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AAA Report: Nearly 80% of Drivers Admit to Aggressive Driving

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 21-Jul-2016

Picture of Salvatore J. Zambri

Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner.

According to recent research by AAA auto club, approximately 80 percent of drivers admitted to expressing significant aggression, anger, or road rage in the past year. That is a staggering number to grasp.

In an attempt to quantify exactly what constitutes aggressive driving, NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database (an annual census of all vehicle accidents that result in death within 30 days of the accident) defines aggressive driving as occurring when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."

Listed below are driver-related contributing factors in the FARS report:

  • Improper or erratic lane changing
  • Following improperly
  • Passing where prohibited by posted signs, pavement markings, hill or curve, or school bus displaying warning not to pass, passing on wrong side, passing with insufficient distance or inadequate visibility or failing to yield to overtaking vehicle
  • Illegal driving on road shoulder, in ditch, or on sidewalk or median
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them
  • Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit
  • Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws
  • Failure to signal
  • Making an improper turn
  • Racing

"Along with the contributing factors analyzed here, FARS also includes a code for Road Rage /Aggressive Driving, which was added in 2004. This code does not distinguish between aggressive driving and road rage, however, as noted previously, these are widely considered to be fundamentally different. An act of road rage, as it is typically defined, is committed with the intent of causing physical harm to another road user, whereas an act of aggressive driving is committed with disregard for safety but not necessarily with intent to cause physical harm."

The chart copied below indicated the percent of fatal crashes involving possible-aggressive driver-level contributing factors.

In summary, AAA says the following about what most drivers think about aggressive driving:

  • Despite rating aggressive driving as a serious problem, almost half of those surveyed report that they routinely exceed the speed limit on highways and neighborhood streets by 15mph or more in the past 30 days.
  • Many drivers have also admitted to performing other aggressive driving behaviors, including honking at other divers, speeding up to beat a yellow light, tailgating, deliberately running red lights, and pressuring other drivers to speed up.
  • This information reflects a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude about driving aggressively.

Car crashes rank among the leading causes of death in the United States. Aggressive driving has become a serious problem. It's the kind of behavior that we know when we see it. Drivers seem to recognize and acknowledge aggressive driving when someone else does it, but not when they themselves are doing it. According to the FARS report, aggressive driving behaviors are a factor in more than half of all deadly vehicle crashes. “Motorists are concerned with others’ aggressive driving,” they found, “while many are guilty themselves." As someone who represents victims seriously injured or killed as a result of aggressive driving, please drive safely.

Do you have any questions about this post? If so, please email Mr. Zambri: szambri@reganfirm.com. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by an aggressive driver, please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.

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