New Jersey measure intended to protect drivers

| 10/13/2006

With a little less than three months remaining in New Jersey’s legislative session, a bill that still could come up for consideration is intended to add a barrier of protection for truckers and other drivers in the state.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Trenton, the bill would require the installation of protective fencing along certain highway overpasses in the state to prevent objects from being dropped onto the roadway below.

The bill would require New Jersey’s Department of Transportation, Highway Authority, Turnpike Authority, the South Jersey Transportation Authority, counties and municipalities to install protective fencing along certain overpasses carrying a road or highway. The fencing is intended to prevent the dropping of objects from overpasses if the overpass traverses a roadway.

Municipalities and counties would be reimbursed for the costs of meeting the provisions of the bill.

Gusciora cited the January 2003 death of a Hopewell Township, NJ, woman for his pursuit of the new rule.

Elaine Cowell was killed after an 18-pound chunk of ice was dropped from an overpass and smashed through the windshield of the car she was driving.

Gusciora said the incident “illustrates the need for protective fencing along certain overpasses.”

The bill – A1350 – is in the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee. Lawmakers have until Jan. 8 to approve legislation.