ASSEMBLY, No. 1591

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† SCOTT T. RUMANA

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman† DAVID P. RIBLE

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman† KEVIN J. ROONEY

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Removes requirement that holder of a special learnerís permit, examination permit, and probationary driverís license display decal; requires certain novice drivers submit motor vehicle information to chief administrator.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act concerning special learnerís permits, examination permits, and probationary driverís licenses, and supplementing and amending Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† (New section) a.† The holder of a special learnerís permit, examination permit, or probationary driverís license, who is less than 21 years of age, shall provide to the chief administrator the license plate number as well as the make and model of each motor vehicle that the holder of the learnerís permit, examination permit, or probationary license will operate during the permit period or probationary license period.† The holder of a special learnerís permit, examination permit, or probationary driverís license shall provide the chief administrator with updated or revised motor vehicle information as necessary during the permit period or probationary license period.

†††† b.††† The chief administrator shall establish an electronic database containing the information provided for in subsection a. of this section, which shall be made available in real time to all law enforcement officers for the purposes of enforcing the conditions of a special learner's permit, an examination permit or a probationary driver's license enumerated under section 11 of P.L.2001, c.420 (C.39:3-13.8).† The chief administrator shall establish security procedures to protect the confidentiality of the information on the database, which shall preclude access to the information to any person not otherwise entitled to it under this or any other law.

 

†††† 2.††† Section 6 of P.L.1977, c.25 (C.39:3-13.2a) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 6.††† a. †Any person to whom a special learner's permit has been issued pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1950, c.127 (C.39:3-13.1), upon successful completion of a State approved written examination, eye examination, and an approved minimum six-hour behind-the-wheel driving course, shall be entitled to retain the special learner's permit in his own possession.† The special learner's permit shall be validated by the commission for the purpose of driving a motor vehicle on a public highway in this State after the holder has successfully met the necessary examination requirements, and upon the successful completion of a behind-the-wheel driving course. Such person may operate a motor vehicle of the class for which a basic driver's license is required except during the hours between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. while in the company and under the supervision, from the front passenger seat, of a licensed motor vehicle driver of this State who is over 21 years of age and has been licensed to drive a passenger automobile for at least three years. Such special permit shall be valid until such person's seventeenth birthday or until he qualifies for a probationary license. Except during an instructional period of a behind-the-wheel driving course, the holder of a special permit shall operate a passenger automobile with only the following passengers:† (1) the supervising passenger; (2) any parent, guardian, or dependent of the special permit holder; and (3) one additional passenger.† The holder of the special learner's permit shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency, while operating a moving passenger automobile on a public road or highway.† "Use" shall include, but not be limited to, talking or listening on any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device or operating its keys, buttons, or other controls. All occupants of the automobile shall be secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child restraint system.

†††† [The chief administrator shall provide the holder of a special learner's permit with two removable, transferable, highly visible, reflective decals indicating that the driver of the vehicle may be the holder of a special learner's permit.† The decals shall be designed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety.† The chief administrator may charge a fee for the decals not to exceed the actual cost of producing and distributing the decals. The decals shall be displayed in a manner prescribed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and shall be clearly visible to law enforcement officers.† The holder of a special learner's permit shall not operate a vehicle unless the decals are displayed.† The decal shall be removed once the driver's special learner's permit period has ended.]

†††† b.††† When notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that a special learner's permit holder has been convicted of a violation which causes the permit holder to accumulate more than two motor vehicle points or has been convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50; section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14); R.S.39:4-129; N.J.S.2C:11-5; subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or any other motor vehicle-related law the chief administrator determines to be significant and applicable pursuant to regulation, and in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the holder's special learner's permit for 90 days.† The chief administrator shall restore the permit following the term of the permit suspension if the permit holder, regardless of age, satisfactorily completes a remedial training course of not less than four hours which may be given by the commission, a driving school licensed by the chief administrator pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1951, c.216 (C.39:12-2), or any Statewide safety organization approved by the chief administrator. The course shall be administered pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the chief administrator and subject to oversight by the commission.† The authority of the chief administrator to suspend, revoke, or deny issuance of an initial or renewal license to operate a driving school or an instructor's license, and to assess fines, pursuant to P.L.1951, c.216 (C.39:12-1 et seq.) shall apply to any violations related to the administration of a remedial training course.† The permit holder shall also remit a course fee prior to the commencement of the course.† If, after completion of the remedial training course, the chief administrator is notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that the special learner's permit holder has been convicted of any motor vehicle violation which results in the imposition of any motor vehicle points or has been convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50; section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14); R.S.39:4-129; N.J.S.2C:11-5; subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or any other motor vehicle-related law the chief administrator deems significant and applicable pursuant to regulation, the chief administrator, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, shall also postpone the issuance of a basic license for 90 days.† When the chief administrator is notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that a special learner's permit holder has been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offense unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle and he is not otherwise subject to any other suspension penalty therefor, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the special learner's permit for six months.

