According to a May 15th press release, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S761/A2369) requiring the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to provide a voluntary notation on New Jersey driver’s licenses or identification cards indicating a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or a communication disorder.
The law goes into effect a year and a half from enactment and allows the individual or their caregiver to submit documentation to indicate the autism spectrum or communication disorder diagnosis on the driver’s license or non-driver identification card under the column designated for restrictions.
Additionally, the law directs the Commissioner of Human Services, Attorney General, and State Police Superintendent to work with at least one autism or communication disorder advocacy organization to develop guidance for law enforcement officers in effectively communicating with an individual with autism or a communication disorder.
Autism New Jersey has supported this legislation since its introduction. “Interactions with law enforcement require clear communication, and first impressions are critical to everyone’s safety,” said Autism New Jersey Executive Director, Suzanne Buchanan.
“When law enforcement interacts with an individual, it may not be readily apparent that the individual has autism, and barriers to communication might be misunderstood or misperceived, potentially creating an unsafe situation for both the individual and the law enforcement officer.”
This legislation will provide immediate information to law enforcement so that they can adapt their approach accordingly.
Consistent with our mission to ensure safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, Autism New Jersey is actively working with State officials and local law enforcement to assist in the development of guidance, training, and networking opportunities to make New Jersey more autism friendly.
See below for more information on Autism New Jersey’s support for this legislation: