Law & Justice

“Nikhil’s Law” to Emphasize Traffic Safety to Young Drivers Officially Becomes a Law

971e0d8aceed1e273720_nikhil.PNG
11-year-old Nikhil Badlani was killed when a Toyota Prius failed to make a complete stop at Wyoming and Lenox Avenues on June 11, 2011. Credits: Nikhil Badlani Foundation
971e0d8aceed1e273720_nikhil.PNG

RANDOLPH, NJ – A little more than four years after 11-year-old Nikhil Badlani of West Orange was killed in 2011 by a distracted driver who ran a stop sign, “Nikhil’s Law” was signed into law by Gov. Kim Guadagno on Aug. 4, in Randolph, NJ. The goal of the law is to hopefully prevent something similar from happening to someone else in the future.

“While no one gets behind the wheel and says, ‘I want to kill someone,” said Nikhil’s father, Sunil Badlani at the press conference, “the minute you drop your guard and drive distracted, a killer you become.”

“Like the Badlani family, I wish I didn’t need to be here today,” said Guadagno. “We all wish we could prevent every car accident, every serious injury, every fatality. We know that we can’t, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try. A moment of caution can make all the difference. This bill will send Nikhil’s message to not just our youngest drivers, but all of our drivers. And, hopefully, the Badlanis’ tragedy will help prevent other families from enduring such hardships.”

Sign Up for E-News

The law (A-1781), which was sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Charles Mainor, Mila Jasey, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter, and unanimously passed through the state Assembly and Senate, requires the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to expand the driver’s license examination to include a question asking applicants whether they are aware of the dangers of failing to follow the state’s motor vehicle traffic laws and whether know that they have the option to take the “STOP for Nikhil” safety pledge.

“For every young person, becoming a licensed driver is a major milestone that warrants celebration, but it also demands a greater sense of awareness of how one’s actions can affect others,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “This will remind new drivers that they have a duty to follow the rules of the road and exercise greater vigilance when they’re behind the wheel.”

“Having seen so much potential in so many young people as a teacher, a father and a football coach, knowing that Nikhil’s family and the West Orange community lost a child with great promise in this tragic way just breaks my heart,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “For the safety of individual drivers as well as entire neighborhoods across New Jersey, it’s critical that we take the time to educate our youth on traffic safety.”

“This is a simple step we can take to emphasize to our young people that driving comes with responsibility,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “The more we can highlight that point, hopefully the more our young drivers will put safety first.”

“Driving is a big responsibility,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “Emphasizing the need for safety is always a good thing.”

“For new and experienced drivers alike, operating a vehicle requires one’s undivided attention at all times, and it’s important that we make sure young people understand that as soon as they learn to drive,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This will emphasize the need to be safe while on the road.”

Nikhil’s Law requires the MVC commissioner, in consultation with the Nikhil Badlani Foundation, to include information in the MVC driver’s manual explaining the dangers of failing to follow the state’s motor vehicle traffic laws.  This information must provide interested drivers with instructions on how to take the “STOP for Nikhil” pledge. It also requires the commissioner to ensure that drivers have the option of taking the pledge by filling out a standard form made available at MVC offices or by following instructions on the appropriate website.

Aside from Randolph police and township council members, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and elected officials, AAA was also at the press conference to show their support for the bill. Following the event, the AAA sent out a press release that including AAA's remarks at the bill signing of Nikhil’s Law.

“There is nothing more important to AAA than roadway safety and preparing our drivers to be safe on the road,” said the press release.

Too often driving becomes a secondary activity—we are focused on a phone call, a text, planning what we are going to say at our meeting or worrying that we are late for our next appointment, according to AAA. “This bill serves to remind all drivers that when we are behind the wheel that should be our number one priority—getting from point A to B safely, not just for us but everyone we share the road with,” said AAA.

According to the AAA, in a two-year NHTSA study of the nearly 10,000 fatalities that occurred at traffic signals, 20 percent of vehicles had failed to obey the signal and 13 percent had failed to yield the right of way. Doing so not only puts the driver at risk but everyone else who relies on those signals to determine traffic patterns. This means that nearly one third of all fatalities at traffic signals could have been prevented if the driver had merely followed the STOP for Nikhil Safety Pledge”:

"I will come to a complete stop at every 'stop' sign or red traffic light, and will not proceed through a red traffic light.”

