It’s a term that originated in California, a dubious distinction, and a concern on the minds of local commuters given the headaches and traffic jams caused by the BART strike. When news reports out of Los Angeles in the 1980s began to talk about “road rage,” drivers added a new threat to their list of commuting concerns. Over time, the use of the term began to fade from the initial period when incidents seemed to reach almost epidemic levels. However, road rage and aggressive driving remain very real safety threats. Our San Francisco road rage lawyer is prepared to help those who are injured or lose a loved one due to an angry, aggressive driver in Northern California.
Man Shot After Minor Accident, Family Offers Reward for Information
Road rage is very much on the minds of one Emeryville family, who made a plea on Tuesday and offered a reward for information on their 22 year-old son’s death. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that, on June 12 around 11 P.M., Aya Nakano was driving south on Market Street near Stanford Avenue when his Jeep Cherokee was rear-ended by a silver sedan. He got out of his vehicle and police said that was some form of confrontation with the two men in the other vehicle followed. One of the men proceeded to pull a gun, fatally shooting Nakano hours before his 23rd birthday. The men then fled the scene, heading south on Market.
Police are investigating the incident. Nakano’s family describes him as warm and generous, noting he did the proper thing by stopping after an accident and it cost him his life.
The Threat of Road Rage & Aggressive Driving
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety describes aggressive driving as a range of unsafe driving behaviors that are done with deliberate intention and a disregard for safety, including acts such as tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic lanes. Road rage, per the organization, takes aggressive driving to a more extreme level and includes “a violent criminal act involving an intention to cause physical harm.” A seven year study found 218 deaths and 12,610 injuries stemming from road rage, with offenders citing what most would find consider common annoyances as justification for their behavior.
Punishing Offenders, Compensating Victims
On the criminal side of the justice system, there is not a specific criminal statute that governs road rage in California. Instead, it falls under general principles like reckless driving and assault with a deadly weapon (the car can count as a deadly weapon). Vehicle Code 13210 does allow for the court to suspend an offender’s driver’s license and/or require attendance at an anger management or road rage course.
As always, the civil system is separate and apart from the criminal courts. Road rage victims should consult a personal injury attorney about possible civil claims. The consequences of road rage can be catastrophic and life-altering, or life-ending. Civil courts can award compensation for financial damages and emotional suffering. In some cases, courts may also award punitive damages to punish the offenders and send a message that road rage offenses will not be tolerated.
If you notice another driver becoming aggressive, the best course of action is to get out of the way. If you are being followed by the aggressor, drive to a populated area or even a police station. It is tempting to fight back, even in the form of angry words, but you never know how far the aggressor will take the dispute. While avoidance is the best action, it is also important to refrain from blaming the victim. If someone else’s road rage left you injured or grieving a close relative, call our California road rage lawyer for help seeking justice and vital compensation. We represent victims in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and all of Northern California. In select circumstances, we will also represent clients elsewhere in the state. Call for information.
See Related Blog Posts:
The Legislation of Road Rage-Comparing California to Rest of the Country