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Bipartisan bill requiring notation on automobile registration indicating driver’s hearing impairment advances

Oroho/Greenstein Measure Would Help Improve Communication During a Car Stop or Emergency

NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Linda Greenstein to help eliminate possible confusion and tension when a deaf motorist is pulled over by police for a traffic violation was approved Thursday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“If a driver with a hearing issue has difficulty conversing with law enforcement, it can lead to a situation that is unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” Oroho (R-24) said. “The last thing we want is the lack of communication to cause an escalation of tensions. We want to relieve stress for both the driver and the police, and this bill will accomplish that intention.”

Under the legislation (S-1740), the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to place a notation on a vehicle’s registration certificate indicating the registrant is deaf. Applicants would be issued a special registration certificate with their preference of either the international symbol for deafness or a numerical code designating deafness.

“Ensuring law enforcement officers are aware that they have pulled over someone who is deaf is very important. This will enable effective communication while hopefully avoiding any potential misunderstandings,” Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex) said.

The bill, suggested to Oroho by members of the deaf community, is intended to compensate for gaps in training that fail to prepare police academy graduates for interactions with the deaf community.

“The addition of an icon signifying a hearing impairment will be obvious and helpful,” Oroho said. “This is a reasonable accommodation that will result in increased safety for motorists and officers.”

The bill cleared the Senate Transportation Committee in October.

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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