|TRENTON – A set of bills addressing COVID-19 related issues and concerns that have arisen since the reopening of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) agency locations’ was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee today. The bills are both sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Patrick Diegnan and Senator Nicholas Scutari.
“Long lines and wait times have plagued the reopening of Motor Vehicle Commission locations throughout the state,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Utilizing technology to our advantage would better manage wait times while also reducing the presence of large lines. We must also do our due diligence to accommodate our seniors and immunocompromised during these unprecedented times so they are not forced to risk their health over a visit to the MVC.”
The first bill, S-2747, would provide a temporary extension for expiring driver’s licenses for senior citizens 65-years of age or older until January 2, 2022. Certain agencies would be required to offer appointments exclusively to customers with medical conditions who medically cannot wear masks or face coverings and can provide a doctor’s note. In addition, senior citizens would also be allowed to come in at certain times. The Commissioner of MVC would have the discretion to decide what times to assign certain agencies to see senior citizens and those with medical conditions.
“We have all seen the images of hours-long lines and people ‘tailgating’ MVC parking lots since their reopening,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “A virtual check-in program would effectively manage wait times with efficiency and safety in mind. As we continue to work through this public health crisis, it is imperative we take a look at operations across the board to ensure the safest measures are being implemented and enforced and these bills would help achieve that.
The second bill, S-2748, would require the MVC to establish a Virtual Check-In Pilot Program. Customers would be able to: reserve a spot in the queue through the commission’s website without being physically present at the agency; advance in the queue without being physically present at the agency; and check-in remotely from the parking lot of the agency by using a mobile application to claim a spot in the queue, or check-in in-person at the agency by using a kiosk, or tablet or by speaking with a commission employee.
The Chief Administrator of the commission would be required to select at least ten commission agencies to participate in the pilot program and is to decide whether to continue the pilot program within 150 days after its completion.