suspended drivers in New Jersey
Rutgers researchers also utilized MVC data to examine geographic patterns of
suspension using residence location data. Residence information for suspended drivers
was mapped and aggregated by zip code to determine if suspension patterns varied in
different parts of the State. Suspension rates for each zip code were calculated by
dividing the number of suspended drivers by the number of licensed drivers in each zip
code to control for the density of licensed drivers in urban versus suburban and rural
areas. Suspension rates for each zip code were then associated with population density
and household income data from Census 2000 to facilitate an analysis of suspension
patterns (Carnegie forthcoming).
Final Report 10
As shown in the table 6, approximately 43 percent of the State’s licensed drivers reside
in urban areas. Approximately 46 percent reside in middle income zip codes; and
approximately 16.5 percent reside in lower income areas. However, as shown in table
7, a significantly higher percentage of suspended drivers live in urban (63 percent) and
low income (42 percent) areas.
Table 6 - Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by area type and income class (May 2004)
Licensed Drivers
Male Female Total % of total
Statewide 3,042,560 3,130,632 6,173,192 100%
By Population Density 1
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 1,322,677 1,335,069 2,657,746 43.1%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 1,155,525 1,207,671 2,363,196 38.3%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 564,358 587,892 1,152,250 18.7%
By HH Income Class 2
High (>$85,000) 367,170 381,658 748,828 12.1%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 767,114 798,038 1,565,152 25.4%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 1,402,046 1,439,537 2,841,583 46.0%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 492,436 496,546 988,982 16.0%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 13,794 14,853 28,647 0.5%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1- density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census;
2 - income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Table 7 - Distribution of suspended drivers by area type and income class (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers
Male Female Total % of total
Statewide 203,306 86,294 289,600 100.0%
By Population Density 1
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 127,960 55,047 183,007 63.2%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 50,290 20,538 70,828 24.5%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 23,753 10,224 33,977 11.7%
Unknown * 1,303 485 1,788 0.6%
By HH Income Class 2
High (>$85,000) 7,129 2,952 10,081 3.5%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25,238 10,288 35,526 12.3%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 85,184 36,255 121,439 41.9%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 79,646 34,172 113,818 39.3%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 4,806 2,142 6,948 2.4%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1- density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census;
2 - income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Final Report 11
Table 8 - Suspension rates by area type and income class (May 2004)
Suspension Rates 1
Male Female Total
Statewide 7% 3% 5%
By Population Density 2
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 10% 4% 7%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 4% 2% 3%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 4% 2% 3%
Unknown *
By HH Income Class3
High (>$85,000) 2% 1% 1%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 3% 1% 2%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 6% 3% 4%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 7% 12%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 35% 14% 24%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 – Suspension rates were calculated by dividing the number of suspended drivers by the number of licensed
drivers in each zip code. The rates reported in this table represent the ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers;
2- density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census;
3 - income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census;
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
As shown in table 8, researchers found that suspension rates among certain classes of
drivers are disproportionately high. For example, 35 percent of male drivers residing in
low-low income zip codes have suspended licenses, compared to the Statewide
average of seven percent for all male drivers. Although there are only 4,806 suspended
male drivers residing in low-low income zip codes, the disparity between income
classes is significant. Also noteworthy is the finding that drivers living in urban areas
(population density greater than 800 persons/mi2) have suspension rates more than two
times higher than their suburban and rural counterparts, seven percent versus three
percent.
When reviewing the data presented in table 8, it is important to note that the MVC driver
history database does not include specific demographic data on individual drivers. As
such, the reader should be careful when interpreting the data with regard to income. No
direct relationship can be drawn between individual suspended drivers and their income
level. The data must be interpreted in the aggregate. Suspension rates reported in the
table represent the ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers in any given zip code.
(Carnegie forthcoming).
Reasons for Suspension
The MVC utilizes event codes to denote suspensions on driver history records. There
are far fewer “reasons” for suspensions in New Jersey than there are “event codes.”
For example, there are at least seven event codes used to denote drivers suspended
for accumulating motor vehicle violation points.
Final Report 12
Specifically, there are over 600 suspension event codes, but approximately twelve
underlying “reasons” for suspension that account for the vast majority (90 percent) of
suspensions ordered or confirmed each year. Overall, the two categories of
suspensions with the highest annual volume are failure to pay MVC insurance
surcharges, followed by failure to appear in court to answer/pay parking tickets. Table 9
presents the average number of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC each year
for the top twelve “reasons” for suspension.
Table 9 - Average number of suspensions ordered/confirmed by MVC annually – Top
twelve “reasons”
Reason for suspension Number of
suspension
orders
Percent of
total
1. Failure to pay MVC insurance surcharge 228,000 28%
2. Failure to appear in court to satisfy a parking summons
(Parking Offenses Adjudication Act)
140,000 17%
3. Failure to appear in court to satisfy a summons
(moving violations, municipal ordinances)
121,000 15%
4. Failure to comply with a court ordered installment plan
or to satisfy other requirements of a court sentence
(rehabilitation program, community service, court
surcharges or assessments)
70,000 8%
5. Driving while suspended 47,000 6%
6. Failure to comply with a child support order 25,000 3%
7. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or
drugs
25,000 3%
8. Uninsured motorist – Insurance cancelled or court
ordered suspension for driving an uninsured motor
vehicle
25,000 3%
9. Accumulation of points from moving
violations/persistent violator
22,000 3%
10. Drug related offenses under the Comprehensive Drug
Reform Act
20,500 2%
11. Failure to make good on dishonored checks submitted
to courts and/or MVC for fees
9,000 1%
12. Serious moving violations (reckless driving, leaving the
scene of accident, high speed)
6,000 1%
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
As recognized in table 9, in New Jersey, driver’s license suspensions are imposed
for both driving and non-driving related reasons. Some of the non-driving related
reasons for license suspension, such as drug offenses and failure to pay child
support, were instituted by the State in response to Federal statutory requirements.
Final Report 13
New Jersey Point System
The MVC monitors driving behavior by means of a point system. The current point
system has been in effect since March 1, 1977. As shown in table10, points are given
to drivers for various moving violations. Ninety percent of New Jersey’s licensed drivers
have zero points on their driving records. Approximately one half of one percent has six
points, the threshold for MVC advisory action/notice. Less than one half of one percent
has twelve or more points, which places them at the level for MVC action in terms of
suspension or mandatory Driver Improvement Program (DIP) attendance.
As noted earlier, the MVC utilizes “event codes” to record violations, suspensions and
other MVC and court actions on driver history records. There are a total of 1,795
individual event codes. Of these, 332 are used to denote violations events. Of the
latter, there are 100 codes for point-carrying violations, and 232 codes for non-point
violations. In July 2000, the New Jersey Legislature passed legislation (N.J.S.A. 39:4-
97.2, effective July 24, 2000) creating a new traffic violation, unsafe operation of a
motor vehicle, for which no points are assessed for first and second offenses. The law
makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in an “…unsafe manner likely to endanger
a person or property.” This law change, which created the non-point carrying “unsafe
driving” offense, provided an increased opportunity for prosecutors and the courts to
downgrade point-carrying violations into penalties that only carry a fine. In 2004, the law
was amended to add a $250 surcharge to the fines, fees and other charges already
assessed when convicted of unsafe driving pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2
In terms of non-point violations, the most numerous violations entered on driver history
records include the following, in descending order of volume:
?? Unsafe driving, 39:4-97.2, (150-200,000/yr)
?? Fictitious plates, 39:3-33, (65,000/yr)
?? Unlicensed driving, 39:3-10, (52,000/yr)
?? Operate while suspended, 39:3-40, (41,000/yr)
?? Obstructing passage, 39:4-67, (25,000/yr)
?? DUI, 39:4-50a, (24,000/yr)
?? Uninsured vehicle, 39:6B-2, (10,000)
In 2003 and 2004 the annual percentages of point and non-point violations have held
steady at around 45 percent point and 55 percent non-point violations as reported to
MVC by the courts. However, since the year 2000, when the unsafe driving violation
took effect, the percentage of non-point violations increased from 46 percent to 56
Final Report 14
percent of total violations, and the percentage of point violations decreased from 54
percent to 44 percent of total.
Points are reduced for unbroken twelve month periods of violation-free driving and for
attending mandatory State-run DIP, Probationary Driver Programs (PDP) and voluntary
Defensive Driving Programs (DDP) approved by MVC. The DIP is designed as a threehour
classroom session managed by the MVC. The target audience for the program is
experienced drivers who have accumulated twelve or more points under the MVC point
system. There is a $100 “school” fee for participating in the Program (payable to MVC)
and there are fifteen “school” sites located throughout New Jersey offering the Program.
Drivers who have accumulated 12-14 points in a period greater than two years are
offered the program on their scheduled suspension notice as an option to suspension.
Other drivers may go to school in lieu of part or all of a proposed point suspension as a
result of a pre-hearing settlement conference, an administrative law judge's decision
that is affirmed by the MVC, or a final MVC decision. Drivers who fail to attend the
program as scheduled are suspended for the period specified in their original scheduled
suspension notice, settlement agreement or hearing decision.
The PDP is a four hour classroom program managed by the MVC for new drivers who
have accumulated four or more points for two violations committed within a two year
period after their first driver exam permit is issued. The fee for participating in the
program is $100, payable to MVC. PDPs are held at the same sites as the DIPs. If the
offender fails to complete the program, he/she is suspended indefinitely until the course
is completed and restoration fee paid.
Drivers who have completed the DIP or PDP receive a point reduction credit of three
points against any points on their driving record. These credits may only be received
once in any given two year period. Drivers are also warned they are subject to license
suspension for any motor vehicle violation committed within one year after completing
the course, with the precise suspension period dependent upon how soon the violation
is committed following program completion.
Final Report 15
Table 10 - New Jersey Point Schedule
N.J.S.A. Section Offense Points
NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway
27:23-29 Moving against traffic 2
27:23-29 Improper passing 4
27:23-29 Unlawful use of median strip 2
All roads and highways
39:3-20 Operating constructor vehicle in excess of 45 mph 3
39:4-14.3 Operating motorized bicycle on a restricted highway 2
39:4-14.3d More than one person on a motorized bicycle 2
39:4-35 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
39:4-36 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk; passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
39:4-41 Driving through safety zone 2
39:4-52 and 39:5C-1 Racing on highway 5
39:4-55 Improper action or omission on grades and curves 2
39:4-57 Failure to observe direction of officer 2
39:4-66 Failure to stop vehicle before crossing sidewalk 2
39:4-66.1 Failure to yield to pedestrians or vehicles while entering or leaving highway 2
39:4-66.2 Driving on public or private property to avoid a traffic sign or signal 2
39:4-71 Operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk 2
39:4-80 Failure to obey direction of officer 2
39:4-81 Failure to observe traffic signals 2
39:4-82 Failure to keep right 2
39:4-82.1 Improper operating of vehicle on divided highway or divider 2
39:4-83 Failure to keep right at intersection 2
39:4-84 Failure to pass to right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction 5
39:4-85 Improper passing on right or off roadway 4
39:4-85.1 Wrong way on a one-way street 2
39:4-86 Improper passing in no passing zone 4
39:4-87 Failure to yield to overtaking vehicle 2
39:4-88 Failure to observe traffic lanes 2
39:4-89 Tailgating 5
39:4-90 Failure to yield at intersection 2
39:4-90.1 Failure to use proper entrances to limited access highways 2
39:4-91-92 Failure to yield to emergency vehicles 2
39:4-96 Reckless driving 5
39:4-97 Careless driving 2
39:4-97a Destruction of agricultural or recreational property 2
39:4-97.1 Slow speed blocking traffic 2
39:4-97.2 Driving in an unsafe manner (pts assessed for the third or subsequent violation(s) w/in 5 year period.) 4
39:4-98 and 39:4-99 Exceeding maximum speed 1-14 mph over limit 2
Exceeding maximum speed 15-29 mph over limit 4
Exceeding maximum speed 30 mph or more over limit 5
39:4-105 Failure to stop for traffic light 2
39:4-115 Improper turn at traffic light 3
39:4-119 Failure to stop at flashing red signal 2
39:4-122 Failure to stop for police whistle 2
39:4-123 Improper right or left turn 3
39:4-124 Improper turn from approved turning course 3
39:4-125 Improper U-turn 3
39:4-126 Failure to give proper signal 2
39:4-127 Improper backing or turning in street 2
39:4-127.1 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing 2
39:4-127.2 Improper crossing of bridge 2
39:4-128 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing by certain vehicles 2
39:4-128.1 Improper passing of school bus 5
39:4-128.4 Improper passing of frozen dessert truck 4
39:4-129 Leaving the scene of an accident - No personal injury 2
39:4-129 Leaving the scene of an accident - Personal injury 8
39:4-144 Failure to observe stop or yield signs 2
39:5D-4 Moving violation out of State 2
Final Report 16
Drivers who complete a voluntary DDP approved by MVC receive a point reduction
credit of two points against any points on their driving record. DDP credit is given for
one program every five years.
