The New Jersey Assembly has passed legislation to increase the penalty for road rage.
The bill is named for Jessica Rogers who was paralyzed from the chest down when the car she was in crashed into a telephone pole in Mercer County in 2005. The driver, who was angry about being cut off, was attempting to pass another car on the shoulder.
Sitting in her wheelchair during the Assembly session, Rogers said she hopes the measure sends a message to all drivers.
“If someone cuts you off or someone is tailgating you, don’t get upset about it. Switch lanes. Let them pass you,” said Rogers, now 23. “Let them get by, because it can turn into something horrible.”
Rogers said she was surprised that the driver who caused her accident was in jail for only four months.
“I don’t want a family to have to go through what I went through and what my family had to go through because it not only changed my life just being in a wheelchair, but it’s an everyday struggle,” she said.
The legislation, which is still awaiting action in the Senate, adds road rage to New Jersey’s assault-by-auto statue and increases the punishment by as much as five years in prison.