Aggressive Driving Essay 2007

To print this guide, click on your web browser's "Print" icon, or go to the menubar and select "File…Print"

The Problem of Aggressive Driving

What This Guide Does and Does Not Cover

This guide begins by describing the problem of aggressive driving and reviewing factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions to help you analyze your local aggressive-driving problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Aggressive driving includes what is commonly referred to as road rage, which involves assault motivated by driver anger. This guide covers aggressive driving and the driving-related triggers for road rage. Aggressive driving has gained widespread public attention over the past 20 years largely due to highly publicized crashes and crimes associated with road rage.

Aggressive driving is but one aspect of the larger set of problems related to impaired, dangerous, and irresponsible vehicle use. This guide is limited to addressing the particular harms aggressive driving creates. Related problems not directly addressed in this guide, each of which requires separate analysis, include:

  • drunken and impaired driving,
  • reckless driving,
  • joyriding,
  • speeding,
  • street racing,
  • unlicensed driving,
  • hit-and-run crashes,
  • red-signal and stop-sign violations, and
  • inattentive driving.

Other guides in this series—all of which are listed at the end of this guide—cover some of these related problems. For the most up-to-date listing of current and future guides, see www.popcenter.org.

General Description of the Problem

Aggressive driving refers to dangerous driving that disregards safety and courtesy. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as occurring "when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."1 Driving behaviors that commonly constitute aggressive driving include:

  • speeding,
  • racing,
  • frequently changing lanes,
  • cutting off other drivers,
  • failing to signal,
  • running red lights,
  • failing to yield,
  • tailgating,
  • slowing rapidly to discourage a tailgater, and
  • boxing other cars in and using other intimidation maneuvers.2

In addition, aggressive drivers may further try to intimidate their victims by shouting or making obscene gestures at them. Several different legislatively-defined driving offenses are similar in some ways to aggressive driving. While statutory definitions vary from state to state, they include the following:

Careless, inattentive, distracted, or negligent driving involves failing to exercise normal care, or endangering people or property, while driving a vehicle. Many states are adding to their statutes specific language prohibiting use of certain technologies while driving. Some states include negligent driving under reckless or impaired driving statutes so that defendants plead to the lesser negligent-driving charge to avoid the more serious charge.

Reckless driving is a more serious form of careless or negligent driving. It is variously defined as creating a substantial or unjustifiable risk of harm, a conscious or wanton disregard of safety, and/or a gross deviation from reasonable behavior in the situation.

Aggressive driving addresses many of the same behaviors covered by reckless driving statutes, but adds a notion of a pattern of behaviors occurring over a short period and/or intention. As intention is difficult to prove, states with statutes that require the standard of intention be met often see aggressive driving charged as reckless driving. Driving behaviors included in the definition of aggressive driving could result from aggression, selfishness, or competition.

As many of the behaviors that constitute aggressive driving could also occur in the absence of aggression (if a driver is inattentive, for example), some state legislatures use a threshold of three or more potentially aggressive driving behaviors committed in a sequence or over a short period in their statutory definitions. Aggressive driving definitions should cover hostile, competitive, and selfishly motivated driving behaviors.

Road rage is a more extreme form of aggression that involves criminal intimidation and/or violence precipitated by driving activities. Road rage involves an intent to harm, can involve use of the vehicle as a weapon, or can take place outside the vehicle(s) involved.

Driving provokes anger more often than other activities.3 Driving is a goal-oriented activity, the purpose being to get from point A to point B expeditiously; yet people easily and frequently thwart driving goals. Driving is also a stressful activity that exposes drivers and passengers to potentially significant dangers. Incivility amongst drivers is common4 and reliably provokes anger in its recipients. For all these reasons, drivers report frequently feeling angry.5

Anger may, but usually does not, lead to aggressive driving or road rage. Situational, cultural, and individual factors combine to cause angry drivers to behave aggressively behind the wheel.