As previously noted, an average of 22,000 license suspensions are ordered annually for
accumulation of points (see table 9). Another 6,000 are ordered for serious moving
violations. In May 2004, approximately 17,000 suspended drivers had at least one
active suspension for accumulating points or other driving-related reasons. This
excludes those suspended for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
(DUI). Of those, less than 10 percent (1,452) had only one active suspension for point
accumulation, reckless driving or failing to complete a Probationary Driver Program with
no other suspensions for other reasons. It is noteworthy that drivers suspended for
purely driving-related reasons account for less than six percent of all suspended drivers
(Carnegie forthcoming).
Table 11 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Point accumulation and other
driving-related reasons, excluding DUI (May 2004)
Distribution of Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of total Male Female Total
Statewide 15,312 1,908 17,220 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 8,033 814 8,847 51% 0.6% 0.1% 0.3%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 4,810 681 5,491 32% 0.4% 0.1% 0.2%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 2,348 394 2,742 16% 0.4% 0.1% 0.2%
Unknown 4 121 19 140 1%
TOTAL 100% 15,312 1,908 17,220 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 636 107 743 4% 0.2% 0.0% 0.1%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 2,536 354 2,890 17% 0.3% 0.0% 0.2%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 7,498 1,013 8,511 49% 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 4,360 396 4,756 28% 0.9% 0.1% 0.5%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 161 19 180 1% 1.2% 0.1% 0.6%
Unknown 4 121 19 140 1%
TOTAL 100% 15,312 1,908 17,220
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have had their driving privileges withdrawn
at least one time for the stated reason. Includes point accumulation (PTPA+ PTPB+ PTPC+ PTPD), reckless driving
(0496), failure to complete probationary driver program (FCPD) & persistent violator (PVPS); 2 - Ratio of suspended
drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could
not be matched to zip code reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Final Report 17
Table 11 presents the distribution of suspended drivers and suspension rates for those
drivers suspended for point accumulation or selected other driving-related reasons
(excluding DUI). As shown in the table, the distribution of drivers suspended for driving
reasons is somewhat higher in urban areas than suburban and rural areas when
compared to the distribution of all New Jersey licensed drivers. The same is true for
lower income zip codes. However, suspension rates for driving reasons are generally
similar in urban, suburban and rural areas when compared to the Statewide rate of 0.3
percent. Suspension rates for driving reasons are slightly higher in lower income zip
codes are slightly less than twice that of rates in higher income areas (Carnegie
forthcoming).
Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Under New Jersey law, a person who operates a motor vehicle, with a blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above is considered to be driving under the
influence (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50). Drivers convicted of driving under the influence are
subject to serious fines and penalties, including court fines and fees, MVC surcharges
and fees, license suspension, imprisonment, community service and participation in
intoxicated driver/alcohol education programs. Mandatory driver’s license suspension
for DUI offenses is required by federal law.
In New Jersey, license suspensions for DUI offenses are ordered by the courts and
confirmed administratively by MVC. Suspension periods range from three months for a
first time DUI offense where the driver’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher but less than
0.10 percent, to 20 years when a driver is convicted of a third offense of DUI in a
school zone or crossing. A complete schedule of DUI-related fines, fees and penalties
is included in Appendix F.
As reported in table 9, approximately 25,000 DUI suspensions are confirmed by MVC
each year. This represents three percent of total annual suspensions. In May 2004,
approximately 32,000 suspended drivers had at least one active suspension for
operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As shown in table 12, the
distribution of drivers suspended for DUI was very similar to the distribution of licensed
drivers in urban, suburban and rural areas, slightly lower in higher income areas and
slightly higher in lower income zip codes. Similarly, there is little variation in suspension
rates by area type and income classification when comparing different groups to each
other or to Statewide suspension rates for DUI offenses (Carnegie forthcoming)
Final Report 18
Table 12 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Operating a motor vehicle
under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) (May 2004)
Distribution of Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of total Male Female Total
Statewide 26,764 5,182 31,946 0.9% 0.2% 0.5%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 11,589 1,898 13,487 42% 0.9% 0.1% 0.5%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 9,305 1,958 11,263 35% 0.8% 0.2% 0.5%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 5,658 1,269 6,927 22% 1.0% 0.2% 0.6%
Unknown 4 212 57 269 1%
TOTAL 100% 26,764 5,182 31,946 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 1,467 310 1,777 6% 0.4% 0.1% 0.2%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 4,991 1,042 6,033 19% 0.7% 0.1% 0.4%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 14,118 2,971 17,089 53% 1.0% 0.2% 0.6%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 5,820 791 6,611 21% 1.2% 0.2% 0.7%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 156 11 167 1% 1.1% 0.1% 0.6%
Unknown 4 212 57 269 1%
TOTAL 100% 26,764 5,182 31,946 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for a
DUI offense (0450); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density calculation based on zip code data
from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference file; 5 - Income classifications based
on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Driving while suspended or revoked
New Jersey law establishes strict penalties for driving while suspended or revoked
(N.J.S.A. 39:3-40). Depending on the offense and the reason for the original
suspension, drivers convicted of driving while suspended or revoked are subject to fines
ranging from $500 to $3,000, up to 180 days imprisonment, and mandatory license
suspension for periods ranging from up to six months to 30 months in addition to the
period of the original suspension. Table 14 provides a schedule of mandatory minimum
and maximum fines and penalties for driving while suspended/revoked.
Approximately 47,000 suspensions for driving while suspended/revoked are confirmed
by MVC each year. This accounts for about six percent of all annual suspensions. In
May 2004, 58,726 suspended drivers had at least one active suspension for this reason.
Table 13 presents the distribution of suspended drivers and suspension rates for those
suspended for driving while suspended/revoked. As shown in the table, the distribution
of drivers suspended for this reason is significantly higher in urban and lower income
areas than in suburban and rural areas when compared to the distribution of all licensed
Final Report 19
drivers. Although less than half of the State’s licensed drivers reside in urban areas, 60
percent of drivers suspended for driving while suspended live in urban zip codes.
The same is true for lower income zip codes. Although drivers living in lower income zip
codes make up only 16.5 percent of all licensed drivers in the State, 43 percent of
drivers suspended for driving while suspended reside in low income areas. This pattern
can also be seen when reviewing suspension rates by area type and income class.
Suspension rates for driving while suspended or revoked for urban residents are two
times higher than suspension rates for this reason among suburban and rural residents.
In low income areas, suspension rates are 1.5 to five times higher than the Statewide
average for both male and female drivers (Carnegie, forthcoming).
Table 13 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Driving while suspended or
revoked (May 2004)
Distribution of Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 48,136 10,590 58,726 1.6% 0.3% 1.0%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 29,193 6,146 35,339 60% 2.2% 0.5% 1.3%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 12,328 2,811 15,139 26% 1.1% 0.2% 0.6%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 6,320 1,578 7,898 13% 1.1% 0.3% 0.7%
Unknown 4 295 55 350 1%
TOTAL 48,136 10,590 58,726 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 990 235 1,225 2% 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 4,820 1,110 5,930 10% 0.6% 0.1% 0.4%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 20,770 4,923 25,693 44% 1.5% 0.3% 0.9%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 20,096 4,019 24,115 41% 4.1% 0.8% 2.4%
Low -low(<$20,000) 0.5% 1,165 248 1,413 2% 8.4% 1.7% 4.9%
Unknown 4 295 55 350 1%
TOTAL 48,136 10,590 58,726 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for a
driving while suspended (0340); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density calculation based on
zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference file; 5 - Income
classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Final Report 20
Table 14 - Schedule of fines and penalties for driving while suspended/revoked
Original reason for suspension Suspension of license
and/or registration
Court Fine Prison
General provisions [N.J.S.A. 39:3-40]
1st Offense Up to 6 months $500 n/a
2nd Offense Up to 6 months $750 Up to 5 days
3rd Offense or subsequent Up to 6 months $1,000 10 days
Driving without insurance [N.J.S.A. 39:3-40
(f)(1)]
1st Offense 12-30 months $1,000 Up to 90 days
2nd Offense 12-30 months $1,250 Up to 90 days
3rd Offense or subsequent 12-30 months $1,500 10 - 90 days
DUI; Refusal to submit to a breath/chemical
test; Habitual offender [N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 (f) (2)]
1st Offense 12-30 months $1,000 Up to 90 days
2nd Offense 12-30 months $1,250 10-90 days
3rd Offense or subsequent 12-30 months $1,500 10-90 days
DUI or refusal to submit to a breath/chemical
test while in a school zone or crossing; [N.J.S.A.
39:3-40 (f) (3)]
1st Offense 12-30 months $1,000 60-90 days
2nd Offense 12-30 months $1,250 120-150 days
3rd Offense or subsequent 12-30 months $1,500 180 days
Non-payment of MVC insurance surcharge
[39:3-40 (g)]
1st Offense Up to 6 months $500 n/a
2nd Offense Up to 6 months $750 Up to 5 days
3rd Offense or subsequent Up to 6 months $1,000 10 days
Note: An additional fine of $3,000 is collected by MVC if the total surcharge imposed is not paid prior to
court appearance.
Failure to appear in court or pay a parking
judgment [N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 (i)]
n/a Up to $100
Source: N.J.S.A. 39:3-40
Insurance Surcharge Program
In 1983, the New Jersey Legislature enacted the New Jersey Merit Rating Plan
(N.J.S.A. 17:29 A-35), which required MVC to assess “insurance” surcharges based on
certain motor vehicle offenses. According to the statute, motorists accumulating six or
more points in a three year period are subject to a surcharge of $150 for the first six
points and $25 for each additional point thereafter. Currently, New Jersey is one of only
four States in the Nation with such a surcharge program. The other states include New
York, Texas, and Michigan.
Final Report 21
Surcharges are levied each year for three years and are in addition to any courtimposed
fines and/or penalties. Point totals are based on the date the violation was
posted, not when the violation occurred. Point system reductions received for
participation in a DIP, PDP or through annual point reductions for violation-free driving
do not apply to the surcharge program.
In addition to point-related surcharges, the statute also requires MVC to impose
surcharges for certain other offenses. Table 15 lists the offenses which are subject to
surcharge, annual surcharge amounts and the total surcharges to be paid at the end of
the three year surcharge period.
Table 15 - Offenses subject to insurance surcharge
Offense Annual
Surcharge
Total
Surcharge
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and/or refusal to
submit to chemical test (1st & 2nd offense)
$1,000 $3,000
DUI – 3rd offense in three year period $1500 $4,500
Unlicensed driver $100 $300
No insurance (Moped) $100 $300
Driving while suspended $250 $750
No liability insurance $250 $750
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Note: Surcharges apply each year for three years.
All new surcharges must be paid within 12 months of assessment either in full or as part
of a payment plan. If a driver fails to make surcharge payments or fails to pay the full
surcharge amount within 12 months, MVC will suspend all driving privileges indefinitely
and file judgment action in the State Superior Court. Actions may include a lien against
real property, garnishment of wages, or other similar actions.
MVC provides drivers with surcharge balances of $2,299 or less the option to enroll in a
six-twelve month installment payment plan. Drivers with surcharge balances of $2,300
or more are offered installment payment plans up to 24 months. MVC has no discretion
to extend payment plans beyond 24 months until after judgment action has been filed in
Superior Court. After judgment has been filed, MVC can offer payment plans as
requested by the offender for time periods ranging from 36-48 months or longer,
depending on the circumstance. Current payment plans range from one month to more
than 90 months. As shown in table 16, 45 percent of drivers with surcharge balances
owe less than $1,000. At the same time, almost 25,000 drivers or six percent, owe
more than $10,000.
Final Report 22
For a driver to satisfy a surcharge suspension, he/she must pay 10 percent of the
suspended amount. Interest continues to accrue on judgments only, even while
participating in a payment plan. The interest rate this year is one percent. The driver
must also pay MVC a $100 license restoration fee. It is critical to note that if the
surcharge is not in judgment, failure to adhere to a payment plan can result in new fees,
interest and possible re-suspension. If the surcharge is in judgment, failure to adhere to
a payment plan can result in additional interest and possible re-suspension.
Table 16 - Number of drivers with outstanding surcharge balances (September 2005)
Surcharge balance Number of drivers Percent of total
Less than $1,000 199,482 45%
$1,000 - $3,000 111,319 25%
$3,001 - $5,000 59,523 13%
$5,001 - $7,500 30,214 7%
$7,501 - $10,000 15,691 4%
Greater than $10,000 24,943 6%
Total 441,172 100%
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
When enacted in 1983, the original purpose of the NJ Merit Rating Plan insurance
surcharges was to provide revenue for the New Jersey Automobile Full Insurance
Underwriting Association (a.k.a. - Joint Underwriters Association or JUA). In 1994, the
Legislature directed that the surcharge revenues be used to pay debt service on a $705
million bond issue sold to eliminate the debt of the Market Transition Facility (MTF) to
be paid off in 2011. In July 2003, surcharge revenues were also directed to pay $160
million in “Fix DMV” bonds (2011-2015). In July 2004, it was determined that as of
2007, revenue would be directed to the 2004 series A Bonds ($807m).
