Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday signed a new law (A4743) to expand access to driver’s licenses. The bill will give more New Jersey residents the opportunity to earn a license while decreasing the number of uninsured drivers on the road, improving roadway safety. New Jersey joins thirteen other states, including California, New York, and Utah, and the District of Columbia, in allowing residents to obtain driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.
“Expanding access to driver’s licenses is critical for the safety of New Jerseyans and a step toward building a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all,” said Governor Murphy. “Allowing residents the opportunity to obtain driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status will decrease the number of uninsured drivers and increase safety on our roads. I thank my partners in the Legislature for sending this important bill to my desk.”
Allowing residents the opportunity to obtain driver’s licenses will decrease the number of uninsured drivers and increase safety on our roads. I thank my partners in the Legislature for sending this important bill to my desk.”
“This law allows hundreds of thousands of immigrants on our roads to be trained, tested, licensed and insured,’’ said Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton. “Those who pass our driver testing and meet our strict identity requirements will be able to drive to work, school, doctor’s appointments, and other activities, without risking the break-up of their families.’’
“Studies have shown that similar legislation in other states has had positive results for public and highway traffic safety and we look forward to similar benefits here in New Jersey,” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan.
“For many residents, access to a driver’s license will mean access to educational and job opportunities that will allow them to enhance their families’ lives. It will also mean access to auto insurance, which will reduce the number of uninsured in our state and create safer roadways for all of New Jersey. I want to thank the Governor and Legislature for their support and effort on taking a bold step that once again demonstrates that New Jersey is a leader on issues of social and economic justice that are vital to our residents, and to ensuring the success of our state,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride.
The bill creates two categories of driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards: federally-compliant REAL ID, which is only available for documented residents, and the Standard Basic driver’s license and ID, which will be available to all New Jersey residents regardless of immigration status. Anyone who applies for a Standard Basic driver’s license or ID, whether a citizen or non-citizen, must provide six points of identification.
Further, the bill ensures that those who hold a Standard Basic driver’s license are treated fairly. The bill prohibits insurance companies from charging a driver more for having a Standard Basic driver’s license, and prohibits employment, housing, and public-accommodation discrimination against an individual for holding a Standard Basic driver’s license or ID.
The bill also requires the Chief Administrator of Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to establish a two year public awareness campaign to inform the public about the availability of and the requirements to obtain a Standard Basic license or REAL ID. The bill also creates an 11-member advisory board to review the MVC’s implementation of the bill and the issuance of Standard Basic and REAL ID driver’s licenses. A report from the Board will be issued to the Governor and Legislature containing its findings and recommendations no later than 12 months following the bill’s effective date, which is January 1, 2021.