Harrington, Ruiz Highlight New Spanish-Language Driver Manual
“As one of the most ethnically diverse states in the nation, New Jersey is home to an estimated 1,364,699 people of Hispanic/Latino origin,” noted Harrington. “With motor vehicle safety being one of the most critical issues in this state, it’s essential for the MVC to ensure that core publications and services are available to those customers who may not read or speak English.”
The new and improved El Manual del Conductor de New Jersey, which was published in English earlier this year, has an updated look and more manageable size, contains updated information covering motor vehicle laws and regulations and new content not offered in previous manuals. Chapters of the new driver manual are organized in a logical and easily accessible manner. Content upgrades include enhanced information on pedestrian safety, details of the new cell phone law that took effect March 1 and detailed coverage of the 6 Point ID Verification Program requirements. Some of the driver manual’s newest features include easy-to-read, color-coded chapters, the inclusion of New Jersey Statute citations throughout the manual and a useful moving violation points table.
“New Jersey has a responsibility to ensure access to safety materials for all drivers – no matter what language they may speak,” said Senator Ruiz, D-Essex and Union. “I applaud the MVC for taking the initiative to reach out to Spanish-speaking drivers and making sure that they know the rules of the road. I hope this signals a greater willingness from State agencies to make their documents more accessible for all residents who do not speak English as their first language.”
Efforts to revamp the driver manual began following a survey that was sent to driver education teachers around the state in late 2006. The survey was used to gather opinions and comments on various elements of the driver manual. From content and clarity to the physical layout of the publication, the more than 100 comments received were used by MVC professionals to plan changes to the driver manual.
El Manual del Conductor de New Jersey is just one of several key, Spanish-language publications offered by the MVC. The Commission also offers its Commercial Driver License (CDL) Manual and 6 Point ID Verification brochure in Spanish versions. These publications are available online at www.njmvc.gov or by request at any motor vehicle agency.
In addition to publications, the MVC also offers a variety of other translated services to its Spanish-speaking customers, including driver knowledge testing, Web site “Popular Topic” sections covering license renewal, a general information customer phone line, and a Speakers Bureau with several Spanish-speaking presenters.
Along with a variety of services, the MVC, along with its partner, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, sought to reach Spanish-speaking residents this year with two high profile motor vehicle safety campaigns – “Be Alert: Watch for Motorcycles” and “Put the Phone Down.”
“Language should never be a barrier to essential services, especially motor vehicle services,” added Harrington.