In calendar year 2004, the MVC billed more than $136 million in surcharges (see table
17). Of that amount, $123,863,221 was collected. Average collection rates over the
first year of billing are approximately 36 percent. As shown in table 18, collection rates
are highest for point-related surcharges (71 percent) and lowest for surcharges
assessed for other non-point reasons. Currently, 441,484 New Jersey drivers owe
approximately $1.2 billion dollars in outstanding surcharge principal and interest.
Table 17 - Surcharge amounts billed in 2004
Reason Amount
Points $19,978,100
DUI $61,526,500
Other non-point reasons $54,780,300
TOTAL $136,284,900
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Final Report 23
Table 18 - Average surcharge collection rates
Reason Collection Rate
Points 71%
DUI 35%
Other non-point reasons 25%
AVERAGE 36%
Source: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
In September 2003, MVC offered a 60 day amnesty program. All drivers with
surcharges, except those with surcharges resulting from DUI convictions, were eligible
to participate. During this period, MVC waived all costs and interest if the participant
paid the principal surcharge amount in full. The program yielded 74,139 payments
totaling $17,469,008.35 on amnesty-eligible accounts. Total surcharge collections
during this period were $38,440,636.69.
As highlighted earlier in the report, the top “reason” for driver’s license suspension in
New Jersey is failure to pay MVC insurance surcharges. On average, 228,000 license
suspensions are ordered for this reason annually. This represents 28 percent of all
suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC each year. In May 2004, more than 132,000
drivers with active suspensions had at least one suspension for failing to pay MVC
insurance surcharges. Of those, slightly more than 10 percent (14,132 drivers) had only
one suspension for this reason and no other suspensions for other reasons.
As shown in table 19, the distribution of drivers suspended for failing to pay MVC
insurance surcharges is significantly higher in urban areas than in suburban and rural
areas. While 43 percent of all New Jersey licensed drivers reside in urban zip codes,
59 percent of drivers suspended for failing to pay surcharges live there. Even more
significant is the fact that although only 16.5 percent of licensed drivers reside in lower
income zip codes, a full 40 percent of those suspended for failing to pay MVC insurance
surcharges live there.
These patterns are similarly apparent when reviewing suspension rates among different
groups of drivers. Suspension rates for non-payment of insurance surcharges are two
times higher in urban areas than suburban and rural parts of the State. In lower income
areas, suspension rates are two to four times higher than the Statewide average for
both male and female drivers (Carnegie, forthcoming).
Final Report 24
Table 19 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Non-payment of MVC
insurance surcharges (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 103,097 29,558 132,655 3.4% 0.9% 2.1%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 61,929 16,809 78,738 59% 4.7% 1.3% 3.0%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 26,847 8,035 34,882 26% 2.3% 0.7% 1.5%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 13,580 4,507 18,087 14% 2.4% 0.8% 1.6%
Unknown 4 741 207 948 1%
TOTAL 103,097 29,558 132,655 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 2,894 807 3,701 3% 0.8% 0.2% 0.5%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 12,299 3,554 15,853 12% 1.6% 0.4% 1.0%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 45,538 13,914 59,452 45% 3.2% 1.0% 2.1%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 39,574 10,544 50,118 38% 8.0% 2.1% 5.1%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 2,051 532 2,583 2% 14.9% 3.6% 9.0%
Unknown 4 1,303 485 1,788 1%
TOTAL 103,659 29,836 133,495 101%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for a
non-payment of insurance surcharge (ISNP); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density
calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference
file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
The Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA)
According to the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), in fiscal year
2005 (July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005), municipal jurisdictions in New Jersey issued more
than 2.9 million parking tickets. Fines, which are established by municipal ordinance,
range from $17 to $130 with most under $50.
The vast majority of parking tickets are paid without court action. The Parking Offenses
Adjudication Act, N.J.S.A. 39:4-139.2 et seq., was enacted in January 1985 and
became effective in July of the same year. The law authorized municipal court judges
to suspend driving privileges when an individual cited for a parking offense fails to pay
the fine and then fails to appear in court to pay or satisfy the ticket. Therefore, under
the law, parking offense suspensions originate in the municipal court system.
As shown in figure 2, the POAA has been very effective in reducing the number of
outstanding parking tickets pending over 60 days. In 1990, there were almost 4.4
Final Report 25
million parking tickets that remained unpaid longer than two months. That number
dropped precipitously through the 1990’s as more municipal court systems became
automated. In 2004, the number of parking tickets pending over 60 days was less than
400,000.
0
500,000
1,000,000
1,500,000
2,000,000
2,500,000
3,000,000
3,500,000
4,000,000
4,500,000
5,000,000
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Court Year
Parking Tickets Pending Over
60 Days
Parking Tickets Filed
Figure 2 – Parking tickets pending over 60 days
Source: NJ Administrative Office of the Courts
Following issuance of the parking ticket itself, the court system is responsible for issuing
notices to alert defendants to their outstanding ticket(s) and the potential suspension of
the driver license privileges if the ticket(s) are not answered or paid. The preliminary
court-issued notice is a Failure-to-Appear or "FTA" notice, which is issued if a defendant
fails to pay the ticket or appear in court to dispute the ticket by the return date specified
on the ticket. A proposed suspension notice, or "PSUS" notice, is then issued if the
defendant fails to respond to the "FTA" notice. Finally, a judge signs a bench order
suspending the defendant's driving privileges, which is mailed by the court to the
defendant as well. Appendix D includes a flow chart of the notification process and
copies of court notices.
The court then transmits suspension details to the MVC electronically via the Automated
Traffic System, which links MVC with the 536 municipal courts. When the court-ordered
suspension is posted to the defendant's driver history record, a notice confirming the
suspension is prepared and mailed to the defendant by MVC. The confirming notice
provides details concerning the court(s) and ticket(s), and explains how to regain driving
Final Report 26
privileges by satisfying the outstanding tickets and paying MVC a $100 license
restoration fee.
Traffic and parking tickets can be paid in-person in the municipality where the ticket was
issued or by using the njmcdirect.com ticket information website maintained and
operated by AOC. According to AOC, approximately eighteen percent of all eligible
tickets are paid on-line via the njmcdirect.com website. In addition, it is critical to note
that the law requires that offenders who are indigent or receiving public benefits be
allowed to pay fines on an installment basis for a period not to exceed 12 months.
According to court officials, payment plans for those that cannot pay the full amount are
common, but cannot be arranged unless a defendant appears in court.
In May 2004, 68,614 suspended drivers had at least one active suspension for failing to
appear in court to answer/satisfy a parking ticket. One third, or 22,738, were
suspended for only parking offenses. Of those, 14,290 had only one POAA suspension
and no other suspensions for other reasons; and 8,448 had more than one POAA
suspension but no other suspensions for other reasons. This represents about eight
percent of all active suspended drivers.
Table 20 shows suspension rates and the distribution of drivers suspended under
POAA. Patterns of POAA suspension are even more pronounced than those observed
for suspensions due to non-payment of insurance surcharge. The distribution of drivers
suspended for parking offenses in urban areas is significantly higher than in suburban
and rural areas. Although 43 percent of licensed drivers reside in urban zip codes, 85
percent of drivers suspended for parking offenses live there. Even more significant, 59
percent of those suspended for parking offenses live in lower income areas, while only
16.5 percent of licensed drivers reside there. It is worth noting that parking restrictions
are far more common in urban areas. Consequently, urban residents have a greater
chance of receiving a summons for parking violations than suburban and rural
residents.
These patterns are similarly apparent when reviewing suspension rates among different
groups of drivers. For urban drivers of both genders, suspension rates due to parking
offenses are more than twice that of the Statewide average rates and are seven to ten
times greater than residents living in suburban and rural areas. For lower income
residents, suspension rates are more than ten times higher than Statewide rates for
both male and female drivers (Carnegie, forthcoming).
Final Report 27
Table 20 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Parking Offenses Adjudication
Act (POAA) (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 39,271 29,343 68,614 1.3% 0.9% 1.1%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 33,555 25,079 58,634 85% 2.5% 1.9% 2.2%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 4,468 3,270 7,738 11% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 1,085 899 1,984 3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Unknown 4 163 95 258 0%
TOTAL 39,271 29,343 68,614 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 888 530 1,418 2% 0% 0% 0%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 2,951 2,126 5,077 7% 0% 0% 0%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 12,307 9,403 21,710 32% 1% 1% 1%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 21,560 16,023 37,583 55% 4% 3% 4%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 1,402 1,166 2,568 4% 10% 8% 9%
Unknown 4 163 95 258 0%
TOTAL 39,271 29,343 68,614 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn in
accordance with the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 -
Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code
reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Failure to Comply with a Child Support Order
The law mandating license suspension for failing to comply with a child support order
was enacted originally in March 1996 and amended in March 1998 (N.J.S.A. 2A:17-
56.41a). The genesis of the law can be traced to the federal Personal Responsibility
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which required states to have statutes
suspending the driver’s license of those who owed outstanding child support.
The law allows for suspension under the following conditions: failure to pay child
support for a period of 6 months or more; failure to provide health coverage for the child
for 6 months; or if the obligor fails to respond to a subpoena related to a paternity test or
child support action. An obligor has 30 days from the postmark date of the notice to
take the required action or make a request for a court hearing. It is critical to note that if
the suspension will result in a significant hardship, a 12-month payment plan can be
arranged with the court once 25 percent of the arreared monies are paid.
Final Report 28
In New Jersey, a suspension for failing to comply with a child support order becomes
effective by operation of law upon the issuance of a child support-related warrant. The
suspension may be terminated when the person who owes child support pays the
amount due or otherwise satisfies the court's child support order, and pays the MVC
license restoration fee. Recent statistics indicate that there were 24,613 suspensions
for failing to comply with a child support order in 2004 and 25,506 in 2003.
Table 21 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a child
support order (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 21,763 2,131 23,894 0.7% 0.1% 0.4%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 13,358 1,058 14,416 60% 1.0% 0.1% 0.5%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 5,265 632 5,897 25% 0.5% 0.1% 0.2%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 3,044 430 3,474 15% 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Unknown 4 96 11 107 0%
TOTAL 21,763 2,131 23,894 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 274 30 304 1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 1,702 182 1,884 8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.1%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 8,405 912 9,317 39% 0.6% 0.1% 0.3%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 10,546 934 11,480 48% 2.1% 0.2% 1.2%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 740 62 802 3% 5.4% 0.4% 2.8%
Unknown 4 96 11 107 0%
TOTAL 21,763 2,131 23,894 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
failing to comply with a child support order (FPCS); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density
calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference
file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
In May 2004, almost 24,000 suspended drivers had at least one suspension for failing to
comply with a child support order. Of those, about 13 percent or 3,053 drivers had only
one active suspension for this reason with no other suspensions for any other reason.
As was the case with POAA suspensions and suspension for failing to pay insurance
surcharge, a disproportionate number of drivers suspended for failing to comply with a
child support order reside in urban and lower income areas (see table 21).
Once again, while 43 percent of licensed drivers reside in urban zip codes, 60 percent
of drivers suspended for failing to pay child support live there. Fifty one percent of
those suspended for child support reasons live in lower income areas, while only 16.5
Final Report 29
percent of all licensed drivers reside there. Failure to pay child support suspension
rates for drivers residing in lower income areas are ten times higher than the Statewide
average for all drivers suspended for failing to pay child support (Carnegie,
forthcoming).
Failure to Maintain Insurance
New Jersey became a compulsory insurance state in January 1973. A motor vehicle
may not be registered or, if already registered, may not be operated, unless it is covered
by specified limits of liability insurance coverage (N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1). If convicted of
violations of the compulsory insurance statute, uninsured drivers/owners are suspended
by the courts pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2. The current penalty for a
first offense includes a mandatory one-year license suspension, a fine, and a period of
community service. An MVC insurance surcharge is also imposed upon such offenders.
In addition, MVC enforces the law by means of the Uninsured Motorist Identification and
Notification System (UMIS), administered by the New Jersey Office of Information
Technology. Every month, insurance companies report auto insurance policies
canceled or not renewed because of non-payment of policy premiums. The companies
also report new business, replacement coverage, and reinstatement of policies without
breaks in coverage.
