Losing your cool on the road is dangerous. Aggressive driving is a major part of road rage incidents and causes many deadly car accidents each year.
Aggressive driving conduct
Aggressive driving occurs when a motorist commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that pose a danger to other people or property, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The increase in rude and extreme driving in recent years may be attributed to more drivers driving more miles on the same roads.
It is difficult to measure this conduct. But a 2009 study by the American Automobile Association tried to identify behaviors based on data from the NHTSA’s fatal accident report system.
Aggressive driving was involved in 56 percent of fatal traffic accidents from 2003 through 2007, according to this study. Excessive speed was the top factor.
Other contributing factors were cited by the NHTSA. These included improper or unpredictable lane changes, passing in prohibited areas, failure to yield right of way, not complying with warnings or instructions displayed on other vehicles, failure to signal, driving too fast for conditions, racing, making an improper turn, suddenly changing speeds and driving erratically, negligently or suddenly. Failure to obey traffic signs, control devices, traffic officers and safety zone limits was another factor.
For over 20 years, according to the NHTSA, speeding played a role in one-third of all traffic deaths. Seventeen percent of motorists involved in a fatal crash in 2017, 8,856 drivers, were speeding.
Raising state speed limits over the last 25 years led to approximately 37,000 traffic deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS attributed lifting limits for 1,900 deaths just for 2017.
By 2019, 42 states raised their limits to speeds between 70 and 80 mph. Texas has one road with an 85-mph limit.
Traffic congestion is often mentioned as one of the factors contributing to speeding and other aggressive driving. According to the NHTSA, drivers deal with traffic congestion by speeding, frequently changing lanes or getting frustrated with other drivers.
Aggressive driving may be blamed on motorists running late for work or another commitment. The perceived anonymity of driving in a vehicle also lifts constraints on unacceptable behavior.
An attorney can help you gather evidence of another motorist’s reckless or negligent behavior. Lawyers can help you or your family seek compensation.