dr marten monkey boots Car registration laws in NJ are out of control JEFF EDELSTEIN COLUMN
Get a pillow ready, folks.
Fact: Nycol Thomas was pulled over for speeding on the Trenton Freeway Tuesday afternoon. You know, the part of Route 1 where it resembles the autobahn in Germany, where there like two exits and everyone is Anyway, she gets pulled over by a Lawrence Township police officer. Her 3 year old daughter, Lenaya, is in the car.
Thomas, who works for the county as a social worker, had taken a half day so she could run some errands daughter has been wanting to go to Walmart for weeks, she said and to stop by Motor Vehicles to renew her registration.
Earlier in the day, she went to the Trenton MVC office to do so, but realized she had her old insurance card in the car. So she trucked back home, plucked the new insurance card out of the mail pile, got back in the car, and figured she just go to the MVC on Bakers Basin and be done with it.
Then she got pulled over and told the officer the horrible truth: Her registration had expired December 31. A Sunday. This was January 2, a Tuesday, the first day the MVC was open since the holiday.
At this point the police officer followed the letter of the law, followed the letter of the Lawrence Township Municipal Code: He told Thomas he was going to have to impound her car.
said, I two days overdue, I have my 3 year old daughter in the car, I on my way to do this, please give me a break, please have a heart. Thomas told me. saw I have a clean driving record. But he said no,
unfortunately I have to tow you. The tow truck came, Thomas had to wait for a ride back home, and then insult to injury she had to pay $160 for the cost of the tow, $35 to store it for two hours, and $60 to Lawrence Township. Plus, a court date on January 18.
All for being a day late with her registration. Ridiculous.
And I not the only one who thinks so.
one should be towed especially someone with kids for an oversight, and certainly not within a month of the expiration, and especially not the next business day. A marginal fine? Sure. But we shouldn be stranding people on the side of the road if they out of date for a few days, said Assemblyman (and soon to be state Senator) Declan O when I told him about what happened to Thomas.
I knew O would agree with me (which is why I called him). The law is clearly asinine, plain and simple, and I found O to have gobs of common sense, a commodity in short supply in the state legislature, the political body that created these laws. To be clear: I have no issue with the police (who I don fault for enforcing the laws) nor do I have issue with the towing companies (who I don fault for doing what they contracted to do).
But as O points out, there is no liability issue at play here. There is no single reason to force someone to sit outside in the frigid cold with their 3 year old because their car registration is a day overdue.
And Thomas isn alone. I threw the this ever happened to you question up on Facebook, and within hours I had dozens of other stories, including a few where police officers used their discretion to let people go.
From what I gathered, some towns allow their police officers the discretion. Some don Lawrence seems to fall in the latter category.
should be no discretion, O said. simply should not be thrown to the side of the road and have your car towed. He said he been talking with the MVC and looking into writing legislation that would stop the automatic towing practice, especially for oversights, especially for first time offenders, and especially for those who are a day late.
And then O took the registration question one step further.
do we even have yearly registration? There no need for that, he said. should be good until your car is sold.
Agreed. The whole yearly registration process is a sham, and it downright evil we have a law that leaves mothers on the sides of highways with their 3 year olds because their papers are a day past due. Glad to see at least one elected official has his eyes set on doing something about it.