Autism New Jersey Supports Autism ID Cards to Assist First Responders

November 05, 2020

January 2022 Update:

This bill did not passed as of the end of the 2020-21 legislative session in early January. We will continue to support this legislation if it’s re-introduced in the current legislative session.

March 2022 Update:

Bill S741/A3191 from the 2020-2021 legislative session has been reintroduced in the current (2022-2023) legislative session as bill S1773/A294. As of this date, the bill has not made any progress through the legislature.

A similar bill (S761/A2369), which would allow the holder of a driver’s license or non-driver identification card to indicate that the person has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or communication disorder, has been passed through the Senate Transportation Committee and the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and is currently waiting to be heard in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Original Story:

Autism New Jersey is pleased to announce our strong support of legislation that will help law enforcement quickly and easily identify those with autism and other communication disabilities in emergency situations. Bill S741/A3191 “Permits person diagnosed with autism or communication disability to voluntarily make notation on driver’s license, identification card, and in MVC registry; establishes program to train law enforcement officers in interactions with persons with autism or communication disabilities” is sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13), Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-8).

If enacted, the bill would allow the holder of a basic driver’s license or non-driver identification card to voluntarily indicate on the card that they have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or a communication disability. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission would also maintain a registry in which individuals with autism or a communication disability could voluntarily submit additional information that may help assist law enforcement. This information would include but is not limited to: license plate and registration information of their vehicle, emergency contact information of someone who could communicate on their behalf, and any other information that may assist law enforcement when communicating with the individual. The bill also includes mandatory training for law enforcement personnel on effective communication and de-escalation methods.

The Assembly version of the bill was reported out of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, and the Senate version has been introduced and referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. Autism New Jersey appreciates the legislative sponsors’ leadership and shares their commitment to safer communities for individuals with autism.

Non-government issued ID cards and other resources

For those interested in a sample of a non-government issued ID card, click here.

Additional ID products and information are offered in our Safety Resource Guide.

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