Prevalence of Aggressive Driving

Two-thirds of traffic fatalities involve behaviors commonly associated with aggressive driving, such as speeding, running red lights, and improperly changing lanes.6 One-third of all traffic injuries result from aggressive driving.7 Speeding, a common element in aggressive driving, contributes to about one-third of fatal crashes.8

Several studies have shown that somewhere between 20 percent and 35 percent of drivers have honked their horns, yelled, obscenely gestured, and cursed at other drivers. Estimates indicate that from 6 percent to 28 percent of drivers have tailgated or blocked other drivers' vehicles.9 These behaviors can be part of a pattern of acts that constitute aggressive driving, and they can also provoke anger that could lead to aggressive driving in others.

Research findings are mixed on whether aggressive driving is more prevalent today than in the past. What is known is that aggressive driving occurs frequently and is a significant contributor to injury and fatality collisions. While the violent and assaultive acts that constitute road rage are rare, they deserve police attention.

Harms Caused by Aggressive Driving

Car crashes are the leading cause of accidental death and injury in the United States and the leading cause of all deaths amongst young people.10 Aggressive driving is responsible for a significant proportion of all car crashes. Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than drunken drivers.11 Aggressive driving creates an atmosphere of incivility on the roads, heightening driving anxiety and triggering more driving anger.

Factors Contributing to Aggressive Driving

Understanding the factors that contribute to your problem will help you frame your own local analysis questions, determine good effectiveness measures, recognize key intervention points, and select appropriate responses.

Frustration and Anger

Frustration at being slowed or thwarted from a driving goal can easily lead to anger.12 Frustration can also lead to selfish or competitive aggressive behavior—behavior designed to achieve personal driving goals at the expense of others or the common good.

Frustration and anger do not, however, always result in aggression. Driving aggression occurs when a mix of personal, situational, environmental, and cultural factors combine to reduce the inhibitions most drivers feel against acting aggressively. Personal factors such as antisocial and competitive tendencies can make a driver prone to aggression, but aggression is unlikely to result absent other contributing factors. Environmental factors such as the anonymity cars provide, situational factors such as feeling urgent about meeting driving goals, and cultural factors such as approval for placing personal goals over the common good can all contribute to lower the qualms drivers would otherwise have against aggressive behavior.

Demographics

Research suggests that the single largest group of aggressive American drivers is poorly educated white men under 30 years old who drive high-performance vehicles.13 There is a strong correlation between such young white men and violent crimes, serious traffic offenses, license suspensions, and minor moving violations. These young white men also appear to be the most likely group to engage in more extreme road rage behaviors.14 They may be more prone to have antisocial, hostile personalities (as described in the next section). In general, younger people tend to lack the impulse control gained with age, and men tend toward more aggressive behavior than women.

Because members of this group so often break traffic laws, they will be disproportionately represented in any traffic enforcement effort. Accordingly, police officers will contact the most dangerous drivers by enforcing the entire range of moving violations.15

While young white men are the largest single group of aggressive drivers, there is no single definitive profile of aggressive-driving perpetrators.16Otherwise law-abiding citizens commit many aggressive driving acts.17

Personality or Individual Traits

There appear to be two primary personality types prone to becoming aggressive behind the wheel. One is an antisocial, hostile personality; the other, a competitive one.18 Antisocial drivers are associated with the young white male group. There is significant overlap between the factors associated with antisocial driving and those associated with criminal behavior.19 These include:

  • impulsiveness,
  • sensation-seeking,
  • unrealistic thinking (underestimating risks and overrating abilities to handle problems),
  • poor problem-solving skills,
  • egocentricity (lacking concern for others' well-being), and
  • values (caring only about oneself).20

This antisocial group of drivers is prone to hostile aggression in and out of their vehicles. Antisocial drivers have high rates of accidents and violations and are many times more likely than the general driving population to have criminal histories.21

Retaliation and revenge are common motives for antisocial drivers who feel disrespected, slighted, infringed-upon, or endangered. This same motive is common in domestic violence, gang violence, theft, and arson.22 Seemingly trivial events such as perceived insults to drivers' self-image or safety most often provoke driving anger. These triggering events tap into a deep well of anger already present in the antisocial driver.

