(TRENTON) – Aiming to address the backlog of residents seeking certain services from the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) after the agency was closed for months due to COVID-19, a bill to make MVC services more accessible to elderly residents received final legislative approval on Thursday, passing the full Assembly 78-0 and Senate 39-0.
“While the pandemic put many things on hold, we still need the ability to get new driver’s licenses or register vehicles during this crisis,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), sponsor of the bill. “We have to do whatever it takes to fix the MVC, so you don’t have to camp out overnight or wait all day at an agency just to get these simple tasks done. This bill will give many drivers relief, while helping the MVC eliminate its backlog.”
The bill (A-4486) would allow the MVC to use stored photos to renew driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards for a maximum of 12 years. Stored photos for seniors over age 65 could be used indefinitely.
Additionally, the bill would allow the MVC to designate times each day or week to offer appointments for certain individuals, including seniors, during the COVID-19 emergency. The measure is sponsored by Benson and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle.
“Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19. As a result, many are exercising an abundance of caution when it comes to going out in public,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Allowing seniors to use stored photos to update their licenses will reduce the amount of trips they need to make to the MVC, and designating specific ‘senior hours’ at agencies will limit their exposure to the public during the pandemic.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.