(cf:† P.L.2009, c.38, s.8)

 

†††† 3.††† R.S.39:3-13 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 39:3-13.††††† The chief administrator may, in his discretion, issue to a person over 17 years of age an examination permit, under the hand and seal of the chief administrator, allowing such person, for the purpose of fitting himself to become a licensed driver, to operate a designated class of motor vehicles other than passenger automobiles and motorcycles of persons licensed to operate motorcycles only for a specified period of not more than 90 days, while in the company and under the supervision of a driver licensed to operate such designated class of motor vehicles.

†††† The chief administrator, in his discretion, may issue for a specified period of not less than one year a passenger automobile or motorcycle-only examination permit to a person over 17 years of age regardless of whether a person has completed a course of behind-the-wheel automobile driving education pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1950, c.127 (C.39:3-13.1).† An examination permit applicant who is under 18 years of age shall obtain the signature of a parent or guardian for submission to the commission on a form prescribed by the chief administrator.† The chief administrator shall postpone for six months the driving privileges of any person who submits a fraudulent signature for a parent or guardian.

†††† For six months immediately following the validation of an examination permit, and until the holder passes the road test, the holder who is less than 21 years of age shall operate the passenger automobile or motorcycle only when accompanied by, and under the supervision of, a New Jersey licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and has been licensed to drive a passenger automobile or motorcycle, as the case may be, for not less than three years.† The holder of an examination permit who is at least 21 years of age shall operate the passenger automobile or motorcycle for the first three months under such supervision and until the holder passes the road test. The supervising driver of the passenger automobile shall sit in the front seat of the vehicle. Whenever operating a vehicle while in possession of an examination permit, the holder of the permit shall operate the passenger automobile with only one additional passenger in the vehicle excluding dependents of the permit holder, except that this passenger restriction shall not apply when the permit holder is at least 21 years of age or when the permit holder is accompanied by a parent or guardian.† Further, the holder of the permit who is less than 21 years of age shall not drive during the hours between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.; provided, however, that this condition may be waived for an emergency which, in the judgment of local police, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to substantially endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property of a person, or for any bona fide employment or religion-related activity if the employer or appropriate religious authority provides written verification of such activity in a manner provided for by the chief administrator.† The holder of the examination permit shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency, while operating a moving passenger automobile on a public road or highway.† "Use" shall include, but not be limited to, talking or listening on any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device or operating its keys, buttons, or other controls. The passenger automobile permit holder shall ensure that all occupants of the vehicle are secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child restraint system.

†††† [The chief administrator shall provide the holder of an examination permit with two removable, transferable, highly visible, reflective decals indicating that the driver of the vehicle may be the holder of an examination permit.† The decals shall be designed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety.† The chief administrator may charge a fee for the decals not to exceed the actual cost of producing and distributing the decals.† The decals shall be displayed in a manner prescribed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and shall be clearly visible to law enforcement officers.† The holder of an examination permit shall not operate a vehicle unless the decals are displayed.† The decal shall be removed once the driver's examination permit period has ended.]

†††† When notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that an examination permit holder has been convicted of a violation which causes the permit holder to accumulate more than two motor vehicle points or has been convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50; section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14); R.S.39:4-129; N.J.S.2C:11-5; subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or any other motor vehicle-related law the chief administrator deems significant and applicable pursuant to regulation, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the examination permit holder's examination permit for 90 days.† The chief administrator shall restore the permit following the term of the permit suspension if the permit holder satisfactorily completes a remedial training course of not less than four hours which may be given by the commission, a driving school licensed by the chief administrator pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1951, c.216 (C.39:12-2), or any Statewide safety organization approved by the chief administrator.† The course shall be subject to oversight by the commission according to its guidelines.† The permit holder shall also remit a course fee prior to the commencement of the course. The chief administrator also shall postpone without the exercise of discretion or a hearing the issuance of a basic license for 90 days if the chief administrator is notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that the examination permit holder, after completion of the remedial training course, has been convicted of any motor vehicle violation which results in the imposition of any motor vehicle points or has been convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50; section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); P.L.1992, c.182 (C.39:4-50.14); R.S.39:4-129; N.J.S.2C:11-5, subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1 or any other motor vehicle-related law the chief administrator deems significant and applicable pursuant to regulation.† When the chief administrator is notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that an examination permit holder has been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offense unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle and is not otherwise subject to any other suspension penalty therefor, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the examination permit for six months.