Triggering incidents can include frustrations such as slow, hesitant, or distracted drivers; scares such as near-collisions; offensive behaviors such as rude gestures; and territorial encroachments such as competing for a parking space or failure to yield.23 These acts are not intrinsically aggression-inducing; it is the way a person interprets them and how the person reacts to that interpretation that causes the acts to trigger aggression.24

The second group of aggressive drivers appears prone to socially approved forms of aggression such as competition, which can easily be translated into aggressive driving behaviors. Competitive drivers dislike being passed, enjoy the thrill of speeding, and lack the internal controls to override their competitiveness on the road. Research has shown that both the antisocial and the competitive drivers have significantly more accidents and traffic violations than the general driving public.25

Environmental Conditions

A tendency toward aggression or competitiveness is not sufficient to cause aggressive driving. Environmental, situational, or cultural factors must come into play before someone with such tendencies will be triggered to drive aggressively.

The car's and the road's physical environment can either facilitate or inhibit the expression of aggression while driving. Manipulating environmental conditions can inhibit antisocial and competitive drivers from driving aggressively.

The lack of negative reinforcement (citations) for aggressive driving can also contribute to a driver's likelihood to engage in it. Given the high number of aggressive driving actions and the relatively low number of police officers, the probability of officers' detecting any particular aggressive driving action is rather low.26

Street design can facilitate or inhibit speeding. For example, drivers are likely to speed on wide streets with long, straight stretches.27 Conversely, traffic-calming devices compel drivers to slow down and exercise skill and attention to the road.†

Road conditions can increase driver frustration. Bottlenecks, lack of signs indicating the source of unexpected congestion, short green-light intervals, confusing intersections (such as roundabouts), and stretches of uncoordinated traffic lights can trigger aggression.

The social environment also influences driving behavior. Driving is a social activity, and good driving depends on accurate interpretation of social cues, without which drivers are unable to judge what others are likely to do. Antisocial drivers may be unable to accurately anticipate others' moves on the road.

Paradoxically, while driving is a social activity, drivers are isolated from each other. This isolation lessens the impact of cultural norms that prevent uncivil behavior in other social settings.28 Anonymity is the most significant social factor mediating aggressive driving. A driver in a convertible is more likely to feel constrained by social conventions concerning driving behavior than is a driver in an enclosed vehicle with darkly tinted windows.

Situational Factors

Technologies such as mobile phones and e-mail devices have combined with economic pressures to compress many drivers' conception of time, creating intense pressure to make every minute productive. Commuting time, for many drivers, is the last frontier of unexploited time, and the perception that commuting time is lost or wasted time contributes to aggressive efforts to shorten commutes.29 Time pressure or urgency to achieve a driving goal—such as getting to work or home quickly—combines with frustrating factors such as congestion to trigger aggression in antisocial and competitive drivers.30

There is a wide variety of situational variables that can create or promote situational aggression. For example, heat, noise, or other annoying environmental conditions can make drivers irritable and increase the likelihood that a driver will resort to violence when feeling irritated or threatened on the road.31 These conditions can goad drivers who tend to have aggression issues toward violent responses to provocative events.32

The most significant triggering events for road rage are relatively minor. They include aggressive tailgating (62% of cases), headlight flashing (60% of cases), deliberately obstructing other vehicles (21% of cases), and verbally abusing other drivers (16% of cases).33 In short, aggressive driving begets aggressive driving.

Antisocial and competitive drivers don't commit all aggressive driving acts. Ordinary people in extreme situations, including impaired, stressed, and time-pressured drivers, commit some of them.

There is significant overlap between aggressive and violent drivers and their victims. One study found that road rage offenders were more than five times as likely as the general population to have been past victims of a road rage incident.34 Vigilantism constitutes a common form of retaliatory road rage, where an otherwise responsible driver decides to teach an aggressive driver a lesson by returning the aggression.

