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March 9, 2022 5:21 PM, EST

New Jersey, Other States Expand Online Services for Heavy Trucks

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Registering heavy trucks just got easier in New Jersey thanks to the state’s motor vehicle commission adding 17 vehicle types to its expanded online services.

Many states, including New Jersey and Virginia, are continuing to expand their online vehicle services for commercial motor carriers. In 2020 and 2021, motor vehicle departments across the nation opted for electronic solutions due to office closures and restricted in-person visits in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.



The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission announced Feb. 24 that it had aggressively moved to electronic transactions during the pandemic. Now about 80% of all transactions can be completed online, said William Connolly, commission spokesman, increasing efficiency for the state and customers.

“Last year, we processed almost 12.3 million transactions — a record number and the first time we ever surpassed 12 million transactions in a single year,” Connolly said. “Most of our in-person transactions are by appointment now, too, which has practically eliminated lines at agencies.”

NJMVC has nearly 100% of the state’s vehicle codes able to be handled in online transactions for vehicle registration renewals and replacements in a project that started during the pandemic.

“Allowing customers to securely upload and submit documents for review is a big step forward for the NJMVC and our customers,” Connolly said. “We’re evaluating this new feature for future expansion of online services.”

Now 80,000 vehicles fall within the 17 types in the state newly eligible for online registration renewals and replacements, including 10,000 eligible vehicles in Code 11 (commercial truck or tractors, including those 55,000 pounds or more) and Code 33 (heavy-duty tow trucks).

Even though the process is only for renewals, Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, said, “Anything that helps reduce our time, especially eliminating a trip to MVC, is well worth it.” Newark and Jersey City are within the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania metropolitan area that employed the most — 64,400 — heavy- and tractor-truck drivers in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics through May 2020, the latest available figures. Other top metro areas employing truckers were Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (58,300) and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin in the Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin metro area (53,600).

Toth

“The reason why Newark-Jersey City have so many drivers is mostly due to the port drayage drivers. Also a lot of trucking companies are located in this part of the state,” she said, adding that members range from having one truck to the largest fleets. NJMTA represents 450 fleets operating in the state that employ 40,000 people.

Virginia started a new online vehicle re-registration program for smaller truck fleets (25 to 74 vehicles) called EZ Reg after it recognized a need to provide the same convenience that larger fleets with more than 75 vehicles have in EZ Fleet online services, said Jessica Cowardin, state DMV spokesperson.

Virginia rolled out an EZ Reg web link as part of a soft launch in February with a test group of two smaller fleets that processed seven transactions, while eight other fleets have applied to use it, according to Patrick Harrison, state DMV assistant commissioner of Motor Carrier Services.

Dale Bennett, president and CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association, said that because the majority of the association’s 300 members have fewer than 75 trucks, EZ Reg will help them renew their vehicle registrations.

Dale Bennett

Bennett

California has worked since the start of the pandemic to ensure its DMV “has taken numerous steps so commercial drivers can continue delivering essential products and supplies without having to worry about visiting a DMV office,” it announced in November.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California employed the second highest number of drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks (143,150), after Texas (195,850).

California’s DMV started offering online commercial driving services such as medical certificate updates and renewals for commercial driving licenses and motor carrier permits. “The DMV also no longer requires drivers with an out-of-state commercial license to take a knowledge or skills test when transferring to a California commercial license with the same class and endorsements,” it noted.

Wendy Cook, Texas DMV spokesperson, said the state has made no changes since the pandemic to its numerous online motor carrier services that were already available. Texas motor carriers may apply for operating authority with the electronic Licensing Insurance and Credentialing (eLINC) system, renew online for apportioned registration at the Texas International Registration Plan (TxIRP) and obtain oversize/overweight permits through the Texas Permitting and Routing Operation System (TxPROS).

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