• MOTOR VEHICLES AFFORDABILITY AND FAIRNESS TASK FORCE FINAL REPORT


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  • FileName: AFTF_final_02.pdf
    • Abstract: or revoked at any given time. Forty three percent of New Jersey drivers reside in. urban areas, while 38 percent live in suburban areas and 19 percent ... These licenses allow some or all suspended/revoked drivers to. receive limited driving privileges during the time they are ...

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MOTOR VEHICLES
AFFORDABILITY AND FAIRNESS TASK FORCE
FINAL REPORT
February 2006
Presented to
Governor Jon S. Corzine
and
The New Jersey State Legislature
Prepared by:
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
33 Livingston Avenue – Suite 500
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
and
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ 08666
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary...................................................................................................................................vii
Section 1: Report Outline and Background................................................................................................1
Report Outline ...............................................................................................................................1
Background ...................................................................................................................................1
Task Force Mission and Charge....................................................................................................2
Task Force Organization ...............................................................................................................3
Public Outreach .............................................................................................................................3
Section 2: Driver’s License Suspension in New Jersey .............................................................................5
Overview of New Jersey Suspension Statistics .............................................................................5
Characteristics of Suspended Drivers in New Jersey ....................................................................6
Age and Gender Profile of Suspended Drivers..............................................................................7
Incidence of Multiple Suspensions and Suspended Drivers with Points ........................................8
Geographic Profile of Suspended Drivers in New Jersey ..............................................................9
Reasons for Suspension.............................................................................................................. 11
New Jersey Point System ..................................................................................................... 13
Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol ................................................. 17
Driving while suspended or revoked ..................................................................................... 18
Insurance Surcharge Program .............................................................................................. 20
Parking Offenses Adjudication Act ........................................................................................ 24
Failure to comply with a child support order.......................................................................... 27
Failure to maintain insurance ................................................................................................ 29
Comprehensive Drug Reform Act ......................................................................................... 31
Failure to appear in court ...................................................................................................... 32
Failure to comply with a court ordered installment plan ........................................................ 35
Section 3: The Impacts of Driver’s License Suspension .......................................................................... 37
Suspended driver survey............................................................................................................. 37
Public testimony and comments .................................................................................................. 40
Section 4: Restricted-use Driver’s License Programs.............................................................................. 43
Section 5: Detailed Recommendations.................................................................................................... 48
Section 6: A Framework for Implementation............................................................................................ 56
References ............................................................................................................................................... 60
Final Report ii
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Appendices:
Appendix A: Task Force authorizing legislation
Appendix B: Task Force rules and procedures
Appendix C: Task Force membership and subcommittee rosters
Appendix D: POAA notification process and court notices
Appendix E: Summary of public comments
Appendix F: Schedule of DUI-related fines, fees and penalties
NOTE: The appendices are available upon request in hard copy only as a separate volume.
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Number of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC annually .................................................... 6
Table 2: Number of suspended drivers by gender and age group (May 2004)............................................. 7
Table 3: Suspension rates in other states..................................................................................................... 8
Table 4: Incidence of multiple suspensions among suspended drivers (May 2004) .................................... 9
Table 5: Point accumulation by suspended drivers (May 2004) ................................................................... 9
Table 6: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by area type and income class (May 2004) ............................ 10
Table 7: Distribution of suspended drivers by area type and income class (May 2004) ............................ 10
Table 8: Suspension rates by area type and income class (May 2004) ..................................................... 11
Table 9: Average number of suspensions ordered/confirmed by MVC annually – Top twelve “reasons” .. 12
Table 10: New Jersey Point Schedule ........................................................................................................ 15
