Local/State

Gov. Christie signs road rage law

Friday, April 20, 2012

Aggressive drivers can now spend up to five years behind bars if their bad behavior behind the wheel causes a serious injury.

Governor Chris Christie signed the road rage law Friday, saying "you cannot act out every one of your childish tantrums while behind the wheel of a vehicle."

"I can't dress myself, I can't shower myself," said Jessica Rogers.

Jessica Rogers of Hamilton, New Jersey was paralyzed from the chest down 7 years ago in a road rage accident when the driver of the car she was in became angry that someone cut him off. He chased after the car and crashed into a pole.

"I'm truly sorry for what's happened," said Daniel Robbins, told the court back in 2007.

19 year old Daniel Robbins served four months in jail for causing the crash.

"I'm serving a life sentence if you think about it, and 4 months? That's nothing," said Jessica.

But under a new law signed by Governor Christie called "Jessica Roger's Law", road rage drivers that cause permanent injury or near death will face stiffer penalties: up to 5 years in jail and $15,000 in fines.

"Somebody decides they can't control their temper, that they cause this kind of injury, that person needs to pay a heavy penalty," said Governor Christie.

Jessica knows the law named after her won't stop road rage incidents, but if the threat of tougher penalties can keep anyone else from winding up confined to a wheelchair the way she is, she says it's worth it.

"I hope it will make people think before they act," said Jessica. "You know whether they're flipping people off, yelling at people, bumping into people, cutting people off."

Jessica, who wants to be a psychologist, has paid a terrible price for someone else's road rage, undergoing at least 24 surgeries since the crash.

But along with her family, she's been on a mission to get this law passed as a deterrent to angry drivers.

"If you're riding down the road and somebody cuts you off and you start to get angry, picture this," said Scott Rogers.

Picture a 23 year old woman who will never walk again, whose entire life was altered by someone angry behind the wheel, but who still managed to fight so that drivers who cause such injury and heartache will pay a heavier price.

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Tags:
road rage, gov. chris christie, trenton, new jersey, local/state, nora muchanic
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