The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”
Recent Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA surveys and reports indicate a sharp increase in instances of aggressive driving – both nationwide and in Louisiana.
While aggressive drivers are often said to have ‘road rage,’ there is a substantial difference. Aggressive driving is a traffic violation, but road rage is a criminal offense.
Examples of aggressive driving includes:
- Excessive honking
- Refusing to let another driver into the traffic flow
- Yelling or cursing
- Flashing headlights
- Hand gestures
Road rage occurs when drivers are unable to control their emotions. Frustrations arising from traffic snarls, accidents, construction delays, forgotten turn signals or not using turn signals, speeding up then slowing down and other annoying driving habits can become dangerous – and deadly – depending on the mental and emotional health of your fellow driver.
Road rage is far more serious than aggressive driving. Examples of road rage behaviors include:
- Brake checking
- Pursuit of another driver after being cut-off
- Hitting a person or vehicle with your vehicle
- Physical assault
- Flashing or menacing another driver with a firearm
- Deliberately squeezing out or driving another vehicle off the road
Aggressive driving and road rage were virtually unheard of until the late 1990s. It seems that manners, civility and decorum were erased from road travel, and incidents that required the intervention of law enforcement increased by more than 50%.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an aggressive driving or road rage crash, please call the law offices of Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf immediately. Our team of trained professionals has more than 30 years’ experience – and the expertise to litigate the most complex and personal injury cases. When you need answers, we are here to help.
Please call us at 225-343-2205, to schedule a free consultation.
In the moment
While no motorist can control the actions of another driver, there are steps you can take to be more cautious and defuse aggressive driving incidents.
The Louisiana State Police department suggests remaining calm and trying to get away from the aggressive driver by changing lanes or taking an unplanned exit or turn. If you are followed, drive directly to the police station or call 911 on your mobile phone.
According to Captain Frank Ducote, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Department and local police departments want to be notified if certain areas are experiencing significant problems with aggressive driving, speeding or other traffic related issues.
Ducote added that small task force elements will be assigned to patrol problem areas, like US 61 at LA 42. Thanks to reports from concerned citizens, a recent sting in East Baton Rouge netted more than a dozen citations for aggressive, careless, reckless and dangerous driving.
Death by aggressive driving
The NHTSA reports that 66% of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. This is partially due to increased congestion on the roadways – busy people with busy lives and not enough time to accomplish tasks – increased heat and humidity and citizen acts of revenge against fellow drivers who drive while distracted.
If you have been injured or suffered property damage as a result of an aggressive driver or have been involved in a road rage incident, contact Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf today. We are dedicated to obtaining positive results and compensative for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and emotional distress following aggressive driving crashes.
Please contact us online, text or call 225-343-2205 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf
3960 Government Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70806