Let cancer patients wait on new driver license photos, assemblyman says
A south Jersey lawmaker wants the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to give you a break on your license photo if a traumatic illness has altered your appearance — as was the case for a Neptune cancer patient barred from using her old photo.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty said the state Motor Vehicle Commission takes a million-and-a-half license and ID photos annually, and some of the people who come in may be undergoing chemotherapy and other major, life-altering — and appearance-altering — procedures.
"They may not want to use a photo because it is only indicative of how they are going to appear for six months or a few months," he said.
The assemblyman was prompted to craft the bill by the traumatic experience of Joanne Jodry of Neptune city, who was told by the MVC in Freehold she would have to take a new photo, even though she is battling cancer.
"It was very jarring, it was very upsetting to her," Moriarty said. Jodry is fighting breast cancer.
Moriarity said Jodry went "in with her daughter, not expecting that she is going to have to take photo today. She doesn't feel good, she doesn't look good, she is undergoing chemotherapy, and they tell her you have to have a photo taken today."
As a last resort, she was allowed to wear a scarf over her bald head after speaking with a manager.
Moriarty will sponsor a bill to allow the MVC to use an old photo for up to a year in wuch cases.
"This legislation would allow someone who is undergoing medical treatment that may have temporarily changed what they look like, to be able to use the photograph that they already have on the license for another year until they get better, until they get well," he said, "This would be a one-year extension, allowing someone that is undergoing medical treatment that has temporarily changed their appearance to continue using the previous photograph."
Moriarity also maintains that a photo taken while someone is undergoing chemotherapy or other appearance-altering procedure, does not truly serve to identify them on a document.
The bill is modeled after legislation that is currently in use in Massachusetts.
New Jersey 101.5 was not able to reach Jodry for this report.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.