12/07/2019 at 11:06 am #176758552
Shelia at NMAParticipant
Dear NMA New Jersey Members,
New Jersey Assembly Bill 4135 (A4135) would allow state, county, and municipal agencies to use digital parking meters to electronically monitor fixed parking spaces using sensors, video, and photo capture capabilities. An app for a smartphone or tablet device would allow the vehicle operator to pay parking fees electronically.
Violations and subsequent summons will be supported by evidence produced by the digital parking meter, including the time of entry into the space, the time of the violation, and a photograph of the vehicle and its license plate. A4135 also mandates that a $2 surcharge be added to each parking fine. Proceeds of the surcharge will go toward a “Designated Driver Fund to Prevent Drunk Driving Fatalities.”
This automated parking compliance bill is awaiting action by Governor Phil Murphy. Both chambers of the state legislature voted in favor of the bill on June 20th and forwarded it to the chief executive’s office. Murphy has 45 days to sign the bill into law, veto it — thereby killing it — or send it back to the legislature with recommended changes as a conditional veto. As you get this alert, the governor has not yet taken action and has a little over 20 days left to take action.
The National Motorists Association, through Steve Carrellas, the New Jersey Director of Government and Public Affairs, has formally contacted the governor’s office to request a veto and provided a comprehensive list of issues to justify that veto. A4135 barely passed the Senate, so it does not have widespread support. We encourage you to contact Governor Murphy and join the NMA in opposing the bill.
Because the governor can sign A4135 into law at any time, make that contact as soon as possible. While you can call the governor’s office at 1-609-292-6000, a greater impact may be made by registering your opposition to A4135 in writing. Information on where to send a mailed letter or online response is provided later in this alert.
There are several points of opposition to this legislation, as we note below. When you contact the governor, it is important to make any of these points using your own words based on personal experience. If the governor and his staff receive several letters/emails with the same wording, they will consider them all are coming from one source, and the power of having a broad response from many constituents will be lost.
We recommend choosing just one or two of the opposition points that mean the most to you. A focused letter or email noting your primary concern(s) has the most impact:
The digital parking meter process requires capture and storage of the identification and location of parked vehicles, whether or not an alleged parking violation occurs. A4135 provides no requirements for protecting that information from resale to others, or for unrelated enforcement actions. The bill should contain provisions for the immediate deletion of vehicle identification information if no violation has occurred. When an alleged violation has occurred, there must still be a reasonable limitation on data retention.
The Review Process and Appeal of Violations
The legislation does not deal with a process that allows for the handling of special cases or mistakes. For example, persons with disabilities using a placard hanging from the rearview mirror may not have it “seen” by the digital parking meter. Time-based fees are exempted by state law for persons with disabilities. How will the system accommodate that?
License plate data may not match the proper registration record resulting or the meter may incorrectly read the plate, resulting in a parking ticket being sent to the wrong person. Bill provisions must allow for an appeal and dismissal process that does not require a court appearance for those who can prove the vehicle identification information is not theirs.
Regulatory Monitoring and Certification
The bill does not address how the accuracy of the digital parking meters will be maintained to ensure accuracy of collected information. It must spell out a process by which the calibration and accuracy of timekeeping of each meter are checked regularly and documented.
Sanctions for Violations of Statutes and Regulations
The history of automated enforcement is replete with abuses and even corruption. The bill must provide a process for evaluating those in the revenue stream, including vendor/operators and government agencies, to protect the public against abuses. The bill must also detail fines for operator/agency violations of data protection requirements.
Contacting the Governor
You may have other reasons to oppose the use of digital parking meters as envisioned by A4135. We again encourage you to use your personal experiences to inform your response to Governor Phil Murphy on this bill.
Letters through the U.S. Postal Service may be sent to:
The Honorable Phil Murphy
Governor of New Jersey
125 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
The salutation should be “Dear Governor Murphy,” Be sure to include your mailing address to provide evidence that you are a voting constituent.
Email correspondence to the governor must go through an online portal located at https://www.nj.gov/governor/contact/. For the Topic field, choose “Motor Vehicles,” which will not require a subtopic. Leave the Organization fields — Group and Relationship/Title — blank. The NMA is already on record regarding this bill; you are advocating as an individual New Jersey resident. Fill in the other required fields.
Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. We’ve covered much here because of the inadequacy of the bill, but unless New Jersey residents speak up, legislation like A4135 will be enacted that adversely affects the rights of motorists across the state.
Thank you for your support of motorist rights in New Jersey!
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