When you first get your license, driving can feel like freedom. Over time, sitting in the driver’s seat can become more about frustration. We all experience frustrating and even enraging moments behind the wheel and how we respond can make a real difference. Serving as a car accident lawyer in Santa Rosa and throughout Northern California, Attorney Greg Brod knows that the problems of aggressive driving are not always confined to San Francisco or other supersized cities. Aggressive driving is a danger on EVERY roadway.
Report Looks at the Prevalence and Risks of Aggressive Driving
This month, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study released a report titled Prevalence of Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Behavior: United States, 2014. The report details the results of a survey of 2,705 drivers nationwide conducted in 2014. In the survey, the researchers asked drivers to review a list of eight driving behaviors and identify whether, over the past year, they engaged in the behavior regularly, fairly often, rarely, just once, or never. More than three-quarters of those surveyed admitted to engaging in at least one of the listed aggressive driving behaviors in the past year including:
- 50.8% who admitted to tailgating;
- 46.6% to yelling at another driver;
- 44.5% to honking in annoyance/anger;
- 32.5% to making an angry gesture at another driver;
- 24.2% to blocking another driver’s ability to change lanes;
- 11.9% to intentionally cutting off another vehicle;
- 3.7% to exiting their vehicles to confront another driver; and
- 2.8% who admitted intentionally bumping or ramming another vehicle.
Most drivers reported engaging in the listed behaviors rarely. Notably, characteristics associated with more aggressive behaviors included speeding and having received a citation for a moving violation in the past two years (Side note: A frightening, one-third of survey respondents admitted that they had run a red light in the past 30 days and nearly 40% said they travelled more than 15mph over the speed limit on a freeway.). Of course, as the study notes, some drivers may underreport their own aggressive actions.
Interestingly, while a substantial number of drivers engaged in aggressive acts, nearly 90% said that aggressive drivers are a serious threat to personal safety. Nearly two-thirds said that aggressive drivers have become a greater threat over the past three years. The AAA Foundation notes that a prior research study found that 55.7% of fatal crashes occurring from 2003 to 2007 involved at least one driver who reportedly engaged in at least one potentially aggressive driving action. Another study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that some two-thirds of deadly crashes involved some form of aggressive driving.
Officers Comment on Aggressive Driving in Sonoma County and Throughout Northern California
Reporters from The Press Democrat spoke to members of the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Rosa Police Department about the problem of aggressive driving in Sonoma County. One officer identified aggressive lane-changing without signaling and tailgating as the two most common aggressive behaviors seen on area highways. He also noted that many drivers engage in passive-aggressive driving such as slowing down or deliberately braking to control other drivers and said these behaviors are also frowned upon by safety officers. The officer emphasized that aggressive driving is both dangerous and illegal.
Your Santa Rosa Injury Law Firm: Protecting the Victims of Aggressive Driving
If an aggressive driver caused an accident that left you or a loved one injured, our Sonoma car accident injury law firm may be able to help. Contact us for a free consultation. Most injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis so you only pay us if you recover compensation.
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Refusing to Learn: The Problem of Repeat Drunk Drivers
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(Image by Martin Abegglen)