One time each month, this clearinghouse identifies to MVC the vehicles affected by
canceled policies not replaced by new coverage. MVC edits this data to determine if
the target vehicles have been taken off the road, re-registered out-of-state, reported
stolen or sold, or have lapsed registrations, and plates surrendered. Any target vehicle
with current registration and plates is linked to its owner who receives a notice of
scheduled suspension allowing 30 days to produce proof of current insurance or
surrender of registration and plates. If the owner complies, the action is canceled. If
there is no response, the owner's registration privilege is suspended indefinitely and
MVC schedules the suspension of driving privileges effective in 30 days. Once both
driving and registration privileges are suspended, they will not be restored until the
owner complies with the above-mentioned requirements and pays MVC a $100
restoration fee for each privilege affected.
UMIS has been in operation since 1992, and since that time, over one million initial
scheduled suspensions have been issued. Recent statistics indicate that court ordered
suspensions for operating an uninsured vehicle numbered 9,047 in 2004 and 9,718 in
2003. MVC initiated 46,559 and 58,509 suspensions for failing to maintain proper
insurance in calendar years 2004 and 2003 respectively.
In May 2004, 53,252 suspended drivers had active suspensions for failing to maintain
proper insurance. Of those, 14,698 or 28 percent had only one active suspension for
Final Report 30
this reason and no other suspensions for any other reason. Table 22 shows
suspension rates and the distribution of drivers suspended for failing to maintain proper
insurance. Drivers suspended for this reason are more heavily concentrated in urban
and low-income areas than licensed drivers as a whole. Again, more than 60 percent of
drivers suspended for insurance reasons reside in urban areas. Forty percent reside in
lower income zip codes.
Table 22 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to maintain proper
insurance (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 34,641 18,611 53,252 1.1% 0.6% 0.9%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 21,860 11,082 32,942 62% 1.7% 0.8% 1.2%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 8,391 4,796 13,187 25% 0.7% 0.4% 0.6%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 4,204 2,638 6,842 13% 0.7% 0.4% 0.6%
Unknown 4 186 95 281 1%
TOTAL 34,641 18,611 53,252 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 1,131 606 1,737 3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 4,311 2,324 6,635 12% 0.6% 0.3% 0.4%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 14,712 8,413 23,125 43% 1.0% 0.6% 0.8%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 13,524 6,799 20,323 38% 2.7% 1.4% 2.1%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 777 374 1,151 2% 5.6% 2.5% 4.0%
Unknown 4 186 95 281 1%
TOTAL 34,641 18,611 53,252 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
failing to maintain proper insurance (06B2+ICRG+ICLC); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 -
Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code
reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Similar to the patterns observed for other primarily money-related reasons for
suspension, there appears to be a relationship between suspension rates for failing to
maintain proper insurance and income. Failure to maintain insurance suspension rates
for drivers residing in lower income zip codes are almost seven times higher than the
Statewide average rates for that offense (Carnegie forthcoming).
Final Report 31
Comprehensive Drug Reform Act (CDRA)
The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16) previously required
mandatory driver’s license suspension for those convicted of an offense involving a
controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or drug paraphernalia. This law was enacted in
1987 in response to a federal law requiring states to enact license suspension for drug
offenses as a condition of continuing to receive certain federal funds (e.g., Temporary
Aid to Needy Families and others).
Federal requirements in this regard allow states several options for compliance. These
include: 1) require driver’s license suspension in all CDS cases; 2) require driver’s
license suspension in CDS cases unless there are “compelling circumstances
warranting an exception”; and 3) certification by the Governor and the State Legislature
that they are opposed to enacting such a law. Until January 5, 2006, New Jersey law
required drivers’ license suspension in all CDS cases. On January 5, 2006, the New
Jersey Legislature passed an amendment to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16 authorizing courts to
refrain from imposing driver’s license suspension on defendants convicted of CDS
offenses if “compelling circumstances” exist.
Table 23 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Drug offenses under the
Comprehensive Drug Reform Act (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 28,174 4,878 33,052 0.9% 0.2% 0.5%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 19,097 3,181 22,278 67% 1.4% 0.2% 0.8%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 6,157 1,152 7,309 22% 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 2,788 525 3,313 10% 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Unknown 4 132 20 152 0%
TOTAL 28,174 4,878 33,052 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 416 66 482 1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 2,081 413 2,494 8% 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 9,824 1,945 11,769 36% 0.7% 0.1% 0.4%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 14,447 2,190 16,637 50% 2.9% 0.4% 1.7%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 1,274 244 1,518 5% 9.2% 1.6% 5.3%
Unknown 4 132 20 152 0%
TOTAL 28,174 4,878 33,052 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
convictions under the Comprehensive Drug Reform Act (CDRA); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3
- Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code
reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Final Report 32
The MVC serves a purely administrative function regarding CDRA suspensions. MVC
actions are limited to confirming suspension ordered by the courts. In 2003 and 2004,
MVC confirmed 23,131 and 20,567 CDRA suspensions respectively. In May 2004,
33,052 suspended drivers had at least one active CDRA suspension. Of those, 4,199
or 12 percent had only one CDRA suspension and no other suspensions for any other
reason.
Table 23 shows suspension rates and the distribution of drivers with CDRA
suspensions. Once again, drivers suspended for this reason are more heavily
concentrated in urban and low-income areas. Sixty seven percent of drivers suspended
for drug offenses reside in urban areas. Fifty five percent reside in lower income zip
codes. CDRA suspension rates for drivers residing in lower income zip codes are
seven to ten times higher than the Statewide average rates (Carnegie forthcoming).
Failure to appear in court
As noted earlier in this report, driver’s license suspension as a result of failing to appear
in court (FTA) for reasons other than parking offenses is the third most frequent
suspension ordered or confirmed by MVC each year. FTA suspensions can occur for
both motor vehicle moving violations and for other violations of municipal ordinances.
The process for suspensions related to failure to appear in court for moving violations is
generally as follows: The offender is ordered to appear in court. If s/he fails to appear,
the judge can issue an arrest warrant. This course of action is rarely pursued. More
typically, a Failure to Appear Notice (FTA) is generated and sent to the offender. If s/he
fails to address the FTA within 30 days, the courts send the FTA to MVC who initiate the
administrative suspension process. MVC provides FTA moving violation offenders 60
days to resolve the issue.
In terms of suspension for failure to appear for a non-traffic matter such as a local
ordinance violation, a warrant is most typically issued; however, if the court has the
license number of the offender, suspension can also be ordered. The MVC serves a
purely administrative function regarding FTA suspensions for non-driving reasons. Its
actions are limited to confirming suspension ordered by the courts. In 2004, MVC
confirmed 15,316 suspensions ordered by the courts because defendants failed to
appear to answer a summons for non-driving reasons other than parking offenses.
In 2004, MVC imposed 105,971 suspensions ordered against drivers who failed to
appear in court to answer a summons for a moving violation. In May 2004, 119,733
suspended drivers had at least one suspension for failing to appear in a court of law to
answer/satisfy a summons issued for a motor vehicle moving violation. This represents
41 percent of all drivers with active suspensions. While drivers suspended for FTA on a
moving violation are not technically being suspended as a direct result of their driving
Final Report 33
behavior, it is important to note that the underlying reason for them being called to court
is because they violated a traffic law.
Table 24 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to
answer a summons for a motor vehicle moving violation (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 90,011 29,722 119,733 3.0% 0.9% 1.9%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 63,180 20,439 83,619 70% 4.8% 1.5% 3.1%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 18,541 6,263 24,804 21% 1.6% 0.5% 1.0%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 7,851 2,888 10,739 9% 1.4% 0.5% 0.9%
Unknown 4 439 132 571 0%
TOTAL 90,011 29,722 119,733 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 1,978 650 2,628 2% 0.5% 0.2% 0.4%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 8,556 2,860 11,416 10% 1.1% 0.4% 0.7%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 34,255 11,676 45,931 38% 2.4% 0.8% 1.6%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 41,751 13,378 55,129 46% 8.5% 2.7% 5.6%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 3,032 1,026 4,058 3% 22.0% 6.9% 14.2%
Unknown 4 439 132 571 0%
TOTAL 90,011 29,722 119,733 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
failing to appear in a court of law to answer/satisfy a summons issued for a motor vehicle moving violation (FSFA);
2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US
Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code
data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Table 24 shows suspension rates and the distribution of drivers suspended for FTA for
moving violations. As shown in the table, the distribution of drivers suspended for this
reason is disproportionately high in urban and lower income areas. While 46 percent of
licensed drivers live in urban areas, 70 percent of those suspended for FTA on moving
violations reside there. Similarly, only 16.5 percent of the State’s licensed drivers reside
in lower income zip codes, while 49 percent of drivers suspended for FTA on moving
violations live there.
These patterns are also evident when reviewing suspension rates for this offense.
Suspension rates for drivers residing in urban areas are three times higher than for
drivers living in suburban and rural areas. Suspension rates for drivers residing in lower
income zip codes are seven times higher than residents living in higher income areas
(Carnegie, forthcoming).
Final Report 34
Table 25 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to
answer a summons issued for other non-driving reasons, excluding POAA (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 19,104 6,181 25,285 0.6% 0.2% 0.4%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 10,516 3,326 13,842 55% 0.8% 0.2% 0.5%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 5,654 1,809 7,463 30% 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 2,833 1,014 3,847 15% 0.5% 0.2% 0.3%
Unknown 4 101 32 133 1%
TOTAL 19,104 6,181 25,285 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 390 125 515 2% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 2,166 669 2,835 11% 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 8,964 2,851 11,815 47% 0.6% 0.2% 0.4%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 7,157 2,377 9,534 38% 1.5% 0.5% 1.0%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 326 127 453 2% 2.4% 0.9% 1.6%
Unknown 4 101 32 133 1%
TOTAL 19,104 6,181 25,285 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
failing to appear in a court of law to answer/satisfy a summons issued for non-driving reason other than POAA
(COFA); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers; 3 - Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000
US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip code reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code
data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
In May 2004, 25,285 suspended drivers had at least one suspension for failing to
appear in a court to answer/satisfy a summons issued for violations of municipal
ordinance other than moving violations and parking (i.e., FTA for non-driving reasons).
This figure represents approximately nine percent of all drivers with active suspensions.
Table 25 shows suspension rates and the distribution of drivers suspended for FTA for
non-driving reasons. As shown in the table, the distribution of drivers suspended for
FTA associated with non-driving offenses is once again higher in urban and lower
income areas. While 46 percent of licensed drivers live in urban areas, 55 percent of
those suspended for FTA on non-moving violations reside there. Similarly, only 16.5
percent of the State’s licensed drivers reside in lower income zip codes, while 40
percent of drivers suspended for FTA on non-moving violations live there. Suspension
rates for drivers residing in urban areas are 1.6 times higher than for drivers living in
suburban and rural areas. Suspension rates for drivers residing in lower income zip
Final Report 35
codes are almost four times higher than for residents living in higher income areas
(Carnegie forthcoming).
Failure to comply with a court-ordered installment plan
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-203.1, any defendant convicted of a traffic or parking
offense shall, upon a satisfactory showing of indigency or participation in a governmentbased
income maintenance program, be permitted by the court to pay the fine in
installments. According to the statute, the courts have authority to set the amount and
frequency of each installment, as long as the final installment is due no later than 12
months from the date of conviction.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-203.2, if the defendant fails to comply with any of the
terms of the installment order, the court may, in addition to any other penalties it may
impose, order the suspension of the defendant's driver's license. Each year, the MVC
confirms an average of 70,000 suspensions ordered by the courts for defendants that
fail to make payments on court ordered installment plans. In terms of overall annual
volume, this is the fourth most frequent reason for suspension. In May 2004, more than
75,000 suspended drivers had at least one active suspension for this reason.
As shown in table 26, the distribution of drivers suspended for failing to comply with a
court ordered installment plan is higher in urban and lower income areas than the
distribution of licensed drivers in these areas. While 58 percent of drivers suspended
for failing to make payments on an installment plan reside in urban areas, only 43
percent of the State’s licensed drivers live there. Similarly, 43 percent of drivers
suspended for this reason live in lower income zip codes. Only 16.5 percent of licensed
drivers live in lower income areas.
Suspension rates for drivers suspended for failing to comply with a court ordered
installment plan living in urban areas are two times higher than for those living in
suburban and rural areas; and rates for those living in lower income zip codes are more
than 4 times higher than for those living in higher income areas.
