A bill in the New Jersey Senate is intended to help curb road rage. Dubbed “Jessica’s Law,” the measure would boost the punishment for anyone who drives recklessly in an attempt to endanger someone.
Sen. Thomas Goodwin, R-Mercer, wrote in the bill that disregard of the rights or safety of others in an effort to endanger another person or their property could result in stiffer penalties if the action causes injury to someone.
If signed into law, the maximum penalty for driving recklessly would be five years in prison – up from 18 months in current law. Offenders would also face up to $15,000 fines – up from $10,000.
This is the third session in a row that legislation has been offered to address road rage. The first two efforts advanced from committee but didn’t come up for consideration before the full chamber.
The effort is named for Jessica Rogers of Hamilton, NJ. At age 16, Rogers suffered severe injuries and was paralyzed from the neck down following a March 2005 wreck that resulted from an incident with another vehicle. The driver of the vehicle she was riding in hit a pole while trying to catch a car that cut him off. The driver was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation.
Supporters say that drivers who put their own selfish needs before the safety of the public must be held accountable.
The bill – S2030 – is awaiting consideration in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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