News Department

Bill allowing drivers to indicate autism, communication disorder on license advances

NEW JERSEY – The Assembly Appropriations Committee last week advanced a bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, allowing drivers with autism or another communication disorder to notate their diagnosis on a license or ID issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission.

The bill (A2369) aims to improve communication between law enforcement and those who have problems processing, comprehending or applying language.

“Interactions with police officers are stressful for drivers who don’t struggle with communication issues. For those who have autism or disorders involving speech or language, it can be dangerous, because they may not respond appropriately,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. “A designation of such a diagnosis on a driver’s license would help law enforcement recognize when a person may have trouble communicating and also reduce some anxieties for those drivers and their families.”

The diagnosis would be noted under the restrictions column on licenses. The driver’s parent, guardian or caregiver may also request the notation on the driver’s behalf. Additionally, police departments in the state would be provided with written guidance on effectively communicating with a person who has autism or another communication disorder.

In New Jersey, nearly one third of teenagers with autism get their driver’s licenses by the age of 21. More than a dozen other states have enacted similar legislation allowing a driver’s license applicant to request a communication impediment notation.

The Senate passed the bill (S761) unanimously on Feb. 2. The bill now goes to the Speaker for further consideration.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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