Final Report 36
Table 26 - Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a court
ordered installment payment plan (May 2004)
Suspended Drivers 1 Suspension Rates 2
Distribution
of licensed
drivers Male Female Total % of
total Male Female Total
Statewide 58,135 17,042 75,177 1.9% 0.5% 1.2%
By Population Density 3
Urban (>800 p/sq mi) 43% 34,303 9,611 43,914 58% 2.6% 0.7% 1.7%
Suburban (200-800 p/sq mi) 38% 15,279 4,632 19,911 26% 1.3% 0.4% 0.8%
Rural (<200 p/sq mi) 19% 8,217 2,708 10,925 15% 1.5% 0.5% 0.9%
Unknown 4 336 91 427 1%
TOTAL 58,135 17,042 75,177 100%
By HH Income Class 5
High (>$85,000) 12% 1,075 306 1,381 2% 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Middle High ($65,001 - $85,000) 25% 5,794 1,658 7,452 10% 0.8% 0.2% 0.5%
Middle ($40,001 - $65,000) 46% 25,663 7,943 33,606 45% 1.8% 0.6% 1.2%
Low ($20,000 - $40,000) 16% 24,043 6,737 30,780 41% 4.9% 1.4% 3.1%
Low-Low(<$20,000) 0.5% 1,224 307 1,531 2% 8.9% 2.1% 5.3%
Unknown 4 336 91 427 1%
TOTAL 58,135 17,042 75,177 100%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: 1 - Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have their driving privilege withdrawn for
failing to with a court ordered installment payment plan (FCIO); 2 - Ratio of suspended drivers to licensed drivers;
3 - Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census; 4 - Records could not be matched to zip
code reference file; 5 - Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census
Special Note: 1,788 records could not be matched to zip code reference file
Final Report 37
SECTION THREE: THE IMPACTS OF DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION
As described in detail in section two, driver’s license suspension is used as both a
sanction to punish undesirable behavior(s), such as driving under the influence of drugs
or alcohol and as a tool to encourage compliance with socially desirable behavior, such
as paying fines and surcharges and making child support payments. While it is obvious
that the threat of license suspension is intended to have deterrent as well as coercive
affects, the actual suspension of someone’s driving privileges may have collateral and
unintended consequences. This section describes some of the collateral and
unintended consequences that result from license suspension as documented through
survey research, public comment received by the Task Force, and input received
through roundtable discussions and interviews conducted on behalf of the Task Force.
Suspended driver survey
In December 2004, researchers at Rutgers University conducted a survey of suspended
drivers. The purpose of the survey was to develop a more detailed demographic profile
of suspended drivers, to document the collateral and unintended impacts of license
suspension, and to gauge public opinion regarding restricted-use license programs.
Areas of questioning included: suspension history; impacts of suspension on
employment, income, job performance, travel behavior; costs of suspension and ability
to pay; psychological impacts; opinions regarding various aspects of restricted-use
license programs; and personal characteristics related to race, gender, income,
education, and familial status.
Surveys were mailed to 5,000 New Jersey drivers who were currently or had previously
been suspended, as well as to 2,500 drivers who had never been suspended. Three
hundred eighty drivers with a history of suspension and more than 700 drivers who were
never suspended returned the survey (Carnegie forthcoming).
The following is a summary of key findings from the survey:
?? More than half (51 percent) of the survey respondents with a history of suspension
were or had been suspended for non-driving related reasons.
?? Survey respondents with a history of suspension were more likely to be low income
(household income less than $30,000); younger (under 55 years of age); single; less
educated; and non-white. In addition, drivers with a history of suspension were
more likely to live in urban areas and to have children under the age of 18 living at
home. While no causal relationships between these variables and suspension were
confirmed by the survey analysis, when controlled for the effect of other independent
variables, each of these variables remained highly correlated with license
suspension.
Final Report 38
These findings are consistent with the patterns of suspension observed as part of
the analysis of detailed suspension statistics presented in section 2.
?? The following employment effects on suspended drivers were documented by the
survey (see tables 27 and 28):
- 42 percent of survey respondents with a history of suspension lost their jobs
when they had their driving privileges suspended. Job loss was experienced
across all income and age groups; however it was most significant among
low-income and younger drivers.
- 45 percent of those that lost their job because of the suspension could not
find another job. This was true across all income and age groups but most
pronounced among low-income and older drivers.
- Of those that were able to find another job, 88 percent reported a decrease in
income. This was true in all income groups and age groups but most
significant among low-income drivers.
- More than half (58 percent) of those with a history of suspension reported that
the suspension negatively impacted their job performance. This was true
across all income and age groups.
Table 27 – Economic impacts of license suspension across income groups
Low Income Middle Income High Income
(Under
$30,000)
($30,000 to
$100,000-)
(Over
$100,000)
Economic Impact
(N=102) (N=174) (N=52)
Job status: Not able to keep job after suspension 64% 33% 17%
Job search: Unable to find new job after suspension (if not
able to keep job after suspension)
51% 37% 13%
Income: negatively affected income (if not able to keep job
after suspension)
96% 87% 86%
Job performance: Suspension negatively affected job
performance
66% 50% 60%
Insurance costs: Not able to pay increased insurance costs 65% 48% 21%
Other costs:
Experienced other costs related to suspension
64%
61%
51%
Not able to pay other costs? 90% 68% 33%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Final Report 39
?? Other economic impacts included the following (see tables 27 and 28):
- More than half of those with a history of suspension reported that they could
not afford the increased cost of auto insurance resulting from their
suspension. This was true across all income groups but was much more of a
problem for low-income and younger drivers, and much less of a problem for
higher income and older drivers.
- Two-thirds of respondents with a history of suspension reported experiencing
other costs (in addition to increased costs for insurance) resulting from their
suspension. Approximately three-quarters of these respondents indicated
they could not afford the additional costs. Again, this was true across all
income and age groups but the impacts were greatest among low-income
drivers. Examples of other costs cited by survey respondents include: MVC
insurance surcharges, license reinstatement fees, court fees, legal fees, costs
associated with obtaining alternative transportation during the time of
suspension, and costs associated with participating in alcohol education
programs.
Table 28 – Economic impacts of license suspension across age groups
Economic Impact 18-24 years 25-54 years 55 and up
Job status: Not able to keep job after suspension 62% 39 % 39%
Job search: Unable to find new job after suspension (if not
able to keep job after suspension)
29% 39% 90%
Income: negatively affected income (if not able to keep job
after suspension)
89% 90% 75%
Job performance: Suspension negatively affected job
performance
59% 58% 55%
Insurance costs: Not able to pay increased insurance costs 79% 49% 35%
Other costs:
Experienced other costs related to suspension
63%
59%
64%
Not able to pay other costs? 82% 75% 60%
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
?? Most survey respondents with a history of suspension also reported experiencing
psychological and social impacts associated with license suspension:
- 85 percent of those with a history of suspension noted that they “often” or
“sometimes” thought about the suspension when not intending to.
- 72 percent reported that any reminder of their suspension brought back
negative feelings about it.
Final Report 40
- 69 percent felt ashamed of their suspension; and 68 percent noted they were
embarrassed to tell anyone about their suspension.
- 81 percent reported experiencing a loss of freedom.
- 83 percent experienced increased stress.
- 74 percent reported that suspension placed a strain on family, friends and
colleagues.
- 46 percent reported lacking a form of identification.
?? Controlling for the effects of income and age, male drivers with a history of
suspension were 2.6 times more likely to lose their jobs because of the suspension
than female drivers.
?? Male drivers were also more likely to experience negative psychological and social
impacts from suspension compared to female drivers. However, there were no
significant differences observed between the two groups in terms of finding a new
job, income performance after suspension, or experiencing other economic effects
such as increased costs of insurance and other suspension-related costs.
?? Although race was highly correlated with having a history of suspension, there were
no significant differences between whites and non-whites relative to employment,
economic, psychological or social impacts of suspension.
?? Residential location was also highly correlated with having a suspension history;
however, with one exception, there were no significant differences observed
between drivers living in urban, suburban or rural areas relative to the impacts of
suspension. The one exception involved suspended drivers living in rural areas.
This group was more likely to report that their suspension put a strain on family,
friends and colleagues.
Public testimony and comments
Many of the survey findings reported above were confirmed by individuals that provided
public testimony or comments to the Task Force. The following is a summary of
findings from the testimony/comments received:
?? License suspension has many personal and family impacts. For example,
suspended drivers, regardless of the reason for their suspension, reported
experiencing numerous difficulties meeting personal and family responsibilities
Final Report 41
during the time they were suspended. Many emphasized the necessity of being able
to drive in order to meet the needs of daily life.
?? The suspension of a spouse or close relative living at home can have a significant
impact on the entire family, including children and other dependents who typically
rely upon the suspended driver to meet their daily transportation needs for purposes
related to school, medical appointments and other essential trips. As one individual
remarked, it was she who felt the burden and impacts most of her spouse’s license
suspension, since she had to take on numerous additional duties for her spouse and
children during the suspension period.
?? The economic impacts associated with license suspension, particularly for lowincome
individuals were frequently reported. These impacts were noted even by
individuals who requested and received payment plans. Those who testified
explained that meeting payment plan requirements can be overwhelming when
having to make difficult choices between paying rent and utilities, buying food, and
making required payments. For example, even a relatively low monthly payment
requirement can be too burdensome for individuals on public assistance.
?? Auto insurance costs increase as a result of license suspension. This was true
whether drivers were suspended for driving or non-driving reasons. Many of those
that testified or provided comments explained that following license restoration they
were still unable to drive legally because they could not afford the increased cost of
auto insurance.
?? A number of those that testified or provided comments described a “vicious cycle”
created by license suspension. For example, after being suspended, a driver is
unable to secure or maintain employment. Consequently, they cannot pay their
fines, fees and surcharges. This in turn leads to more fines and further difficulty in
having driving privileges restored. This cycle was referenced by both suspended
drivers as well as those representing broader interests, such as the Newark/Essex
Construction Careers Program; First Occupational Center; Volunteers of America;
Atlantic City Department of Health and Human Services; and the Alliance to End
Homelessness in Mercer County.
?? A number of individuals providing testimony and/or comments noted that license
suspension can have economic effects that go beyond impacts to the individual and
family. They suggested that limitations on an individual’s mobility, such as that
which occurs after license suspension, can limit the labor force available to fill jobs in
some areas for certain types of jobs. For example:
- License suspension can limit the labor force available to fill jobs in key
industries, such as home health care, motor vehicle sales and services, and
Final Report 42
the construction trades, which require a valid license as a condition of
employment.
- In addition, many employers use possession of a valid driver’s license as a
pre-qualifying “screening” question. This may unnecessarily limit the
available labor force when driving a motor vehicle is not integral to job
responsibilities.
?? The following other potential economic impacts were noted:
- Fewer drivers may result in less automobile related purchases for gas,
service and insurance, which in turn results in decreased tax revenue for the
State.
- Drivers with suspended licenses that are unable to secure gainful
employment or who are forced to take jobs that pay less may require public
assistance payments, which is a cost to the State and its taxpayers.
?? Various drivers suspended for DUI reasons, as well as members of their families,
testified regarding the unique hardships resulting from the long duration of DUI
suspensions. Several individuals testified that the prolonged period of suspension
has impeded their ability to become functioning members of society. Others
suggested that it was unfair that suspension laws do not provide for “time off for
good behavior,” which could provide an incentive to continue controlling their
addiction problems as well as help them secure better employment.
?? In addition, a number of individuals testified regarding the hardships associated with
suspensions for failing to pay child support. Specifically, they noted that license
suspension limits employment options, which in turn limits a person’s ability to meet
outstanding support obligations. This creates barriers to family reunification.
?? Finally, a number of individuals provided testimony and comments regarding the
unique challenges facing parolees and inmates exiting the prison system. This
population faces many obstacles related to driver’s license suspension, including an
immediate need for photo identification for employment and other general purposes.
In addition, many individuals have accumulated significant fines/debt related to their
license suspensions during their incarceration. They cannot afford to repay the debt
or even make small payments when released because they are often faced with
conflicting financial needs.
Final Report 43
SECTION FOUR: RESTRICTED-USE DRIVER’S LICENSE PROGRAMS
In 2004, researchers at Rutgers University completed an inventory of state practices
related to license suspension and the use of restricted-use license programs in other
states. Researchers found that conditional or restricted-use driver’s licenses are
available in 39 states and the District of Colombia. These licenses allow some or all
suspended/revoked drivers to receive limited driving privileges during the time they are
suspended. Table 29 provides a detailed summary of the restricted use license
programs used in other states.
In all cases, the programs were created by statute. In addition, administrative
code/regulations also help to guide implementation of the programs in approximately
half of the states. The programs in some states are relatively new, such as Hawaii and
Arkansas, which established hardship/restricted license programs in 2002 and 1996
respectively. However, in most states the programs have been in place for several
decades.
Program eligibility varies widely from state to state. Most states offer restricted-use
licenses to drivers for time delimited suspensions, such as those imposed for a first-time
DUI offense, for point accumulation and for other traffic violations after a specified
minimum period of suspension is served. Most often, the waiting period ranges from 30
to 90 days, although a few states require all conditional license applicants to serve half
of their suspension/revocation period prior to being considered eligible for the license.
