Aggressive driving, also known as “road rage” is a deadly problem that plagues communities across America. Over a seven year period, AAA estimates that road rage has caused 218 murders and more than 12,000 injuries. Nationwide, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that over the past four years, it has been involved in 106,727 fatality crashes. This is 56% of the total number of accidents recorded over this period. While strongly discouraged, drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with aggressive drivers and up to 2% of motorists have acknowledged retaliating against an aggressor and attempting to force them off the road. When drivers do retaliate, they themselves become aggressive drivers and are liable for the injuries and damages such retaliation creates.
Road Rage Defined
There are many different behaviors that are considered forms of aggressive driving that cause automobile accidents. Common forms of aggressive driving include:
- Following too closely to vehicles in the roadway, also known as “tailgating.”
- Swerving in front of vehicles in order to force them to change direction.
- “Brake checking” vehicles that have been passed or are traveling in the roadway behind the aggressive driver’s vehicle.
- Brandishing weapons or making threatening statements. This is a growing problem and the National Safety Council reports that 37% of all road rage incidents involve the brandishing of a firearm.
- Bumping of vehicles or pedestrians in order to push them out of the way.
- Failing to obey speed limits or other posted signs. In fact, speeding is one of the most common factors in causing accidents and is cited in more than 30% of fatality accidents.
Liability for Aggressive Driving
Aggressive drivers are solely liable for the actions they take while they are behind the wheel. They are liable for the medical expenses, pain, and suffering, personal injuries, lost wages, loss of consortium, etc. that their actions cause. In some cases, such as those involving commercial truck drivers, the aggressor’s employer may also be held liable if there is a demonstrated history of dangerous driving behaviors in the individual’s personnel records.
When a victim is injured in an aggressive driving incident, a Tennessee car accident lawyer can help compile evidence and present it to the court. Evidence like police reports, insurance documentation and medical records that show the actions that led up to the accident and the impact the accident has had on the individual’s health and lifestyle are often included.