Bill Inspired by Mercer County Woman Injured in Road Rage Accident
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, Shavonda Sumter and John Wisniewski sponsored to teach new drivers about the dangers of engaging in road rage was approved 76-0 Monday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill (A-1013) would require that the curriculum for driver education courses taught in this state’s public high schools include information on the dangers of aggressive driving.
“We know road rage is a real danger,” said Benson (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “We teach new drivers about all the many dangers they’ll face on the roadways, so it makes sense to emphasize the negative consequences of engaging in road rage.”
Benson said the bill was inspired by Jessica Rogers, a former Hamilton resident, who in 2005 at the age of 16 was left paralyzed from the chest down in a road rage crash. Jessica was a passenger in a vehicle, in which the driver, enraged after being cut off by another car, began chasing down the other car, weaving in and out of traffic before slamming into a telephone poll.
“Road rage is all too real,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We’ve seen it destroy countless lives and futures, and ensuring every new driver at least hears the adverse impact during their education courses cannot be a bad thing.”
“Aggressive driving is a leading cause of accident in the United States, and it’s completely avoidable and preventable,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Educating new drivers on the dangers of road rage is a practical way to improve roadway safety.”
“Statistics show more than 60 percent of drivers consider unsafe driving by others, including speeding, a major personal threat to themselves and their families,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “If some education can help put a stop to that and make our roads safer, we should do it.”
The bill requires the curriculum for approved classroom driver education courses and the informational brochure distributed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle include information on the dangers of aggressive driving.
The bill specifies that driving a vehicle in an aggressive manner includes, but is not limited to, unexpectedly altering the speed of a vehicle, making improper or erratic traffic lane changes, disregarding traffic control devices, failing to yield the right of way and following another vehicle too closely.
The bill further requires the MVC include the dangers of driving a vehicle in an aggressive manner as part of the written examination required to obtain an examination permit and basic driver’s license.
The bill now goes to the governor.