In most states, conditional or restricted-use licenses are not available to drivers
suspended/revoked for multiple DUI offenses, negligent vehicular homicide, habitual
offenders and for failure to render aid. Furthermore, in most states, drivers suspended
for compliance reasons are not eligible. Drivers suspended for failing to maintain
insurance are eligible in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Alaska and the District of
Colombia. In addition, certain states, such as New York, Minnesota, Nebraska,
Wisconsin and Wyoming permit those suspended for failing to pay child support to
receive a conditional license. Finally, there are a few states, including Washington,
South Dakota and Arizona that permit the issuance of a conditional use license when a
driver is suspended for failure to pay fines and/or failure to appear in court.
Permitted travel and associated restrictions related to conditional use licenses also vary
by state. Some limit travel for employment purposes while others are more lenient and
allow travel for many other reasons including for medical purposes, school, child/elder
care, “homemaker” duties and travel to and from religious services.
All states with conditional or restricted-use license programs reported that enforcement
of license restrictions is primarily limited to law enforcement personnel during the
conduct of day to day traffic law enforcement. Some states also require participants to
Final Report 44
periodically return to court to demonstrate continued compliance; require employers to
notify the motor vehicle agency if the conditions of a participant’s employment change;
or conduct follow-up audits to verify a participant’s employment status.
Penalties for violating program restrictions most typically involve the cancellation of the
license and reinstatement of the original suspension or revocation. Some states also
extend the original suspension/revocation period, between several months to double the
original period. Tennessee noted that if a participant is convicted of violating program
restrictions, a fine is levied but the license is not rescinded. Oregon reported that those
who violate program restrictions may lose the hardship/probationary license and are not
eligible for another such license for a period of one year. Colorado reported that those
who are convicted of violating program restrictions lose the license and are not eligible
for a conditional license for any subsequent suspensions. Finally, program violators in
New York lose their conditional or restricted license and the period during which they
held the license is not credited when computing their compliance with the originally
specified suspension/revocation period.
Most states considered their conditional license programs to be “effective.” Officials in
Iowa specifically noted that their program has reduced the number of habitual offenders.
The State of Washington noted that while they do not have a procedure in place to track
the effectiveness of the program, only a small number of occupational/limited licenses
are ever cancelled.
Wisconsin is the only state to report having completed a comprehensive evaluation of
their occupational licensing program. In 2003, they issued a report that concluded the
program was successful because program participants were generally satisfied with
various aspects of the program and experts familiar with the use of Wisconsin’s
occupational licenses agreed that the occupational licenses reduced unemployment and
helped families avoid serious hardships. In addition, an analysis of motor vehicle
violation and crash data revealed that occupational license holders tended to receive
fewer citations and be involved in fewer accidents in the year after using occupational
licenses than in the year before using such licenses (Wisconsin Department of
Transportation 2003).
A recent survey of New Jersey drivers found that more than three-quarters of survey
respondents supported the creation of a restricted-use license program for at least
some suspended drivers under certain circumstances. Although support was greatest
among drivers with a history of suspension, 69 percent of those drivers that have never
been suspended expressed support for such a license. More than half of the
respondents thought that persons suspended for “money-related reasons” such as
failing to pay insurance surcharges should be eligible to receive a restricted use license.
Fewer respondents supported allowing those suspended for failing to pay child support
(39 percent) and failing to appear in court (28 percent) to receive such a license.
Final Report 45
The overwhelming majority (96 percent) of those respondents that supported the
creation of a restricted-use license favored using the license for employment purposes.
Three-quarters (75 percent) supported use of the license for medical purposes. About
two-thirds supported using the license for school purposes (68 percent) and for
child/elder care (65 percent). Slightly more than half (57 percent) supported using the
license for rehabilitation and counseling purposes and slightly less than half (46
percent) supported use of the license for personal/family needs (Carnegie, forthcoming).
Table 29: Summary of Restricted-use License Programs
Alaska
Arizona
? Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
? District of
Columbia
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Iowa
Kansas
? Louisiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Background and Eligibility
Differentiate b/w suspension & revocation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Title of mitigation program Limited Driver License Restricted Driving
Privilege
Restricted Driver
License
Restricted Driving
Permit
Conditional/Job-related
Probationary License Employment Permit Conditional/ Occupational
Driver License
Limited Occupational
License Limited License Hardship/Restricted
License
Restricted Driver
License
Restricted Driving
Permit
Temporary Restricted
License Restricted License Restricted License Restricted License Work/School Limited
License
Statute & administrative code reference
for program
AS 28.15.201 and AAC
Title 13, Chapt 4-8
ARS 28-3159 and AAC
R17-4-402
AS Title 5, Chapter 65
Section 120 CVC Section 13352.5 CRS 42-2-126 CSL Title 14-37a-1 and
Regs 14-37a
DC 21-2-27 Section
302.2733(a)(4) and Regs.
45
DCMR Title 18, Section
310 GC 40-5-64 HRC 286-109 IC 18-002(A), 49-325, 49-
326 and AC 39.02.70
Chapt. 625 ILCS 5/6 –
205 (c), 206 (c)3, 206.1
IC Chapt. 321.215 and
Regs. 761-615 KS Chapt. 8 Sec. 292 LRC 32.415.1 MCL 257.323c,
257.319(17) MS Chapt. 171.30
*Types of offenses eligible for program
1st DUI
1st & 2nd Failure to
maintain insurance
1st DUI
Point violations
?Some compliance issues
DUI offenders
1st Refusal to submit
Point violations
DUI offenders
Repeated traffic
convictions
Failure to maintain
insurance
1st DUI
Point violations
1st DUI
1st refusal to submit
Point violations
1st & 2nd DUI
Repeated traffic
convictions
Reckless driving
Point violations
?Some compliance issues
1st & 2nd DUI
Point violations
1st DUI
Point violations
1st DUI
Reckless driving
Point violations
Leaving the scene
1st & 2nd DUI
Repeated traffic
convictions
1st & 2nd DUI
Habitual traffic offenders
1st Drag racing
DUI convictions
Habitual traffic violators
Reckless driving
DUI convictions
Refusal to submit
Reckless driving
?Some compliance issues
1st DUI offenders
1st Refusal to submit
Habitual traffic
offenders
DUI & Refusal to submit
Habitual traffic offenders
Child support
*Types of offenses not eligible for program Refusal to submit
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
Refusal to submit
Habitual offenders
?Some compliance issues
2nd or more Refusal
?Compliance issues
Refusal to submit
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
Revoked licenses
?Compliance issues
DWLS
Reckless driving
Leaving the scene
?Compliance issues
Habitual traffic offenders
?Compliance issues
DUI
Reckless driving
Leaving the scene
3rd DUI
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
?Compliance issues
Refusal to submit
Vehicular manslaughter
?Compliance issues
?Compliance issues 3rd or more DUI
?Compliance issues ?Compliance issues ?Some compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
2nd or more Refusal
?Compliance issues
Fleeing law enforcement
?Compliance issues
Mandatory minimum waiting period for
program eligibility 1st DUI - 30 days 1st DUI - 3 months 2nd & 3rd DUI -
1 year 1st DUI - 30 days 1st DUI - 30 days Refusal - 3 months 1st DUI - 3 months
2nd DUI - 1 year None 2nd DUI - 1 year 1st DUI - 30 days 1st DUI - 30 days
1st DUI - 30 days
Under 21 DUI - 1 year
2nd or more DUI - 1 year
1st DUI - 30 days
2nd DUI - 1 year
1st DUI - 30 days
2nd or more DUI - 1 year 2nd & 3rd DUI - 1 year 1st DUI - 30 days
1st DUI - 15 days
2nd or more DUI -
90 days
Refusal - 180 days
Enrollment Process & Requirements
Application Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes - Child Support
Application and/or license fee $100 - DUI only N/A No fee $15 $5 No fee $10 N/A $25 N/A $35 $8 each $20 No fee $50 N/A N/A
In-person/phone interview No No Yes No Yes No No No No Courts No Yes No No Courts No Yes
Entity determining program(s) acceptance Agency & Courts Agency only Agency & Courts Agency only Agency only Agency only Agency only Agency only Agency only Courts only Agency & Courts Agency only Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Courts only Agency & Courts Agency only
Appeals process Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) No vendors No Yes - 2nd or more
DUI Court Discretion Court Discretion No Yes - 2nd DUI No Yes - 2nd DUI No Court Discretion No Yes - 2nd or more DUI Yes - 2nd or more DUI Court Discretion No No
Permitted Travel
Employment X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Education (self and/or dependent) X X X X N/A X X X X X X X
Substance abuse treatment X N/A X X X X X X X X
Medical (self and/or dependent) X X X X N/A X X X X X X X
Essential needs X X X N/A X X X
New Document Issued
Surrender license X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
License or permit w/ restrictions X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Authorization letter X X X X
Photo ID X X
Driving Restrictions
Purpose X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Geography X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Hours of operation X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Notification Of Eligibility
No notification X X X X
Mail from agency X X X X X X X X X X X
Courts X
Information on website X X X X
Program Administration
Licensed drivers 480,000 3.8 million 1.9 million 22 million N/A 2.3 million 570,000 N/A 6.1 million 787,820 1 million 8.4 million 2 million 1.9 million 3 million 7.1 million 3.6 million
Suspended/revoked drivers 27,213 N/A 101,500 N/A N/A 134,000 78,660 N/A N/A N/A 70,000 258,511 5,700 103,000 N/A not tracked 163,500
Program participants 485 N/A N/A N/A N/A 6,000 253 N/A 16,000 N/A 1,200 9,213 4,200 N/A N/A not tracked 16,560
Peer Advice/Comment Conditional permits
should go to first time
offenders only and the
program should be based
on statute. N/A
Statutes determining
participant eligibility must
be clear and explicit.
Design and administer the
program with clear
rules/restrictions.
N/A
Expressed mixed feelings,
but noted the value and
importance of the
program, especially due to
the lack of statewide
transportation options.
Long-term suspensions/
revocations are not
effective. Impose severe
burdens on offenders &
offenders are less likely to
pay fines/fees.
N/A N/A N/A
Programs should be based
upon statute and
administrative rules
allowing for
administrative ease by
providing objectivity.
Automation of the
restricted permit process is
necessary. Should also be
designed in a dynamic and
flexible manner so it can
adjust to potential
legislative changes.
Their program is effective
in reducing number of
habitual offenders and the
program’s eligibility is
expanding over time. N/A N/A
Issuance of a restricted
license should be based on
state statute and on the
type and prior frequency of
the conviction in question.
Eligibility criteria must be
clear and law
enforcement/courts should
be involved with program.
Advertising program is
beneficial.
Notes:
* - List not extensive, refer to full report
N/A - Information not available
? - Compliance issues include failure to pay fines and forfeitures, failure to appear, failure to maintain insurance, and child support
? - States also offering a payment reinstatement plan
Table 29: Summary of Restricted-use License Programs
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
? Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Dakota
? Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Background and Eligibility
Differentiate b/w Suspension & Revocation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Type of mitigation program Limited Driving
Privilege
Restricted/Probationary
License
Medical Hardship
License & Employment
Drive Permit
Restricted Driver
License
Conditional Use License
& Restricted Use License
Limited Privilege
License
Work/School Permit
Program
Limited Driving
Privileges Modified License Hardship/Probationary
License
Occupational Limited
License
Work/School Permit
Program Restricted License Essential Needs
License Restricted License Occupational and
Limited Driver License Occupational License Probationary/Job Related
License
Statute & administrative code reference
for program
MRS Title 19, Chapt.
302 Sec. 010 & 309
MCS 61-2-206 and
ARM 23.2.122
NS 60-4,130.1; 60-
4,130.2; 60-4,129; 60-
4,130
NRS 483.490, 483.270,
483.390 and NAS Chapt.
483.200
NYCL RUL-Article 21A
Sect. 530 and Regs. Part
134-CUL & Part 135-
RUL
NCGS 20-179.3 NDCC 39-06.1-10.1 and
Regs. 37.03 ORC 4510.021
OS Chapt 47-6-113 and
OAC Title 595,
Subchapt. 7,
Sect. 10-7-15
ORS 813.500, 807.240
& 270 & OAC 735-064-
0020
PCS Title 75, Chapt.
15:53 and PAC Chapt.
86.1-3
SDS 32-12-49.4 and
SDC 61.19
TS Title 55, Chapt. 50,
Sec. 502
TS 521.241; 521.242 and
TAC Chapt. 15 CV Title 18.2-271.1 RCW 46.20.391;
46.20.394
WS 343.10(2)(a)1 and
WAC Chapt.117
WS Title 31, Chapt. 7, Sec.