In the absence of intensive enforcement of driving laws, victims of aggressive driving sometimes dangerously overreact. Drivers who would express their frustration in less harmful ways in other situations find they have no outlet for expressing anger while driving except by engaging in aggressive driving themselves. It is equally difficult for drivers who frustrate or inconvenience others—intentionally or not—to communicate remorse while driving, which, if they could, might well defuse other drivers' aggression.35

One common aggressive driving trigger does not even occur on the road. Parking rage can arise in busy parking lots or those with cramped spaces. Parking tends to trigger territorial and competitive behavior, which can lead to confrontations.36 Anecdotal evidence indicates that the general driving public is most likely to engage in aggressive driving in parking lots.37

Cultural Factors

Culture influences aggressive behavior by shaping how the aggressor interprets triggering events and by influencing whether the aggressor believes a violent response is culturally acceptable in a given situation. To the extent the culture values convenience, individuality over the common good, primacy of cars over bicycles, fast-paced lifestyles, and competition, it promotes aggressive driving.

Some researchers have characterized American culture as contentious, argumentative, and disrespectful,38 and the American media as portraying aggressive driving in a positive light, thereby creating aggressive role models. Risky-driver role models create cultural norms accepting of dangerous and threatening driving behavior.39 Currently, mainstream society does not stigmatize vehicle crimes in the same way as other crimes. Popular media portray aggressive driving as cool, thereby implying social approval, especially to young drivers.

Multiple Causes

While each of the above factors contributes to aggressive driving, none alone explains it. A complex dynamic operates whereby individual traits, situational circumstances, car- and road-related factors, and cultural influences all interrelate to build up to aggressive action or excessive risk-taking while driving. Sitting in traffic on a very hot day with no air-conditioning might be irritating, for example, but in the absence of a triggering event that taps into an antisocial outlook or competitive instinct, aggressive acts are unlikely to occur. Being cut off in traffic is a potential trigger, but without latent aggression and a stressful or irritating environment, aggressive driving is again unlikely to occur.

Understanding Your Local Problem

Effective responses to aggressive driving will take into account the preceding general information about the dynamics and contributing factors to it, as well as a specific understanding of your local problem. An analysis of the local problem will shape the most effective response possible in your jurisdiction.

Responses tend to work best when based on sound data about problem behaviors, locations, times of day, physical features, and offender characteristics in your locale.

Stakeholders

In addition to criminal justice agencies, the following groups have an interest in the aggressive driving problem, and you should consider them for the contribution they might make to gathering information about the problem and responding to it.

Elected officials can gauge public concern about the problem and enact legislation to address it.

The media can call attention to aggressive driving issues and how to avoid becoming a victim or a perpetrator.

State and local motor vehicle and highway safety departments may have conducted their own studies of the problem and can identify and mitigate the physical environmental factors that contribute to aggressive driving.

Transportation safety advocates may also have conducted studies of the problem and can raise awareness about aggressive driving, and work with states and localities to reduce the factors that contribute to it.

Private businesses, including business associations, have a stake in ensuring employees can commute to their jobs safely and efficiently. They can partner with states and localities in addressing aggressive driving issues and disseminating information to employers, especially to businesses that have vehicle fleets.

Private businesses, including cellular phone and data companies, which keep records on electronic device use, can be partners in providing evidence after violations.

Motor vehicle insurance companies benefit financially when traffic collisions are reduced. They can partner with police to fund research on aggressive driving, develop community education materials, and include information on aggressive driving in their publications.

Road construction contractors can work with police to design road construction sites and traffic detours to minimize traffic disruptions and optimize safety.

Auto clubs can educate members about ways to avoid being either a victim or a perpetrator of aggressive driving.

Victims' advocacy organizations can collect data on aggressive driving victimization for use in assessing the extent and severity of a locale's problem.

Public health agencies' and hospitals' injury prevention staff can conduct research on the prevalence of aggressive driving, its contribution to injuries, and the injuries' social and cost impacts. These data can support police problem-solving efforts.

Asking the Right Questions

The following are some critical questions you should ask in analyzing your particular problem of aggressive driving, even if the answers are not always readily available. Your answers to these and other questions will help you choose the most appropriate set of responses later on. The various entities with a stake in the problem and its solution can help you collect some of these data, as not all of the information will be readily available to police.

If you rely solely on traffic crash and citation data, recognize that you will not have a complete picture of the problem, as much aggressive driving goes undetected, unenforced, or unreported.

