A new idea for a restricted driver's license is being floated by Assemblyman Ron Dancer. He wants to do away with full license suspensions for accumulated violations for things like not paying parking tickets, equipment tickets, etc.. You would have a restricted license to get you to and from work or school.

"We need to provide people that want to work, they want to pay their bills — we need to provide them with an opportunity to continue to get to work, be able to pay their bills, pay this off," he said.

Didn't they already have that opportunity? It was called their driver's license. They're the ones who blew it by being irresponsible. Instead of a restricted license for accumulated violations how about don't accumulate those violations? Not paying fines, not fixing safety issues on your car, and allowing these things to pile up to the point of suspension shows Ron Dancer is more concerned about you getting to work than you are. If you don't care, why should we? This is just coddling irresponsible drivers.

Now as is usually the case with legislation about restricted licenses this would exclude DWI and other serious driving violations. But there's also been talk in Trenton about greatly reducing suspension times for DWI cases so I'm not sure that makes me feel the warm fuzzies.

Interesting to note Dancer cites a recent conclusion by the state's high court that too many municipal courts are bilking the public by using their traffic courts as cash cows. Yet in his legislation he gives those same municipal courts the power to decide who deserves these restricted licenses. What's to stop them from playing the same 'let's make a deal' games they do now with outrageous fines and court costs in exchange for no points?

Here's the wording within the actual bill:

   This bill would authorize the municipal court to order the issuance of a restricted use driver’s license for drivers whose license has been suspended for motor vehicle violations for which motor vehicle penalty points are not assessed, such as non-moving violations which includes but is not limited to parking and equipment violations. However, a person whose driver’s license was suspended as a result of a conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, pursuant to R.S.39:4-50, would not be eligible to receive a restricted use driver’s license. 

  Under the bill, a person whose driver’s license is suspended or revoked may apply to the municipal court for a restricted use driver’s license. In making a determination, the court would consider the extent of financial hardship the person would suffer without a license and the probability that the person would repeat the offense. If the court determines that a restricted use driver’s license is appropriate, then the court orders that a restricted use driver’s license be issued. The order is then forwarded to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission who then issues the restricted use driver’s license.

  A restricted use driver’s license would authorize the licensee to operate a motor vehicle during certain hours and between certain points solely for the purpose of either traveling to and from his place of employment or education. In addition, a restricted use driver’s placard would be issued to each approved licensee. This placard is required to be prominently displayed in the rear window of any vehicle being driven by a restricted use licensee. The fee imposed would be not more than $125 for the restricted use driver’s license and placard. A restricted use driver’s license issued under the bill would expire when the person’s driver’s license is restored following the period of suspension.

I'm far from a perfect person. I had my license suspended once when I was a teenager for doing 25 over the limit. I had my license suspended, and I obeyed the suspension. I've had only a small handful of tickets since, I believe 3 speeding tickets and 1 parking ticket over many, many years. Never accumulated points to be within danger of another suspension. Never ignored a ticket. If I can be imperfect yet still responsible enough to maintain a driver's license why can't everybody?

The number one reason an adult should hold their license dear is to get to work in order to support themselves and their families. All legislation like this does is allow us to be irresponsible and I'm very much against it.

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