105 and WDOT 4182, Sec. 20
*Types of offenses eligible for program
DUI offenders
Point violations
Reckless driving
1st DUI
Reckless driving
Repeated traffic
violations
1st DUI
Point violations
Child support
1st DUI
Repeated traffic
violations
DUI offenders
Repeated traffic
convictions
?Some compliance
issues
1st DUI
1st Refusal to submit
Point violations
DUI offenders
Point violations
DUI offenders
Refusal to submit
Point violations
DUI violators
Reckless driving
Point violations
1st & 2nd DUI
1st & 2nd Refusal
Repeat traffic violations
Habitual offenders
1st DUI
1st & 2nd Refusal
Repeated traffic
convictions
?Some compliance
issues
1st & 2nd DUI
1st & 2nd Refusal
Point violations
?Compliance issues
1st & 2nd DUI
Point violations
?Some compliance issues
DUI offenders
Point violations
DUI offenders
Reckless driving
Repeat traffic convictions
1st DUI
?Compliance issues
DUI offenders
Habitual traffic
convictions
Child support
1st Drag racing
1st DUI
Point violations
Child support
*Types of offenses not eligible for program
Habitual traffic offenders
2nd or more refusal
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
Refusal to submit
?Compliance isseus
2nd or more DUI
Refusal to submit
?Compliance issues
Habitual traffic offenders
2nd or more DUI
?Compliance issues
Leaving the scene
Refusal to submit
?Some compliance
issues
2 or more DUI
Leaving the scene
?Compliance issues
Refusal to submit
Revoked licenses
?Compliance Issues
4th DUI
4th Refusal
?Compliance Issues
Vehicular homicide
?Compliance issues
Vehicular homicide
Underage DUI
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
Revoked licenses
?Some compliance
issues
Child support
3rd or more DUI
3rd Refusal
Fleeing law
?Some compliance issues ?Compliance issues
Refusal to submit
Vehicular homicide
?Compliance issues
Refusal to submit
2nd or more DUI
Habitual traffic offenders
Underage DUI
?Compliance issues
2nd or more DUI
Refusal to submit
?Compliance issues
Mandatory minimum waiting period for
program eligibility
1st DUI - 30 days
2nd DUI - 1 year None 1st DUI - 30 days 1st DUI - 45 days None 1st DUI - 30 days
1st refusal - 6 months
DUI - 30 days
Point violations-7 days
1st DUI - 15 days
2nd DUI - 30 days
3rd DUI - 6 months
2nd or more
DUI - 1 year
1st DUI - 30 days
2nd DUI - 90 days
1st Refusal- 90 days
1st DUI - 60 days
1st Refusal - 1 year
Certain DWLS - 3
months
None 2nd DUI - 1 year 2nd or more DUI -
90 days to 1 year
2nd DUI - 1 year
3rd DUI - 3 year 1st DUI - 30 days
2nd DUI - 60 days
3rd or more DUI-
90 days
None
Enrollment Process & Requirements
Application Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Application and/or license fee No fee N/A $45 N/A $75 N/A N/A No $150 $50 $50 N/A $67 $10 N/A $25 $40 $15
In-person/phone interview No No No No No No No No Yes - DUI or Points No No No No Yes - DUI No No No No
Entity determining program(s) acceptance Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency only Agency only Courts only Agency only Courts only Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency only Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency & Courts Agency only Agency only Agency only
Appeals process Yes No Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Cts No - DMV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Yes - 2nd or more DUI Court Discretion No Court Discretion Court Discretion No No vendors Court Discretion Yes - 2nd or more
DUI Yes Yes - Refusal to
submit No Yes - 2nd DUI Court Discretion Court Discretion 1st DUI &
required - 2nd or more DUI No Yes - 2nd or more
DUI No vendors
Permitted Travel
Employment X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Education X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Substance abuse treatment X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Medical X X X X X X X X X X X X
Essential needs X X X X X X X X X X
New Document Issued
Surrender license X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
License or permit w/ restrictions X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Authorization letter X X X X X X X
Photo ID
Driving Restrictions
Purpose X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Geography X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Hours of operation X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Notification Of Eligibility
No notification X X X X X X X X
Mail from Agency X X X X X X X
Courts X X X X X X X
Website X X X X X X X X X X X
Program Administration
Number of Licensed Drivers 3.5 million 450,000 1.3 million 1.5 million 11 miilion 5.5 million 457,000 8,728,546 2.3 million 2.6 million 8.3 million 550,000 4.2 million 15 million 5 million 4.3 million 3.7 million 455,000
Number of suspended/revoked drivers 320,344 31,931 53,539 N/A N/A N/A 27,000 611,064 81,040 N/A 600,000 N/A 246,000 430,000 13,200 for Points 364,000 403,586 15,000
Number of program participants 3,508 1,716 for DUI 738 1,499 60,297 6,000 747 N/A 3,269 5,897 N/A 240 by DMV 5,000 12,197 15,600-18,000 for DUI 36,400 29,445 3,000
Peer Advice/Comment Automated system is
very successful. Program
helps reduce the number
of people driving while
suspended by providing
them with viable options.
Program helps achieve
compliance while harsher
sanctions make offenders
more likely to violate
their
suspension/revocation.
N/A
Program is effective. A
program's statutory
language should be
simple and eligibility
made clear. N/A N/A
Regulations of program
should be based upon
statute and clear
administrative rules.
Implementation of
Limited Driving
Privileges has been
successful.
N/A N/A
The program is
difficult to enforce but is
necessary due to lack of
viable transit options.
If program is
implemented by both
agency and court, then a
driver record sharing
system must be in place
between both entities.
Their suspended/ revoked
driving population is often
frustrated why most
offenses other than DUI
are not eligible for the
restricted license.
To prevent fraud,
occupational licenses
should be issued as a
photo license.
Program eligibility should
be clear in statues, but if it
is too rigid, DMV flexibility
is sacrificed.
N/A
Program successful and
keeps people working.
License revocations are
overused and the Tax
Intercept program should
be used to collect unpaid
fines.
Eligibility for any conditional
license program should be very
specific.
Notes:
* - List not extensive, refer to full report
N/A - Information not available
? - Compliance issues include failure to pay fines and forfeitures, failure to appear, failure to maintain insurance, and child support
? - States also offering a payment reinstatement plan
Final Report 48
SECTION FIVE: DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS
The following recommendations were developed by the Task Force taking into
consideration the data and information provided to the Task Force and its
subcommittees by subject matter experts and outside researchers, public comment
received as part of its outreach activities, and deliberative discussions that took place at
each of its meetings. It is important to note that any changes to the State’s suspension
laws must consider what impact the change may have relative to the deterrent and
coercive effects of suspension and the potential effects the proposed changes may
have on State and municipal revenue.
Many of the State’s suspension laws are tied to compliance provisions, unrelated to
motorist safety, that generate significant revenue for State and municipal governments.
The two most notable examples are license suspension for non-payment of the MVC
insurance surcharge program and failure to appear in court to pay/satisfy a parking
ticket under the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act. In the case of the MVC insurance
surcharge program, revenue derived from the program has been used to secure bonded
debt until the year 2034.
The Task Force recommendations are intended to address the affordability and fairness
of license suspension in New Jersey while balancing the need to maintain the deterrent
and coercive effects license suspension provides as well as being sensitive to the
potential revenue impacts of certain proposals. The recommendations are numbered
for reference purposes only and are listed in no particular order:
1. Provide judges with more discretion in establishing time payment orders.
a. Amend N.J.S.A. 39:4-203.1 to provide the court with discretion to enter into
court-administered installment payment plans in excess of 12 months. In
addition, provide the court with the authority to a) suspend or vacate any
unpaid portion of court fines and fees assessed as a result of a conviction for
motor vehicle moving violation or parking offense if the individual is indigent
or participates in a government-based income maintenance program; and/or
b) order the person to perform community service or participate in any other
program authorized by law in lieu of the unpaid portion of the assessment.
2. Make payment of court-administered fines and time payments easier for
drivers.
a. Enhance the AOC NJMCdirect website to allow offenders to pay court
ordered time payments and to resolve tickets with outstanding warrants or
suspensions on-line. Provide NJMCdirect computer kiosks at MVC service
centers to facilitate one-stop resolution of suspension requirements. Include
information on the njmcdirect website informing customers how they may
resolve outstanding suspension issues with MVC. Over time, improve
Final Report 49
integration between MVC and AOC communication systems to allow drivers
to restore driving privileges that have been suspended for failure to appear in
court on-line. It should be noted that this recommendation has joint policy
implications for both MVC and AOC.
3. Amend the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act to permit suspension of vehicle
registration as an alternative to license suspension.
Currently, the courts have only two remedies to address a driver’s failure to appear
in court in response to a parking summons – driver’s license suspension and
issuance of an arrest warrant. License suspension is the less severe and generally
favored option. Given the potential impacts of license suspension on a driver’s
employment status and/or prospects, the courts should also have the option to
suspend a vehicle registration. Accomodation should be made to exempt fleet
vehicles.
4. Provide courts with greater discretion when adjudicating cases involving
failure to comply with a child support order.
a. Allow payment plans in excess of 12 months for those failing to pay child
support arrears.
b. To the extent permissible under Federal law, make license suspension for
failing to comply with a child support order discretionary when “compelling
circumstances” warrant an exception.
c. Support initiatives to increase compliance with child support payments
using driver’s license suspension as a remedy of last resort.
5. Amend N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 to provide courts with greater discretion regarding the
imposition of additional mandatory suspension time when drivers are
convicted of driving while suspended for non-driving reasons. Consider
whether the current fine amounts defined in the statute are appropriate given
the nature of each offense.
6. Make payment of outstanding MVC insurance surcharges and restoration fees
easier and more affordable for low income drivers.
a. Provide MVC with discretion to waive the 10 percent principal payment
threshold for license reinstatement based on the individual circumstances of
each case.
b. Provide MVC with greater discretion with regard to payment plan options for
new surcharges. Currently, new surcharge balances must be paid within one
year and only those with balances greater than $2,300 can enter into
payment plans that extend beyond 12 months. Payment plan options should
be permitted for up to 48 months or longer depending on the individual
Final Report 50
circumstances of each case. Payment plans of this length are now limited to
those drivers that have judgments filed against them in Superior Court.
c. Provide MVC with the authority to create periodic amnesty programs for
drivers with surcharges. The program should be specific regarding who may
participate based on the offense which resulted in the surcharge balance.
Consideration should also be given to providing program options for those
unable to pay the principal surcharge amount in full, as required as part of the
MVC’s 2003 amnesty program.
d. Allow deferment of payments and assessment of penalties for a certain period
of time if a driver is unemployed, incarcerated or has been suspended for an
extended period of time. Any payment deferment policies should include
protections to prevent abuse by habitual offenders.
e. Provide MVC with the discretion to reduce and/or waive the $100 license
restoration fee for “compelling reasons” and/or allow drivers to pay the $100
license restoration fee as part of a payment plan.
f. Allow license restoration to be satisfied at more MVC service center locations.
Currently, license restoration can only be accomplished at one of MVC’s four
regional service centers.
It should be noted that some of the above recommendations may have implications
in terms of future MVC revenue.
7. Conduct a revenue impact study to determine if lowering current surcharge
amounts would increase overall collection rates and maintain or increase
overall revenue from the insurance surcharge program.
8. Rename the Insurance Surcharge Program to reflect its current purpose as a
driver assessment penalty.
The Insurance Surcharge Program is no longer related to insurance. As such its
current name is misleading and confuses the public. While private insurance
companies appropriately charge greater premiums for drivers who have engaged in
dangerous driving behavior, this program assesses a supplemental fee or penalty on
drivers in addition to the fine associated with the original offense and in addition to
any increased insurance premium they may be charged. The new name should
more accurately reflect the program’s current function.
9. Increase public awareness and understanding of the insurance surcharge
program and the potential consequences and added costs of not paying the
surcharges.
a. Create and disseminate multi-lingual informational brochures, posters and
other materials about the program written to a 4th grade literacy level. Include
information on which offenses result in surcharges, surcharge amounts,
Final Report 51
payment plan options, and the consequence of not paying. Information
should be available via the Internet and at MVC service centers and should
be clearly communicated as part of driver education programs. In addition,
the information should be made available at schools, colleges, One-Stop
Career Centers, court houses, municipal buildings and other public facilities.
b. Develop a new point advisory notice to be sent to all drivers convicted of a
point carrying offense. The notice should indicate that the accumulation of six
or more points will result in the assessment of insurance surcharges.
10. Increase public awareness and understanding of the potential consequences
of motor vehicle violations, including: fine amounts (for frequent violations),
point accumulation, insurance surcharges and potential license suspension.
a. Create and disseminate multi-lingual informational brochures, posters and
other materials about the potential consequences of motor vehicle violations.
The materials should be written to a 4th grade literacy level. Information
should be available via the Internet and at MVC service centers and should
be clearly communicated as part of driver education programs. In addition,
the information should be made available at schools, colleges, One-Stop
Career Centers, court houses, municipal buildings and other public facilities.
b. Mail an informational notice including information on the consequences of
motor vehicle violations to drivers accumulating four or more points.
