On appeal from the Division of Motor Vehicles.
King, Deighan and Bilder. The opinion of the court was delivered by King, P.J.A.D.
[198 NJSuper Page 365] This case involves the question of whether the Director of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver's license for a conviction for driving while intoxicated in a sister state, Vermont, which is not a signatory to the Interstate Driver License Compact. N.J.S.A. 39:5D-1 et seq. Appellant contends that N.J.S.A. 39:5-30.1,*fn1 L. 1953, c. 429, § 1, impliedly repealed the authority
previously granted to the Director in 1921 by N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(a), L. 1921, c. 208, § 6, to suspend driver's licenses for out-of-state motor vehicle violations. N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(a) authorizes the Director to revoke the license of a New Jersey resident for a violation of Title 39 or "on any other reasonable grounds."
We disagree with appellant. This court has consistently held that an out-of-state conviction for driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor is "any other reasonable ground" justifying revocation. Matter of Kovalsky, 195 N.J. Super. 91 (App.Div.1984); Tichenor v. Magee, 4 N.J. Super. 467, 471 (App.Div.1949); see also Bechler v. Parsekian, 36 N.J. 242, 251 (1961); Farrell v. Strelecki, 88 N.J. Super. 221, 222-223 (App.Div.1965).
We conclude that N.J.S.A. 39:5-30.1, adopted in 1953, four years after our decision in Tichenor v. Magee, was not intended to diminish the powers of the Director to suspend licenses of New Jersey residents convicted of drunken driving in states not signatories of the reciprocal interstate compact. We agree with the Attorney General that N.J.S.A. 39:5-30.1, and also the related N.J.S.A. 39:4-9.1, was intended to establish "machinery for interstate cooperation between New Jersey and other states in the area of motor vehicle violations." The currently extant Interstate Driver Licenses Compact was actually adopted by the Legislature in this State as L. 1966, c. 73,
§ 1. There are presently 26 signatory states. Vermont is not a signatory state.
Appellant, a resident and licensed driver of New Jersey, was convicted in Vermont of driving while intoxicated upon a guilty plea after a .12 blood alcohol reading. His driving privileges were suspended for one year in Vermont. Although not a member of the Compact, Vermont voluntarily notified the Director of the appellant's conviction and suspension. The Director rejected appellant's contention that his authority to suspend in the circumstance was absent because Vermont was not a participant in the compact and imposed a six-month suspension. See N.J.A.C. 13:19-11.1(a).
We perceive no conflict between the two statutes and reject the notion that passage of N.J.S.A. 39:5-30.1 in 1953 operated as an implied repealer of the Director's power to revoke under N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(a) as authoritatively construed by Tichenor v. Magee in 1949. The available legislative history on section 30.1 reveals no such purpose. The original and final bill, Senate No. 170, was described in the preamble as "supplementing chapter five of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes."
The bill was originally vetoed by Governor Driscoll because the suspension power of the Director was limited to the extent of time of the actual revocation in the sister state where the conviction occurred. The bill in final form, as signed by Governor Driscoll, authorized the Director to suspend for the period for which the driving privilege would have been suspended had a conviction for a like offense occurred in this State.
The Governor's veto message stated in pertinent part our public policy in 1953 on drunken driving
Pursuant to Article V, Section 1, paragraph 14(b) of the State Constitution, I am returning herewith, for reconsideration and with ...