October 6, 2011
Re: Governor Christie signs bill on sundry changes to taxicab laws
Governor Christie recently signed A-1471, which makes sundry changes to taxicab laws, into law. P.L. 2011, c. 135 requires a municipality to determine by ordinance the number of taxi licenses available for issuance, permits a municipality to conduct a public auction for the licenses, changes the insurance requirements for taxi cab owners and requires each taxi cab operator to have a criminal history record background check.
A municipality must adopt an ordinance determining the number of taxi licenses available for issuance. The municipality may issue the license by a public auction conducted or supervised by the municipal clerk to the highest qualified bidder. The ordinance may also:
prescribe qualifications for prospective bidders, however, such qualifications cannot be inconsistent with any state law;
establish a minimum bid and conditions of sale with the reservation of the right to reject all bids where the highest bid is not accepted;
a requirement that the recipient of an issued taxi license reimburse the municipality for any costs incurred in complying with the public notice requirement. Please note that if more than one license is issued the cost is split equally among the licensees.
If the governing body determines that one or more additional licenses are available for issuance, a notice must be published stating the number of new or additional licenses to be authorized, the application period and a specific time and date at which no further licenses will be accepted. The notice must be published at least twice and at least one week apart. However, the second notice must be published at least 30 days prior to the deadline of issuance.
The owner of the taxi issued a license must file with the municipal clerk an insurance policy by an admitted insurance company. The policy must satisfy all claims for damages, by reason of bodily injury to, or death of, any person(s), or damages to property resulting from or on account of an accident by reason of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of such taxi upon any public street. The policy must provide the greater of:
Not less than $35,000 of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage
The amount required by N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1, maintenance of vehicle liability insurance coverage.
Please note that at this time N.J.S.A. 39:6B-1 requires coverage shall be at least in:
(1) an amount or limit of $15,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, on account of injury to, or death of, one person, in any one accident; and (2) an amount or limit, subject to such limit for any one person so injured or killed, of $30,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, on account of injury to or death of, more than one person, in any one accident; and (3) an amount or limit of $5,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, for damage to property in any one accident.
The owner of the taxi cab may, at their discretion, obtain additional motor vehicle liability insurance coverage from a company licensed outside New Jersey.
In addition, each operator/driver of a licensed taxicab must submit to the performance of a criminal history record background check paid for by them. The operator/driver shall be disqualified from operating or driving a taxi if a criminal history record background check reveals a record of conviction of any of the following crimes:
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4
Crime pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A 2C:39-3, 2C:39-4 or 2C:39-9
Other than a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C-35-2
If a person who has been convicted of one of the crimes listed above can produce a certificate of rehabilitation, the criminal offense shall not disqualify the applicant from operating or driving a taxi cab. Please note, drivers who received consent to operate in a municipality prior to the effective date of P.L. 2011. c.135 shall not be required to submit to a criminal history record background check.
Finally, all taxicabs shall display on the body of the vehicle their taxi licenses number along with each municipality that has issued a taxi license to that taxi cab. The information shall be 3 inches in height. The taxi license number must be located on the center rear quarter panel on the driver and passenger side as well as the rear center line of the trunk. The list of each municipality shall be displayed on each rear door.
P.L. 2011, c. 135 will take effect on Monday, November 28, 2011.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.