In an August 2016 study conducted by connected car company, Automatic, that evaluated drivers in cities around the U.S., Phoenix and Tucson took the top 2 spots for the most aggressive drivers. The company looked at the rates of acceleration and braking to help determine aggressive drivers. Drivers who accelerate way too quickly and bring the car to a squealing halt are indicators of aggressive driving.
What is Aggressive Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association defines Aggressive driving as “driving actions that markedly exceed the norms of safe driving behavior and that directly affect other road users by placing them in unnecessary danger.” Examples of specific behaviors that would fall under this definition would include:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Frequent, erratic and unsafe lane changes.
- Improper passing
- Failure to yield the right of way to other vehicles
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Driving at speeds far in excess of the norm.
Most of these traffic offenses, by themselves, would warrant a traffic ticket and a fine. However, when aggressive driving is the cause of an accident seriously injuring another individual, a personal injury attorney experienced in negotiating with insurance companies, such as Folger Law firm, can ensure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve.
How big is the problem of Aggressive Driving?
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of fatal traffic accidents.
State Farm and KRC Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S. drivers over 18 years old. According to the survey:
Ø 44% of drivers reported that they have engaged in aggressive driving behaviors in the past three months.
Ø 64% of drivers have experienced an act of aggressive driving six times or more in the past three months from another driver.
Ø 54% of drivers cited men as the most likely culprits of aggressive driving.
Ø Top situations most likely to make drivers respond aggressively were traffic jams (63 %) running late (55 %) and road closures or construction (47%).
Arizona was the first state to make Aggressive driving a crime
State laws define what constitutes aggressive driving and stipulate the related fines and penalties. Arizona’s statute ARS §28-695 states that a driver commits aggressive driving if the person:
- Exceeds a “reasonable and prudent speed” on the highway, OR
- Exceeds a prescribed speed limit in designated areas including business and residential areas, school crossing zones, and
- Drives in a manner that causes an immediate hazard to other persons or their property
Additionally, aggressive driving charges can be filed in Arizona if two of the following violations occur:
- Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
- Overtaking or passing another vehicle on the right by driving off of the pavement or main traveled area of the road
- Unsafe lane changes
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failing to yield the right of way
A person who is convicted of aggressive driving in Arizona is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This may result in the following legal penalties:
- Suspension of driver’s license for 30 days upon conviction
- Required attendance in an approved traffic school and educational session
- Any other penalties prescribed by law, such as fines or jail time
A second conviction for aggressive driving within 24 months of the first conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension for 1 year, and possibly more severe fines or jail time.
Ways to Combat Aggressive Drivers
Since you can’t possibly be responsible for the behaviors of others on the road, rise above aggression by not participating in it. For example, staying calm when confronted with a cluster of traffic congestion. Other ways to diffuse aggressive drivers are:
- Maintain a safe distance
- Avoid making eye contact
- Do not pass unless you have to
- Don’t jump lanes without looking, and only change lanes once it is safe to do so
- If you cannot avoid an aggressive driver behind you, stay where you are, maintain the proper speed and do not respond with hostile gestures
- Call 911 to report an aggressive driver or a driver you believe may be impaired
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of an aggressive driver, you need an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. Contact Folger Law firm for a free consultation to determine your rights.