†††† An examination permit for a motorcycle or a commercial motor vehicle issued to a handicapped person, as determined by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission after consultation with the Department of Education, shall be valid for nine months or until the completion of the road test portion of his license examination, whichever period is shorter.

†††† Each permit shall be sufficient license for the person to operate such designated class of motor vehicles in this State during the period specified, while in the company of and under the control of a driver licensed by this State to operate such designated class of motor vehicles, or, in the case of a commercial driver license permit, while in the company of and under the control of a holder of a valid commercial driver license for the appropriate license class and with the appropriate endorsements issued by this or any other state. Such person, as well as the licensed driver, except for a motor vehicle examiner administering a driving skills test, shall be held accountable for all violations of this subtitle committed by such person while in the presence of the licensed driver.† In addition to requiring an applicant for an examination permit to submit satisfactory proof of identity and age, the chief administrator also shall require the applicant to provide, as a condition for obtaining the permit, satisfactory proof that the applicant's presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.† If the chief administrator has reasonable cause to suspect that any document presented by an applicant as proof of identity, age, or legal residency is altered, false, or otherwise invalid, the chief administrator shall refuse to grant the permit until such time as the document may be verified by the issuing agency to the chief administrator's satisfaction.

†††† The holder of an examination permit shall be required to take a road test in order to obtain a probationary license. No road test for any person who has been issued an examination permit to operate a passenger vehicle shall be given unless the person has met the requirements of this section.† No road test for a probationary license shall be given unless the applicant has first secured an examination permit and no such road test shall be scheduled for an applicant who has secured an examination permit for a passenger vehicle or a motorcycle for which an endorsement is not required until at least six months for an applicant under 21 years of age or three months for an applicant 21 years of age or older shall have elapsed following the validation of the examination permit for practice driving or, in the case of an examination permit for other vehicles, until 20 days have elapsed. In the case of an omnibus endorsement or school bus, no road test shall be scheduled until at least 10 days shall have elapsed. Every applicant for an examination permit to qualify for an omnibus endorsement or an articulated vehicle endorsement shall be a holder of a valid basic driver's license.

†††† The required fees for special learner's permits and examination permits shall be as follows:

Basic driver's license...............................................up to $10

Motorcycle license or endorsement..................................$† 5

Omnibus or school bus endorsement................................$25

†††† The chief administrator shall waive the payment of fees for issuance of examination permits for omnibus endorsements whenever the applicant establishes to the chief administrator's satisfaction that said applicant will use the omnibus endorsement exclusively for operating omnibuses owned by a nonprofit organization duly incorporated under Title 15 or 16 of the Revised Statutes or Title 15A of the New Jersey Statutes.

†††† The specified period for which a permit is issued may be extended for not more than an additional 60 days, without payment of an added fee, upon application made by the holder thereof, where the holder has applied to take the examination for a driver's license prior to the expiration of the original period for which the permit was issued and the chief administrator was unable to schedule an examination during said period.

†††† As a condition for the issuance of an examination permit under this section, the chief administrator shall secure a digitized picture of the applicant.† The picture shall be stored in a manner prescribed by the chief administrator and may be displayed on the examination permit.

†††† The chief administrator may require that whenever a person to whom an examination permit has been issued has reconstructive or cosmetic surgery which significantly alters the person's facial features, the person shall notify the chief administrator who may require the picture of the person to be updated.

†††† Specific use of the examination permit and any information stored or encoded, electronically or otherwise, in relation thereto shall be in accordance with P.L.1997, c.188 (C.39:2-3.3 et seq.) and the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, Pub.L.103-322. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, the digitized picture or any access thereto or any use thereof shall not be sold, leased or exchanged for value.

(cf:† P.L.2009, c.38, s.5)

 

†††† 4.††† Section 4 of P.L.1950, c.127 (C.39:3-13.4) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 4.††† a. †The holder of a special learner's permit shall be entitled to a probationary driver's license (1) upon attaining the age of 17 years, (2) upon the satisfactory completion of an approved behind-the-wheel driver training course as indicated upon the face of the special permit over the signature of the principal of the school or the person operating the driving school in which the course was conducted, (3) upon the completion of six months' driving experience with a validated special learner's permit in compliance with the provisions of section 6 of P.L.1977, c.25 (C.39:3-13.2a), and (4) upon passing the road test pursuant to R.S.39:3-10.

†††† b.††† The holder of a probationary license shall be permitted to operate the passenger automobile with only one additional passenger in the vehicle besides any dependent of the probationary license holder, except that this passenger restriction shall not apply when the holder of the probationary license is at least 21 years of age or the probationary license holder is accompanied by a parent or guardian.† Further, the holder of the probationary license who is under 21 years of age shall not drive during the hours between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.; provided however, that this condition may be waived for an emergency which, in the judgment of local police, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to substantially endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property of a person or for any bona fide employment or religion-related activity if the employer or appropriate religious authority provides written verification of such activity in a manner provided for by the chief administrator.