Table 11: Suspension rates by area type and income – Point accumulation and other driving-related
reasons, excluding DUI (May 2004) ............................................................................................... 16
Table 12: Suspension rates by area type and income – Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of
alcohol or drugs (DUI) (May 2004) ................................................................................................ 18
Table 13: Suspension rates by area type and income – Driving while suspended or revoked (May 2004) 19
Table 14: Schedule of fines and penalties for driving while suspended/revoked ........................................ 20
Table 15: Offenses subject to insurance surcharge.................................................................................... 21
Table 16: Number of drivers with outstanding surcharge balances (September 2005) .............................. 22
Table 17: Surcharge amounts billed in 2004 .............................................................................................. 22
Table 18: Average surcharge collection rates............................................................................................. 23
Table 19: Suspension rates by area type and income – Non payment of MVC insurance surcharges (May
2004) ............................................................................................................................................. 24
Final Report iii
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
Table 20: Suspension rates by area type and income – Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA) (May
2004) ............................................................................................................................................. 27
Table 21: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a child support order (May
2004) .............................................................................................................................................. 28
Table 22: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to maintain proper insurance (May 2004) 30
Table 23: Suspension rates by area type and income – Drug offenses under the Comprehensive Drug
Reform Act (May 2004) .................................................................................................................. 31
Table 24: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to answer a summons for
a motor vehicle moving violation (May 2004) ................................................................................. 33
Table 25: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to appear in court to answer a summons
issued for other non-driving reasons, excluding POAA (May 2004)................................................ 34
Table 26: Suspension rates by area type and income – Failure to comply with a court ordered installment
payment plan (May 2004) .............................................................................................................. 36
Table 27: Economic impacts of license suspension across income groups................................................ 38
Table 28: Economic impacts of license suspension across age groups ..................................................... 39
Table 29: Summary of restricted use license programs.............................................................................. 46
Table 30: Potential leadership and supporting partners.............................................................................. 57
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure ES1: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by population density ......................................................... x
Figure ES2: Distribution of suspended drivers by population density (May 2004) ........................................ x
Figure ES3: Distribution of NJ licensed drivers by income class ..................................................................xi
Figure ES4: Distribution of suspended drivers by income class (May 2004) ................................................xi
Figure 1: Ten year history of suspensions ordered or confirmed by MVC .................................................... 6
Figure 2: Parking tickets pending over 60 days .......................................................................................... 25
Final Report iv
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Task Force Members
The following individuals were appointed and/or designated to serve as members or
alternates on the Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force:
*Jean M. Bickal, Assistant Commissioner, NJ Department of Banking & Insurance
(serving for Director of the Division of Insurance in the NJ Department of Banking
and Insurance)
Lanuel J. Ferguson, Major, New Jersey State Police
*Judith Formalarie, New Jersey State Employment & Training Commission (serving
for Chairperson of the State Employment and Training Commission)
Sharon A. Harrington, Chair and Chief Administrator, NJ Motor Vehicle
Commission
Richard F. Liebler, Hillside Auto Mall
Pam Maiolo, Public Affairs Manager, American Automobile Association
William Margaretta, President, NJ State Safety Council
*Violet Marrero, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Honorable Joan Quigley, NJ State Assembly (D-32)
Roberto Rodriguez, Director, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety
*Ivette Santiago-Green, Deputy Director, Civil Rights and Affirmative Action NJ
Department of Transportation (serving for Commissioner of NJ Department of
Transportation)
Robert L. Simmons, Counsel, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company
Robert W. Smith, Assistant Director, Municipal Court Services, NJ Administrative
Office of the Courts (serving in an advisory capacity only)
Robert G. St. John, Jevic Transportation, Inc.
Teresa M. Thomas, South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance
Honorable José Torres, Mayor, City of Paterson
Honorable Shirley Turner, NJ State Senate (D-15)
Kenneth Zimmerman, Executive Director, NJ Institute for Social Justice
* indicates alternate member or designee
Final Report v
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
The members of the Task Force would like to thank Jon Carnegie, Assistant Director of
the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey, and Secretary to the Task Force and Andrea Lubin, Project Manager at the
Voorhees Transportation Center who provided insightful research and skillful
administrative support throughout the Task Force’s tenure.
