Downey, Benson & Houghtaling Bill to Allow Drivers Who Pass Road Test to Operate Vehicles During COVID-19 Pandemic Clears Assembly Panels

(TRENTON) – Addressing the continued backlog of New Jersey residents waiting to get a driver’s license following the months-long closure of Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) offices amid COVID-19, legislation (A-4442) to allow drivers who have passed their road test to operate vehicles under the same restrictions as a probationary license for 60 days after passing a road test was approved Monday by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Probationary license restrictions include: no driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.; no more than one passenger in the vehicle with the driver; an identifying decal on the front and rear license plates for all probationary drivers under 21; and no use of cell phones, including hands-free. Some restrictions are subject to limited exceptions.

The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Daniel Benson (D-Middlesex) and Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth) released the following joint statement:

“When the Motor Vehicle Commission reopened agencies in June, an estimated 60,000 residents were waiting for road tests. The commission took swift action to address this backlog, including by bringing in 100 new examiners and setting up 11 temporary road test courses. However, reasonably speaking, it’s going to take some time before new drivers can schedule road tests and subsequently get a license, particularly as we continue to see long lines at the MVC.

            “We’d like to see drivers who’ve already passed their test get on the road as quickly and safely as possible. It’s only fair to allow these motorists to drive under probationary license restrictions in the interim.”