Bill to Help NJ Police Identify Autism Advances

November 15, 2022

A bill that would allow a voluntary notation on driver’s licenses to indicate a diagnosis of autism is now being considered by the New Jersey Legislature. The bill (S761/A2369) is currently waiting for a floor vote by the Senate and to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Autism New Jersey supports this important legislation that would help police officers quickly identify drivers with autism during traffic stops.

In an interview with WYNC, Autism New Jersey’s Executive Director, Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, highlighted the importance of this bill, “Anytime there’s interaction with law enforcement, first impressions are critical,” said Buchanan. “Police officers have to very quickly assess if someone’s behavior is unusual or suspicious.” She added that someone with autism might not exhibit appropriate eye contact or understand the officer’s instructions. The purpose of this bill is to help bridge that communication gap.

Autism New Jersey thanks the bill’s sponsors, Senators Nellie Pou (D-35) and Kristin Corrado (R-40), Assemblywomen Yvonne Lopez (D-19) and Aura Dunn (R-25), and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-34), for their leadership in championing this bipartisan bill and will report updates as it advances through the Legislature.

For more information, contact our Public Policy Director Eric Eberman, M.S.Ed. at eeberman@autismnj.org.