New law allows NJ drivers to indicate autism, communication disorder on license

New law allows NJ drivers to indicate autism, communication disorder on license

Aura Dunn

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Aura Dunn’s bill allowing New Jersey drivers with autism or another communication disorder to notate their diagnosis on a license or ID issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission was signed into law on Monday.

The bill (A2369/S761) aims to improve communication between law enforcement and those who have problems processing, comprehending or applying language.

“This law helps break down invisible barriers and makes interactions safer for drivers who have autism or disorders involving speech or language,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. “A simple notation on a license will help law enforcement officers recognize that a driver may have trouble responding appropriately through no fault of their own, which can help reduce anxiety for those drivers as well as officers.”

The law also provides that police departments in the state will receive written guidance on effectively communicating with a person who has autism or another communication disorder.

“Leaders in law enforcement are embracing this legislation because it reinforces their efforts to better understand the limitations of certain drivers with disabilities before emergencies arise,” she added.

In New Jersey, nearly one third of teenagers with autism get their driver’s licenses by the age of 21. More than a dozen other states have enacted similar legislation allowing a driver’s license applicant to request a communication impediment notation.

New Jersey’s law also allows a parent, guardian or caregiver to request the notation on the driver’s behalf. The diagnosis will be under the restrictions column on licenses.

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