ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 65

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2014 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman  RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblywoman  GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Commends nonprofit organizations and volunteers for providing transportation assistance to mobility-challenged individuals; urges State entities to support volunteer driving.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

 


A Concurrent Resolution commending nonprofit organizations and their volunteers for providing critical transportation assistance to mobility-challenged individuals, and urging State entities and the automobile insurance industry to strongly support volunteer driving.

 

Whereas, The State is committed to helping senior citizens age in place and expanding community living options for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities, also known as special needs residents; and

Whereas, Transportation assistance is necessary for senior citizens and special needs residents to gain access to medical care, day programs, and other community-based services, especially for those residing in suburban and rural areas; and

Whereas, Many of these senior citizens and special needs residents live on fixed incomes and are unable to afford private-pay transportation assistance; interestingly, access to low-cost transportation is frequently cited by senior citizens and special needs residents as the highest ranked concern in community needs assessments; and

Whereas, The need for transportation assistance is likely to grow significantly as the number of senior citizens living in the State is expected to nearly double by 2020, and county-based transportation systems are strained under the growing demand for transportation assistance from the expanding population of senior citizens and other mobility-challenged individuals; and

Whereas, Nonprofit organizations enable the State to maintain vital human services programs and are invaluable to the State's economy and its social service network; yet the broad array of nonprofit and other community-based services extensively developed for these vulnerable populations in the State are only beneficial if those populations have access to them; and

Whereas, Nonprofit organizations are caught in a "perfect storm" of the rising demand for services and limited funding sources; volunteers are more important than ever to an organization's ability to meet service demands because volunteers play an integral role in assisting senior citizens and special needs residents, often through organized efforts of the network of nonprofit organizations in the State; and

Whereas, Volunteer driving is a cost-neutral way to transport  these mobility-challenged individuals to community-based services, and the State and its offices, departments, divisions, bureaus, boards, commissions, and agencies must encourage volunteerism by removing obstacles to these volunteer services; and

Whereas, The automobile insurance industry does not use "volunteer driving" as a rating factor in formulating motor vehicle premiums, and does insure policyholders who drive safely and responsibly; yet there is still a fear of a negative impact on auto insurance coverage which impedes an organization's ability to recruit or retain volunteer drivers, as evidenced by a recent survey of nonprofit organizations conducted by the Center for Non-Profits; and

Whereas, Many potential volunteers have a sincere desire to improve the quality of life of senior citizens and special needs residents by providing transportation assistance, but concerns over insurance penalties for serving as a volunteer driver have created a chilling effect on individuals volunteering to provide transportation assistance; and

Whereas, The senior citizens and special needs residents in the State, who rely on transportation services to gain access to medical care, day programs, and other community-based services, would be better served through an increase in the number of volunteer drivers in the State; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):

 

     1.    The Legislature respectfully urges:

     a.    The nonprofit community to continue policies to diligently screen and properly supervise volunteer drivers who help their constituents access programs and services in the community;

     b.    Each office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency of the State to:

     (1)   strongly support and encourage volunteer services, including volunteer driving, to benefit our most vulnerable residents of the State, particularly senior citizens and residents with special needs; and

     (2)   strongly discourage automobile insurance carriers from requesting information about volunteer driving status in establishing or re-evaluating rating criteria for insurance coverage; and

     c.    The automobile insurance industry to:

     (1)   continue to exclude a driver's volunteer driving status in determining automobile insurance rates, surcharges, cancellations, non-renewals, or refusals from coverage or claim payment and to ensure that, in the event an automobile insurance carrier implements one of these practices, the carrier provides notice of the practice to policyholders and any relevant office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency of the State; and

     (2)   collaborate with nonprofit organizations in the State to promote volunteer driving, to clarify and affirm the existing industry practice of not using volunteer driver status as a factor in coverage determinations in order to alleviate lingering impediments to the expansion of the pool of volunteer drivers in the State, and to educate the general public on the positive benefits of volunteer driving and the challenges of access and mobility of senior citizens and special needs residents of the State.

 

     2.    Duly authenticated copies of this concurrent resolution, signed by the Speaker of the General Assembly and the President of the Senate and attested by the Clerk of the General Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate, shall be transmitted to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the Commissioner of Human Services, and the Governor.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This concurrent resolution respectfully urges the nonprofit community to continue policies to diligently screen and properly supervise volunteer drivers who help their constituents access programs and services in the community.  The resolution also urges each office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency of the State to: strongly support and encourage volunteer services, including volunteer driving, to benefit our most vulnerable residents of the State, particularly senior citizens and residents with special needs; and strongly discourage automobile insurance carriers from requesting information about volunteer driving status in establishing or re-evaluating rating criteria for insurance coverage.

     Additionally, the automobile insurance industry is urged to continue to exclude a driver's volunteer driving status in determining automobile insurance rates, surcharges, cancellations, non-renewals, or refusals from coverage or claim payment and to ensure that, in the event an automobile insurance carrier implements one of these practices, the carrier provides notice of the practice to policyholders and any relevant office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency of the State.  The industry is also urged to collaborate with nonprofit organizations in the State to promote volunteer driving, to clarify and affirm the existing industry practice of not using volunteer driver status as a factor in coverage determinations in order to alleviate lingering impediments to the expansion of the pool of volunteer drivers in the State, and to educate the general public on the positive benefits of volunteer driving and the challenges of access and mobility of senior citizens and special needs residents of the State.