Currently, New Jersey driver’s licenses can be suspended for failure to pay a traffic ticket or failure to show up in court to address the fine. The court notifies the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to suspend a person’s driving privileges until the debt is paid.
“For many New Jerseyans, having your driver’s license suspended can cause severe hardship. Many residents continue to drive to work and make money to pay the fine,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “If caught driving, they face possible arrest and potentially increasing their financial debt to the courts. It becomes a vicious cycle, hard on low–income families just trying to get ahead. It’s time to stop this decades-long practice.”
Assembly members Benjie Wimberly, Shavonda Sumter (Both D-Bergen, Passaic) and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) are sponsors of legislation (A-4527) that would eliminate the suspension of a person’s driver’s license as a penalty for failure to make required court appearances for outstanding parking tickets or failure to pay those tickets.
The bill cleared the Assembly, 75-2-0, on Thursday.
“Low-income and minority communities— hard-working residents who are working to make ends meet for their families— are affected by this penalty the most,” said Sumter. “License suspension makes it difficult for families to get to work or take their kids to school. Driving should not become a gamble over an unpaid parking ticket. One change in the law now will save many residents in the future from hundreds of dollars in debt over parking tickets.”
“Many residents have spent a lot of time and money addressing an unpaid parking ticket, just one,” said Reynolds-Jackson. “Paying a simple parking ticket for working-class residents can send their finances into a tailspin, even worse when their license is suspended for the unpaid ticket. Too many residents have been negatively affected by this requiring suspension. This bill will provide much-needed relief for many drivers.”
The bill also requires a motor vehicle registration suspension for failure to make more than five required court appearances related to outstanding parking tickets or for failure to pay more than five of those tickets.