Incidents

  • How many aggressive driving incidents occur in your jurisdiction? How many do other motorists report to police? How many do police discover during a vehicle crash investigation? How many unreported incidents are estimated to occur? (You would need to conduct a survey of motorists to obtain this information.)
  • What harms do you know aggressive driving is causing in your jurisdiction? Vehicle crashes? Injuries? Psychological trauma (e.g., fear)?
  • Who brings the incidents to police attention? Are they mostly on-views, technology-initiated, citizen-reported, or some combination?
  • What are the most prevalent and/or most dangerous aggressive driving behaviors in your jurisdiction?
  • What types of events trigger the aggressive driving incidents?
  • How concerned is the community about aggressive driving?

Offenders

  • Are there certain driver profiles that stand out in your jurisdiction (e.g., the antisocial or competitive drivers described earlier)?
  • What do aggressive drivers say about their motivations for driving aggressively?
  • What proportion of cited aggressive drivers are repeat offenders?

Victims/Complainants

  • Are most victims/complainants also engaging in aggressive driving behaviors before documented incidents?
  • Are most victims/complainants engaging in nonaggressive behaviors that typically irritate other drivers (e.g., driving slowly in the left lane)?
  • What do you know about the demographics of victims/complainants (e.g., age, gender, race, and ethnicity)?
  • Are there any tensions among different demographic groups contributing to the aggressive driving complaints?

Locations/Times

  • Where do aggressive driving incidents typically occur?
  • Are there environmental factors at hot spots that contribute to the incidence of aggressive driving (e.g., road construction, confusing intersections, congested roads)?
  • Are there situational factors related to the location that contribute to the incidence of aggressive driving?
  • Are most incidents on freeways, arterials, collectors, or residential streets?
  • When do most incidents occur (time of day, day of week, special occasions, seasons)? What is it about these times that contribute to aggressive driving?

Current Responses

  • How do police respond to aggressive driving complaints?
  • To what extent do police officers actively look for and intervene in aggressive driving?
  • How many citations/arrests do police issue/make for aggressive driving offenses?
  • What penalties or other sentences are typically imposed on those convicted for aggressive driving offenses?

Measuring Your Effectiveness

Measurement allows you to determine to what degree your efforts have succeeded, and suggests how you might modify your responses if they are not producing the intended results.

You should take measures of your problem before you implement responses, to determine how serious the problem is, and after you implement them, to determine whether they have been effective. You should take all measures in both the target area and the surrounding area. For more detailed guidance on measuring effectiveness, see the Problem-Solving Tools Guide No. 1, Assessing Responses to Problems: An Introductory Guide for Police Problem-Solvers.

The following are potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to aggressive driving:

  • reduced number of crashes in which aggressive driving is a contributing/causal factor, broken down by property damage only, injury, and fatality;
  • reduced severity of injuries;
  • reduced number of citizen reports and requests for police response (these may increase initially if citizens are encouraged to report aggressive driving more often); and
  • improved driver perceptions of safety.

Responses to the Problem of Aggressive Driving

Your analysis of your local problem should give you a better understanding of the factors contributing to it. Once you have analyzed your local problem and established a baseline for measuring effectiveness, you should consider possible responses to address the problem.

The following response strategies provide a foundation of ideas for addressing your particular problem. These strategies are drawn from a variety of research studies and police reports. Several of these strategies may apply to your community's problem.

It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

Do not limit yourself to considering what police can do: carefully consider whether others in your community share responsibility for the problem and can help police better respond to it. In some cases, you made need to shift the responsibility of responding toward those who have the capacity to implement more-effective responses. (For more-detailed information on shifting and sharing responsibility, see Response Guide No. 3, Shifting and Sharing Responsibility for Public Safety Problems).

General Considerations for an Effective Response Strategy

There are several response strategies that can effectively address aggressive driving, including enforcement, legislation, environmental and situational factors, public education, and judicial responses. A comprehensive strategy that blends tactics from each of these components and that addresses psychological, environmental, situational, and cultural factors is most likely to be effective.

