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Land & Taliaferro Bill Authorizing Digital Parking Meters Clears Assembly; Creates ‘Designated Drivers to Prevent Drunk Driving Fatalities Fund’

Legislation sponsored by Bruce Land and Adam Taliaferro allowing state or local government entities or parking authorities to use a digital parking meter device to monitor parking compliance recently cleared the Assembly by a vote of 55-20-0.

Under the bill, (A-4135) a digital parking meter may be used to alert a law or parking code enforcement officer of a parking violation. An officer who receives the alert of a parking violation from the meter has the discretion as to whether a complaint-summons should be issued.

“Officers shouldn’t be burdened with going back and forth in checking each individual meter,” said Land (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “We are doing a service to our officers by expediting the process of enforcing parking violations, and to our constituents by extending awareness on designated drivers.”

The use of a digital parking meter under the provisions of the bill is only authorized if:

· the violation is reviewed and issued by an authorized official;

· the meter or device produces evidence of the violation, including the time the motor vehicle entered the parking space and the time the violation occurred, as well as a photograph of the vehicle and the license plate number;

· the evidence is provided to the defendant with the complaint-summons

· the meter or device can produce evidence required to prosecute the complaint- summons;

· the meter or device provides a minimum five minute grace period during which a violation is not to be recorded; and

· the parking violation based on a photo, video and other information generated by the meter or device complies with rules and procedures established by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The bill also requires a mobile application to be integrated into the meter or device that would allow parking violators to use a smartphone or tablet to pay meter or device fees, receive advanced notice of the expiration of time on a meter or device and replenish the time on the meter or device to the maximum time available.

To publicize the meters or devices and provide effective notice to the public, during the first 30 days of the operation of a meter or device, a warning notice is to be issued to the violator in lieu of a complaint-summons.

The bill further imposes a $2.00 surcharge on parking violations resulting from a digital parking meter or other electronic parking compliance device which would be deposited into a separate, non-lapsing, dedicated account to be known as the ‘Designated Drivers to Prevent Drunk Driving Fatalities Fund.’

“Not only can we make the lives of officers easier with this bill, but we can also save lives,” said Taliaferro (D-Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland). “By funding designated driving awareness, we will help people gain the knowledge to make the right decisions.”

The fund is to be administered by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

The division is directed to use the moneys to establish a public awareness campaign to prevent drunk driving fatalities and injuries by promoting the use of designated drivers through the use of advertising on billboards, television, social and print media, public relations articles and any other appropriate means through contracts and grants with qualified vendors and non-profit organizations.

The moneys are also to be used to provide grants for the purposes of promoting designated driving.

The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.