11. Conduct a comprehensive review of New Jersey’s current point system,
program of administrative sanctions and driver improvement programs to
determine the effectiveness of the programs relative to ensuring highway
safety.
a. Evaluate the effect of plea bargaining motor vehicle offenses on highway
safety. Special emphasis should be given to assessing the impact of N.J.S.A.
39:4-97.2, which created a new traffic violation, unsafe operation of a motor
vehicle, for which no points are assessed for first and second offenses. This
statute is frequently used by municipal courts to downgrade point carrying
moving violations as part of plea agreements.
b. Examine the effect of various administrative actions taken by MVC (e.g., point
advisory notices, mandatory driver improvement programs, notices of
scheduled suspension, and license suspension) on recidivism rates and
highway safety.
c. Review MVC sponsored Driver Improvement Programs and Defensive Driver
programs approved by MVC but offered by other organizations to rationalize
program content, requirements and point reduction benefits.
Final Report 52
d. Investigate programs used in other states to monitor driver behavior to
determine if they are more or less effective than New Jersey’s current
program.
12. Address issues that contribute to license suspensions for failing to maintain
insurance.
a. Amend N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2 to provide the courts with greater discretion when
considering cases involving operation of an uninsured vehicle. MVC currently
has discretion regarding license suspension when notification of insurance
lapse occurs administratively. The courts should be provided with similar
discretion in cases where proof of insurance can be provided at the time of
trial.
b. Increase awareness and understanding related to New Jersey’s alternative
motor vehicle insurance programs (i.e., “Dollar-a-day” and “Basic” insurance
coverage) among the general public and workforce development
professionals.
13. Regulate and/or limit insurance premium increases that are based on license
suspensions for non-driving reasons.
A recent survey of suspended drivers and numerous comments from members of
the public support the finding that suspended drivers are subject to increased
insurance premiums. Premium increases occur when drivers are suspended for
driving as well as non-driving reasons. The fairness of premium increases resulting
from suspension for non-driving reasons is questionable. The Department of
Banking and Insurance (DOBI) should investigate current industry practices in this
regard to determine if premium increases are justified.
14. Consider creating a restricted-use license program for drivers suspended for
financial reasons.
The Task Force recognizes that the best way to address the unintended
consequences of license suspension is to avoid the suspension of driving privileges
in the first place. As such, many of the Task Force recommendations are designed
to reduce the number of suspensions by (a) increasing public awareness regarding
how and why a driver’s license may be suspended, (b) improving suspension
notification procedures and documents to increase compliance with suspensionrelated
requirements before the suspension occurs, and (c) providing the courts and
MVC with more flexibility and greater discretion to address the economic and other
unique circumstances of each driver’s situation.
Although these recommendations may address affordability and fairness issues for
many suspended drivers, members of the Task Force recognize that for some
drivers, restoration of full driving privileges may still be limited by financial means.
As a result, the task force recommends the State consider creating a restricted use
license for drivers suspended for financial reasons. Under such a program, drivers
Final Report 53
unable to pay court-ordered installment plans, child support orders, and MVC
insurance surcharges should be given the opportunity to obtain a limited purpose,
restricted-use license for employment, job-training/education and self/dependent
medical purposes. Such a proposal is not intended for drivers whose licenses were
suspended for dangerous driving. The restricted use license proposed here would
improve the employment prospects for these drivers and thereby increase the
likelihood that they will be able to meet their financial obligations in the future and
improve the state’s ability to collect outstanding fines and fees.
The task force recognizes that there are a number of issues to be taken into account
in developing the specifics of a restricted use license proposal, including (a) the
effectiveness of other recommendations in eliminating economic hardship as a
reason for license suspension and (b) the administrative resources involved in
creating such a program.
15. Change license suspension notification documents to make them easier to
understand and include supplemental education materials to communicate the
seriousness of license suspension and its potential consequences.
a. Modify envelopes used to send suspension-related notifications to include
elements that communicate the importance of the material enclosed.
b. Include information with notices that conveys MVC’s openness and
willingness to assist its customers to address suspension issues.
c. Communicate essential information at an appropriate literacy level, including
the importance of contacting MVC to receive assistance in addressing
suspension issues.
d. Display clearly on all notices that multilingual assistance is available via the
telephone.
16. Improve communication with the public and increase awareness among
drivers facing license suspension that MVC has an administrative hearing
process available to address the individual circumstances of their
suspensions.
a. Develop public information materials explaining the nature of the
administrative hearing process, how to request a hearing and potential
outcomes. For example, explain that legal representation is not needed at
hearings and that the first step of the hearing process involves a pre-hearing
conference with a MVC representative.
b. Prepare all notices and public information materials at an appropriate literacy
level. Information should be reviewed annually to confirm its continued
accuracy and relevancy.
Final Report 54
c. Make clear that multilingual assistance is available upon request.
17. Undertake a sustained and systemized effort to provide social service
agencies, employment counseling agencies, One-Stop Career Centers,
Department of Corrections personnel, parole officers and support staff at
transitional facilities with the information, training and tools they need to more
effectively assist clients to address license suspension and restoration
issues.
a. Develop training curricula and materials and provide regular staff training
opportunities for employment counselors and others engaged in providing
services to low income individuals and inmates transitioning from prison.
b. Simplify the process through which employment counselors and others
engaged in providing services to low income individuals and inmates
transitioning from prison may obtain driver history abstracts. According to
MVC rule, government agencies are exempt from paying the $10 abstract fee.
18. Elevate the importance of dealing with license restoration issues as part of the
Department of Corrections discharge planning process.
a. Provide guidance on license restoration issues and procedures to those
working with the population exiting the prison system, so that those
individuals can provide counseling on the topic both before and following
inmate release.
19. Increase awareness among county administrators and social service agencies
that public assistance funds (e.g., TANF and other federal programs permitting
the use of funds for transportation purposes) can be used to pay surcharges,
fees and fines associated with license suspension as a means to promote
employment opportunities among eligible recipients. These funds are
currently administered at the discretion of county human service agencies;
however, very few counties use funds for these purposes.
a. Inform employment counselors and other social service providers that
surcharges can be assessed and paid as one-time assessments rather than
every three years, which permits greater use of public assistance funds for
license restoration purposes. The current exception to this practice is DUI
surcharge assessments.
20. Amend existing laws, policies and procedures governing address change
notification to increase the accuracy of MVC mailing address data.
Final Report 55
a. Implement a public education campaign designed to emphasize the law
requiring drivers to notify MVC of address changes and communicating
the potential consequences of not notifying MVC of address changes. If
possible, develop incentives to encourage compliance with the law.
b. MVC should work with the United States Postal Service to develop a
protocol for transmitting notification of address change requests submitted
to the postal service. Once a protocol is in place, MVC should develop a
procedure for confirming address changes with the driver. As needed,
MVC should work with legislators to amend applicable laws to facilitate
implementation of the new procedure.
21. Monitor the License Restoration Program of the Essex County Vicinage and
evaluate its effectiveness as a potential model for other jurisdictions.
Final Report 56
SECTION SIX: A FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Section five of this report presents a series of twenty detailed recommendations
addressing issues related to: court fines, fees, payment plans and discretion regarding
license suspension; the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act; the MVC insurance
surcharge program; the New Jersey Point system; public awareness and education;
insurance issues; as well as training for social service providers and others engaged in
assisting low income drivers and individuals transitioning from prison regarding license
suspension and restoration issues.
Implementing the recommendations made in this report will require the participation and
sustained commitment of many organizations, agencies and individuals. Potential
implementation partners include members of the New Jersey Legislature; a variety of
State agencies, including: the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), New
Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts(AOC), New Jersey Department of Human
Services (NJDHS); New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
(DOL), New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance(DOBI), New Jersey
Department of Corrections (DOC); county government, municipalities; a variety of
nonprofit and faith-based service and advocacy organizations, including but not limited
to the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the New Jersey Automobile Dealers
Association, the American Automobile Association (AAA), labor unions, and
construction trade organizations; and members of the judiciary and legal services
profession.
Table 30, presented on the following pages, provides a framework for implementation
by identifying potential implementation partners and specifying which entities might take
a leadership (identified with a ??) and/or supporting role (identified with a +) in
advancing specific proposals.
Final Report 57
Table 30 – Potential implementation partners
Recommendation Potential Implementation Partners
MVC AOC NJ
Legislature
Other
1. Provide judges with more discretion when
establishing time payment orders
+ ??
2. Make payment of court-administered fines
and time payments easier for drivers.
??
3. Amend the Parking Offenses Adjudication
Act to permit suspension of vehicle
registration as an alternative to license
suspension.
+ ?? Municipal government
4. Provide courts with greater discretion to
allow payment plans in excess of 12
months for those failing to pay child
support arrears and support initiatives to
increase compliance with child support
payments using license suspension as a
remedy of last resort.
+ ?? Department of Human
Services
5. Amend N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 to provide courts
with greater discretion regarding the
imposition of additional mandatory
suspension time when drivers are
convicted of driving while suspended for
non-driving reasons. Consider whether
the current fine amounts defined in the
statute are appropriate given the nature of
each offense.
+ ??
6. Make payment of outstanding MVC
insurance surcharges and restoration fees
easier and more affordable for low income
drivers.
?? ??
7. Conduct a revenue impact study to
determine if lowering current surcharge
amounts would increase overall collection
rates and maintain or increase overall
revenue from the insurance surcharge
program.
?? State Universities
Department of Treasury
Final Report 58
Table 30 (cont) – Potential implementation partner
Recommendation Potential Implementation Partners
MVC AOC NJ
Legislature
Other
8. Rename the insurance surcharge program to
reflect its current purpose as a driver
responsibility assessment.
+ ??
9. Increase public awareness and understanding
of the insurance surcharge program and the
potential consequences and added costs of not
paying the surcharges.
??
10. Develop informational materials to increase
public awareness and understanding of the
potential consequences of motor vehicle
violations, including: fine amounts, point
accumulation, insurance surcharges and
potential license suspension.
??
11. Conduct a comprehensive review of New
Jersey’s current point system and driver
improvement programs to determine the
effectiveness of the programs relative to
ensuring highway safety.
?? State Universities
12. Address issues that contribute to license
suspensions for failing to maintain insurance.
+ ?? Department of Banking and
Insurance
13. Regulate and/or limit insurance premium
increases that are based on license
suspensions for non-driving reasons.
?? Department of Banking and
Insurance
14. Consider creating a restricted-use license
program for drivers suspended for financial
reasons.
+ ?? Non-profit social service,
employment & trade
organizations
15. Change license suspension notification
documents to make them easier to understand
and include supplemental education materials
to communicate the seriousness of license
suspension and its potential consequences.
??
Final Report 59
Table 30 (cont) – Potential implementation partners
Recommendation Potential Implementation Partners
MVC AOC NJ
Legislature
Other
16. Improve communication with the public
and increase awareness among drivers
facing license suspension that MVC has
an administrative hearing process
available to address the individual
circumstances of their suspensions.
??
17. Undertake a sustained and systemized
effort to provide social service agencies,
employment counseling agencies, One-
Stop Career Centers, Department of
Corrections personnel, parole officers and
support staff at transitional facilities with
the information, training and tools they
need to more effectively assist clients to
address license suspension/restoration
issues.
?? Department of Labor and
Workforce Development
Department of Human
Services
Department of Corrections
State Parole Board
Non-profit social service &
advocacy organizations
18. Elevate the importance of dealing with
license restoration issues as part of the
Department of Corrections discharge
planning process.
+ Department of Corrections
State Parole Board
Non-profit social service &
advocacy organizations
19. Increase awareness among county social
service agencies that public assistance
funds can be used to pay surcharges, fees
and fines associated with license
suspension as a means to promote
employment opportunities among eligible
recipients.
+ County government
Non-profit social service &
advocacy organizations
Dept. of Human Services
Department of Labor and
Workforce Development
20. Amend existing laws, policies and
procedures governing address change
notification to increase the accuracy of
MVC mailing address data
?? ?? U.S. Postal Service
21. Monitor the License Restoration Program
of the Essex County Vicinage and
evaluate its effectiveness as a model.
?? + Essex County
Non-profit social service &
advocacy organizations
Final Report 60
REFERENCES
Carnegie, Jon. Forthcoming. “Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness
Study.” Report prepared by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers
University, New Brunswick, NJ, for the New Jersey Department of Transportation and
the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Trenton, NJ.
N.J.S.A. 39:2A-30
N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50
N.J.S.A. 39:3-40
N.J.S.A. 17:29 A-35
N.J.S.A. 39:4-139.2
N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.41a
N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1
N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2
N.J.S.A. 39:4-203.1-2
Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 2003. “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the
Occupational Licensing Program.” Report prepared by the Dieringer Research Group,
Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Madison,
Wisconsin. January 10.