†††† c.†††† The holder of the probationary license shall not use any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device, except in an emergency, while operating a moving passenger automobile on a public road or highway.† "Use" shall include, but not be limited to, talking or listening on any hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device or operating its keys, buttons, or other controls. In addition, the holder of the probationary license shall ensure that all occupants of the vehicle are secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child restraint system.

†††† d.††† In addition to any other penalties provided under law, the holder of a probationary license who accumulates more than two motor vehicle points or is convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50; section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14); R.S.39:4-129; N.J.S.2C:11-5; subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or any other motor vehicle law the chief administrator deems to be significant and applicable pursuant to regulation shall, for the first violation, be required to satisfactorily complete a remedial training course of not less than four hours which may be given by the commission, a driving school licensed by the chief administrator pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1951, c.216 (C.39:12-2), or any Statewide safety organization approved by the chief administrator.† The course shall be administered pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the chief administrator and subject to oversight by the commission.† The authority of the chief administrator to suspend, revoke, or deny issuance of an initial or renewal license to operate a driving school or an instructor's license, and to assess fines, pursuant to P.L.1951, c.216 (C.39:12-1 et seq.) shall apply to any violations related to the administration of a remedial training course.† The license holder shall also remit a course fee prior to the commencement of the course.

†††† e.†††† When notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that a probationary license holder has been convicted of a second or subsequent violation, in addition to any other penalties provided under law, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the probationary license for three months, and shall postpone eligibility for a basic license for an equivalent period.† In addition, when the chief administrator is notified by a court of competent jurisdiction that a probationary license holder has been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offense unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle, and he is not otherwise subject to any other suspension penalty therefor, the chief administrator shall, without the exercise of discretion or a hearing, suspend the probationary license for six months.

†††† f.†††† [The chief administrator shall provide the holder of a probationary license with two removable, transferable, highly visible, reflective decals indicating that the driver of the vehicle may be the holder of a probationary license.† The decals shall be designed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety.† The chief administrator may charge a fee for the decals not to exceed the actual cost of producing and distributing the decals.† The decals shall be displayed in a manner prescribed by the chief administrator, in consultation with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and shall be clearly visible to law enforcement officers.† The holder of a probationary license shall not operate a vehicle unless the decals are displayed.† The decal shall be removed once the driver's probationary license period has ended.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.††† , c.† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

†††† g.††† A probationary license may be sent by mail and shall be clearly identifiable and distinguishable in appearance from a basic license by any name, mark, color, or device deemed appropriate by the chief administrator.

(cf:† P.L.2009, c.38, s.9)

 

†††† 5.††† Section 11 of P.L.2001, c.420 (C.39:3-13.8) is amended to read as follow:

†††† 11.† A fine of $100 shall be imposed for violating the following conditions of a special learner's permit, an examination permit or a probationary driver's license:

†††† a.†††† supervision requirements for permit holders;

†††† b.††† passenger restrictions;

†††† c.†††† hours of operation;

†††† d.††† seat belt requirements;

†††† e.†††† hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device use restrictions; or

†††† f.†††† any other violation of the conditions of a permit or probationary license as the chief administrator may designate[; or] .

†††† g.††† [decal requirements.](Deleted by amendment, P.L.††† , c.† )
(pending before the Legislature as this bill)

(cf:† P.L.2009, c.38, s.10)

 

†††† 6.††† This act shall take effect on the first day of the thirteenth month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill removes the requirement that the holder of a special learnerís permit, examination permit, and probationary driverís license display a decal on the motor vehicle that they are driving. Under current law, these novice drivers are required to display this decal when driving so that it is apparent to law enforcement officers that the driver is the holder of such a permit or license.

†††† As an alternative to the Stateís decal policy, this bill requires that the holder of a special learnerís permit, examination permit, or probationary driverís license submit the license plate number as well as the make and model of the motor vehicle that the permit or probationary license holder will operate during the permit period or probationary period.† This information is to be maintained in a database that is available to law enforcement officers in real time. An officer may utilize this information to enforce any violation of the conditions placed on novice drivers, which include: supervision requirements for permit holders; passenger restrictions; restricted hours of operation; seat belt requirements; hand-held or hands-free interactive wireless communication device use restrictions; or any other violation of the conditions of a permit or probationary license as the chief administrator may designate.

†††† It is the sponsorís intent that this bill allow law enforcement officers to effectively enforce the Stateís permit and probationary license requirements, while eliminating the requirement that these drivers disclose their age to other drivers on the road.