In Brief

Bill would require in-person motor vehicle services for senior citizens, people with disabilities

By: - May 12, 2022 7:07 am

"Confusing, inconvenient policies" have plagued the Motor Vehicle Commission, Sen. Tony Bucco said. (Photo by New Jersey Monitor)

All Motor Vehicle Commission locations would be required to provide in-person services to senior citizens and people with disabilities under a new bill set for introduction this week.

Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Morris), who said he plans to introduce the measure Thursday, said the requirement would end the “confusing, inconvenient policies that have plagued New Jersey motorists.”

After COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket in March 2020, the agency shuttered for months, creating a huge backlog. When locations reopened, people arrived in the middle of the night or slept outside the agency’s centers to snag appointments, while routine matters led to hourslong waits.

Lawmakers and residents have continued to voice frustration with the agency for COVID-related closures and delays. During budget hearings last week, MVC Administrator Sue Fulton said the attendance rate for the agency’s employees is about 65%.

Currently, drivers can complete simple transactions online, like renewing an expired license, but need to make an appointment for other transactions, like obtaining a license for a first-time driver.

Walk-in services are no longer available, requiring people to book an appointment in advance.

And certain agencies are designated as licensing or vehicle centers, which requires people to travel to a center that might be farther than their closest location.

“That can often mean driving a half hour or more out of their way, often passing other MVC facilities, for a routine transaction,” Bucco said in a statement. “It is unreasonable and unnecessary. People shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get paperwork or register a car they purchased from a private seller.”

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

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