The AAA also said that a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that of the 700,000 crashes that occurred at stop signs over a four-year period, 70 percent of them were caused by stop sign violators. These violators were people who didn’t see a sign because they were in a hurry or distracted or who rolled through a stop because they knew that intersection. In addition, young drivers were disproportionately represented among those violators—which is why today’s law is so important, according to the AAA.

“Impressing that message onto young drivers when they learn will help build a lifetime of safe driving,” said AAA.

The AAA thanked the Governor, the Lt. Governor and Legislature for passing this bill, and the Badlani family for their “tireless advocacy.”

“They choose to use their voices in the hope that no one would have to suffer their same loss, said a representative for the AAA.”

“I’m sure Nikhil is smiling down right now and happy to see progress,” Sunil Badlani said. “But something tells me he’d rather be here witnessing this bill being signed.”

The pledge reads as follows:

“In order to ensure the safety of others on the road, passengers in my car, and myself as a driver, I pledge to obey traffic laws while operating a motor vehicle, be extra cautious, and be attentive to traffic signs and signals and road conditions. Specifically:

“I will come to a complete stop at every ‘stop’ sign or red traffic light, and will not proceed through a red traffic light;

“I will stay alert, keep two hands on the steering wheel whenever possible, and keep my mind on the road;

“I will talk safely by using a hands-free wireless telephone while driving if I am of lawful age to do so and refrain from texting while driving; and

“I will plan ahead and leave enough time to arrive at my destination.”

Last year, Warren students participated in the STOP for Nikhil Run/Walk. http://tapinto.net/towns/warren/articles/warren-middle-school-seventh-graders-run-5k-for-t

The Fifth Annual STOP For Nikhil Run/Walk is being held by the Nikhil Badlani Foundation, on Sept. 20, at West Orange High School to raise traffic safety awareness. To learn more, participate or donate, click HERE.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Bee Day at Hanson Park!!

May 20, 2018

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Saturday, June 23rd for Bee Day at Hanson Park!  At 2:00 PM Grant Stiles from Stiles Honey will be sharing his knowledge of bees with his presentation, “Fundamentals of Beekeeping and the Importance of Honey Bees in Our Society.”  Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as Mr. Stiles answers all of your ...

Golf Outing On May 26 Benefits Retired Racehorses

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, N.J. —May 29, will mark Standardbred Retirement Foundation's (SRF) 26th Annual Charity Golf Outing being held at the beautiful Battleground Country Club in Manalapan, N.J.

This much anticipated event is held in conjunction with SRF's online auction which will open for bidding beginning Friday, May 25 and end at 7 p.m. on  Thursday, June 7. The outing ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

May 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

WHRHS Baseball: Roxbury Baseball Powers Past Watchung Hills

May 19, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School baseball team won its 14th game on Friday, rolling over Watchung Hills 9-1 at home.

Offensively, Roxbury did its damage early, scoring twice in the second inning and then five more times in the third to take an early 7-0 lead.

Roxbury’s Will Findlay had two hits and Donovan Brady, Andy Axelson and Brian Dachowski all had base hits. In ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

Hillsborough Man Sentenced for Bribing Doctors in $100M Test Referral Scheme

May 18, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Five individuals including a Hillsborough resident  were sentenced Friday for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough and Kevin ...

North Plainfield Middle School Hosts Holocaust and Genocide Open House

NORTH  PLAINFIELD, NJ - All are invited to the 2018 North Plainfield Middle School Holocaust/Genocide Open House on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Students and staff will be on hand to serve as docents for a unique exhibit.

It is a museum in a school, created by the school, constructed by the school and for everyone in the community. featuring  over 400 posters, memorabilia and artifacts ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

Phone App Leads to Arrest of Arizona Fugitive

                                                                              

BOUND BROOK, NJ – A local resident wanted on a fugitive warrant from Arizona and Washington was tracked down ...

Podcast: The Royal Wedding Through the Eyes of a Brit

May 19, 2018

In our May 18 podcast, Giles Bootheway, a British citizen who teaches at St. Bonaventure University, shares his thoughts on the Royal Wedding with TAPinto Greater Olean Co-editor Richard Lee.

PLAY

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get ...

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit Parkland Cares and the Jason Taylor Reading Room, May 17 -Travels Charity Spotlight -

PARKLAND, FL - Parkland Cares will hold a Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 17 at Parkland Golf & Country Club, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Jason Taylor Reading Room and Parkland Cares.  The event is presented by Steven Douglas and former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor will be in attendance.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA, is chairman of Debt.com and a 30-year ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...