BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP– The Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) on Wednesday announced upcoming changes to the parking privileges law for persons with a disability and a new procedure for issuing wheelchair symbol placards and license plates so that persons with a disability can find a designated parking space when they need it.
“For New Jerseyans with a disability, these designated parking spaces can mean the difference between being able to comfortably go to a store or doctor,” said Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “These changes to the parking privileges law will better serve those who truly need them, while also preventing future abuse of the placard and license plate program.”
Effective Aug. 1, state law will require that the qualifying medical condition of persons with a disability be recertified every three years in order to obtain a new placard to hang from the rear-view mirror of their vehicle or the vehicle they are riding in. The new certification needs to be completed by a qualified medical practitioner and must indicate that the qualifying disability continues to exist.
Martinez, who was joined today by Joseph Young of the Disability Rights of New Jersey organization, Dianna Maurone of the NJ Division of Disability Services within the state Department of Health and Human Services and Tom Grady of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, noted that this announcement is not intended to panic persons who have disabilities.
Motorists who currently hold these unique parking privileges will not need to submit recertification documentation until their current privileges are due for renewal.
“Renewal notices will continue to be sent out every three (3) years,” said Martinez. “At that time, the medical recertification and new application forms, found on our website, will need to be completed and submitted at any of our 39 agencies or by mail. Law enforcement has been advised to honor the current placards until customers have been through the renewal process.”
To further ease the transition for the state’s more than half a million placard/license plate holders, as the renewals become due, the MVC has begun mailing out inserts along with the registration renewal forms to explain the change in the law.
The new placards, that will be issued beginning Aug. 1, have been redesigned and will feature a clearly visible expiration date to help the holder stay compliant and assist law enforcement in enforcing the parking privileges law.
“Placards must be accompanied by an identification card and can be used in any vehicle a person with a disability rides in,” explained Martinez. “The person identified on the card may either be the driver or a passenger in that vehicle but the card is non-transferable and will be confiscated if presented by another person.”
Wheelchair symbol license plates are renewed every year as part of the normal registration renewal process. Under the new law and in order to retain the plates, the medical recertification will need to take place every three years. However, if the holder of the “Person with a Disability Identification Card” for whom the license plates were issued no longer qualifies for the license plates, the owner of the vehicle would have to surrender the wheelchair symbol license plates at any motor vehicle agency and apply for a set of regular plates.
The MVC website has been revamped to make the necessary applications easier to find. An overview, an instructional checklist and a set of frequently asked questions can also be found at www.njmvc.gov
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