TRENTON, N.J. –Assemblywoman Aura Dunn’s bill requiring the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue special digitally-imprinted licenses to drivers diagnosed with autism cleared the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on Thursday.
The bill (A4651) aims to improve communication between law enforcement and people with autism spectrum disorder.
“Interactions with police officers are stressful for drivers who don’t struggle with communication issues. Those on the autism spectrum can experience much more intense reactions that make it difficult to respond appropriately in these types of encounters,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. “A designated imprint on driver’s licenses would help law enforcement recognize when a person may have trouble communicating and also reduce some anxieties for those with autism.”
The MVC would design the special license or identification card bearing a digital imprint in consultation with other state agencies and at least one advocacy group, and issue guidance to assist law enforcement who are interacting with drivers on the spectrum.
In New Jersey, nearly one third of teenagers with autism spectrum disorder get their driver’s licenses by the age of 21.
The Senate Transportation Committee passed a companion bill (S849) in Jan. 2020.