In addition, the Task Force would like to thank the following subject matter experts,
invited guests and administrative support staff without whose help the work of the Task
Force could not have been completed:
NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:
Donald Borowski
Kim Borowski
Mick Byers
Melissa Demko
Wayne Dirlam
Jack Donnelly
Carol Hollows
Lee Jackson
Debra Knipe
Howard Pollak
Diane Rothman
Shawn Sheekey
David Weinstein
NJ Administrative Office of the Courts:
Dan Phillips
John Podeszwa
Others:
Nancy Fishman, NJ Institute for Social Justice
Deborah Kole, NJ League of Municipalities
Sgt. Lazzaro Mazza , Paterson Police Department
Stephen Monson, NJ Deputy Attorney General
Adara Porter, Senator Shirley Turner’s Office
Finally, the Task Force would also like to thank the members of the public who took the
time to provide testimony and/or written comments to the Task Force and those
individuals who participated in roundtable discussions and interviews conducted by the
Motor Vehicle Commission and the Voorhees Transportation Center on behalf of the
Task Force.
Final Report vi
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Background and Introduction
The Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force was created by New Jersey
statute, N.J.S.A. 39:2A-30 (L.2003,c.13,s.30). The charge of the Task Force as defined
by that statute is as follows:
…to study the impact of the current point system and non-driving related
suspension of driving privileges, in particular, the Merit Rating Plan
Surcharges, on the driving public and make recommendations for the
reform of the surcharge suspension program to increase motorist safety.
In addition, the task force shall examine ‘The Parking Offenses
Adjudication Act,’ P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.2 et seq.) and municipal
court processes related thereto, as well as court actions on surcharge
assessments and license suspensions related to nonpayment of fines or
tickets as well as motor vehicle moving violations.
The Task Force convened for the first time on February 25, 2005. At that first meeting,
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chief Administrator Sharon Harrington
was named chair of the Task Force and Jon Carnegie, assistant director of the Alan M.
Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University was named Task Force
secretary. In addition, three Task Force subcommittees were formed as follows:
Subcommittee 1: Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA) and other non-
driving related offenses
Subcommittee 2: Point system & other driving related offenses
Subcommittee 3: Insurance Surcharge Program
Including its first meeting, the full Task Force met four times during 2005/2006. In
addition, each of the Task Force subcommittees met four times to examine and discuss
the specific topics under their purview.
The Task Force understands that driving and registering a vehicle in New Jersey is a
privilege and that every citizen has a duty to abide by the laws of the State. Similarly,
the Task Force recognizes the important public safety purpose served by suspending
the driving privileges of those that fail to live up to their obligation to drive safely.
However, after a year of investigation, the Task Force has concluded that the current
system of license suspension in New Jersey, as it has grown and evolved over the
years, has de-emphasized motorist safety as the primary reason for suspension.
Instead, the system results in license suspensions, most frequently, for reasons
unrelated to promoting highway safety. Further, the Task Force finds that license
Final Report vii
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
suspensions often have serious, albeit unintended, consequences especially for low
income drivers. These consequences include loss of employment and/or income;
higher insurance premiums; as well as a variety of psychological and social impacts.
As detailed in this report, the Task Force finds that key elements of the current system
need reform. Specifically:
The courts and MVC need to be given more flexibility and greater discretion to
address the unique circumstances of each case, especially for suspensions
resulting from financial reasons.
There is a need for greater public education regarding license suspension laws
and the potential direct and indirect consequences of license suspension.
License suspension notification procedures and documents need to be improved
to ensure notifications are received and to communicate better the importance of
addressing suspension issues; and
Social service agencies and employment counselors need to be educated
regarding the license restoration process and resources available to help their
clients regain driving privileges.
In addition, there was substantial discussion at Task Force meetings that let to a
recommendation that the State consider creating a restricted-use license program to
help those drivers who, for financial reasons, are unable to pay court-ordered
installment plans, child support orders, and MVC insurance surcharges in order to gain
their full driving privileges back.
Driver’s License Suspension in New Jersey
New Jersey has approximately six million licensed drivers. The vast majority of these
drivers remain violation and suspension free throughout their driving years. Only a
small percentage of drivers (five percent) have their driving privileges suspended
or revoked at any given time. Forty three percent of New Jersey drivers reside in
urban areas, while 38 percent live in suburban areas and 19 percent live in rural parts of
the State (see figure ES2). Most New Jersey drivers live in middle income areas. Only
about 17 percent of all licensed drivers in the State live in lower income zip codes and
12 percent live in high income areas (see figure ES3).
