Road rage drivers in New Jersey can now get up to five years in prison if their behavior causes a serious injury. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said a new state road rage law “does not permit you to act out every one of your childish tantrums while behind the wheel of a vehicle,” according to The Associated Press (AP).
The new measure, “Jessica’s Law,” is named after 23-year-old Jessica Rogers, who was paralyzed as a teen when the driver of a car she was riding in became enraged after being cut off by another vehicle. The driver chased after the other vehicle but ended up smashing into a telephone pole.
Rogers, then 16, was paralyzed from the waist down. She has since had two dozen surgeries, according to AP. The driver received four months in jail.
The new law levies the same penalties on aggressive drivers who cause injuries as those imposed on drunk drivers who cause injuries. Aggressive drivers who cause serious injury can receive a five-year prison sentence, while those causing minor injuries could face an 18-month sentence.
Rogers watched from her wheelchair as Christie signed the bill. “I hope it will make people think before they act,” she told AP, “whether they’re flipping people off, yelling at people, cutting people off.”
The bill is sorely needed, Christie said. He related one incident when a woman became angry that she could not drive between two vehicles in the governor’s motorcade. So she threw things at the governor’s vehicle.