Contrary to the legislative declaration that accompanied the Task Force
legislation, it does not appear that there has been an upward trend in the number
of license suspensions being ordered or confirmed by the MVC. An analysis of
time series data indicates that over the past ten years the number of suspensions has
fluctuated but has remained relatively constant at approximately 800,000 +/- per year.
This figure represents the total of individual suspension actions taken, NOT the number
Final Report viii
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
of drivers subject to those actions. For example, it is common for an individual driver to
have several active suspension orders on his/her record at a given time. So, the number
of suspended drivers at any given time is far less than the number of suspensions
ordered or confirmed each year.
Driver’s license suspension was originally conceived as a sanction used to punish “bad
drivers.” The logical nexus between driving behavior and sanction was clear. However,
today in New Jersey, most license suspensions are not imposed to punish habitual bad
driving. The reasons for driver’s license suspension are diverse, complex and
sometimes interrelated. Reasons include those that are clearly driving related (e.g.,
DUI, point accumulation, reckless driving, and driving while suspended); those that are
clearly not driving related (e.g., compliance reasons such as failure to pay child
support or failure to appear in court for a non-driving offense and suspensions imposed
for drug-related offenses not involving the operation of a motor vehicle); and those that
are for compliance reasons indirectly related to driving behavior or motor vehicle
use. These include: failing to appear in court to pay/satisfy a parking ticket or moving
violation; failing to maintain proper auto insurance; and failing to pay MVC insurance
surcharges that stem from a driving related infraction.
Most suspended drivers (64 percent) have more than one active suspension.
Less than six percent of all suspended drivers are suspended for purely driving-
related reasons. The vast majority of drivers are suspended not for habitual “bad
driving,” but for a variety of compliance reasons stemming from one or more
motor vehicle infraction, parking tickets, or failing to maintain proper insurance.
Only a small percentage of drivers, less than five percent, are suspended for
purely non-driving, non-motor vehicle related reasons. It is noteworthy that most
suspended drivers (59 percent) have zero motor vehicle violation points. However, it
should also be noted that some serious driving offenses, such as DUI and driving while
suspended do not result in the assessment of motor vehicle points. Instead, in most
cases, these violations carry substantial fines and mandatory suspension periods.
A detailed analysis of suspension statistics and survey data specific to New Jersey
indicates that suspended drivers tend to be younger male drivers. Furthermore, a
disproportionate number of suspended drivers reside in urban and low-income
areas when compared to the distribution of all New Jersey licensed drivers. Although
only 43 percent of New Jersey licensed drivers reside in urban areas (see figure ES1),
63 percent of suspended drivers live there (see figure ES2). At the same time only 16.5
percent of New Jersey licensed drivers reside in lower income zip codes (see figure
ES3), while 43 percent of all suspended drivers live there (see figure ES4).
Final Report ix
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
50%
43%
45%
38%
40%
35%
30%
25%
19%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Urban Suburban Rural
Figure ES1 – Distribution of New Jersey licensed drivers by population density
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: Density calculation based on zip code data from 2000 US Census - Urban = >800 persons/sq. mi;
Suburban = 200-800 persons/sq. mi; Rural = < 200 persons/sq. mi.
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Figure ES2 – Distribution of suspended drivers by population density (May 2004)
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: FTA - Failure to Appear in a court of law; Suspended drivers include currently suspended drivers who have
had their driving privileges withdrawn at least one time for the stated reason; Density calculation based on zip code
data from 2000 US Census - Urban = >800 persons/sq. mi; Suburban = 200-800 persons/sq. mi; Rural = < 200
persons/sq. mi.
Final Report x
Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force
80% 71%
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Lower Income Middle Income High Income
Figure ES3 – Distribution of New Jersey licensed drivers by income class
Source: Driver’s License Suspension, Impacts and Fairness Study, Carnegie forthcoming
Notes: Income classifications based on zip code data from 2000 US Census – Lower income areas defined as
having an average annual household income less than $40,000, middle income areas have an average household
income between $40,000 and $85,000, high income areas have an average household income greater than $85,000.
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