A comprehensive aggressive driving intervention should focus on reducing the likelihood that drivers will act aggressively and the aspects of the driving environment that precipitate aggressive behavior. A focus on drivers can occur at the individual or aggregate level. At the individual level, enforcement and sanctions can modify the behavior of identified aggressive drivers. At the aggregate level, data analysis can identify hot spots for targeted saturation and emphasis enforcement, and public education can impact group behavior. A focus on the driving environment can lead to interventions that mitigate the physical and social environments and situational stressors that contribute to aggressive driving.

Specific Responses To Reduce Aggressive Driving

Enforcing Traffic Laws

Traffic enforcement to address aggressive driving has three primary goals:

  • to deter the cited driver from driving aggressively again in the future,
  • to deter other drivers who learn about police enforcement from driving aggressively, and
  • to remove aggressive drivers from the roads while they are angry and most dangerous.

Deterrence is advanced through significant fines or other consequences such as jail time, and through high-visibility enforcement.

Enforcement provides only partial deterrence to aggressive driving because of police staffing limitations. Most of the time, police do not catch drivers who violate the law. Risk-inclined drivers are less likely than the general driving population to accurately gauge the likelihood of being caught.

If you are considering emphasizing aggressive driving enforcement, you should narrowly define the scope of the intervention, deciding which observable behaviors and sites you should target, what the ticketing threshold will be, what information you will collect, what type of enforcement you will deploy, what deployment schedule you should use, and what planned project to implement.

You should also consider what types of partners should be involved; whether you will undertake efforts to educate the general public as part of the project; what type of education and sanctions will be in place for offenders; and whether construction, weather, or other situational variables are likely to affect the project.

Geographic Information System or GIS mapping of aggressive driving hot spots can help you target your efforts where the need is greatest. You can identify hot spots based on information such as traffic or speed survey findings, collision and fatality data, and citation data. You can compare aggressive driving or road rage hot spots with felony and drug crime hot spots to increase the value of hot-spot enforcement.

1. Deploying surveillance technologies. Surveillance technologies can increase the pervasiveness of enforcement, creating greater saturation and increasing both the likelihood of apprehending offenders and their perception of that likelihood. This increased saturation enhances deterrence.

You can use surveillance technologies for automatic enforcement through mailed citations. They also help you collect data about aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding and running red lights.

There is a variety of surveillance technologies you can use to apprehend and deter aggressive drivers, such as the following:

  • Red-light photo-enforcement cameras.
  • Automatic number-plate recognition technology in aggressive-driving hot spots.
  • Closed circuit television or CCTV at aggressive-driving hot spots, construction zones, or high-collision intersections that can detect unusual traffic patterns and illegal maneuvers and capture license plate data for automatic enforcement or mailed warnings.
  • Video-equipped patrol cars recording drivers' behavior and police stops.
  • Video-equipped unmarked cars to follow aggressive drivers before marked-car vehicle stops.
  • Tailgating detection devices for fleet vehicles.
  • Road sensors and cameras working in concert to detect illegal passing.
  • Helicopter-mounted cameras that can download clear license plate number photos into patrol vehicles.
  • Electronic speed displays attached to speed-limit signs.
  • Crash reconstruction software that allows investigators to clear congested roads quickly.
  • Downstream lights that allow traffic enforcement officers to cite red-light runners without being physically present in dangerous intersections.
  • Telephone-reporting hotlines connected with police follow-up procedures such as keeping a database for use in future investigations, mailing citations, mailing warnings, or mailing anger-management or aggressive-driving-avoidance tip cards.
  • Data from vehicles equipped with event data recorders (EDR) could be subpoenaed to support aggressive driving investigations and prosecutions. Data typically recorded include whether the driver was speeding, whether the driver was pressing the brakes, and whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt. Some jurisdictions, including that of the Pennsylvania State Police, access data from vehicle EDR when investigating crashes.

The purpose of electronic surveillance is both to facilitate detection and apprehension, and to promote self-monitoring of driving behavior. Cameras have succeeded in achieving substantial reductions in speeding, and red-light cameras have succeeded in reducing infractions, injuries, and fatalities.40 Nonetheless, visibility would have to be very high, or surveillance widespread, for enforcement alone to impact risk-inclined drivers. Antisocial drivers, especially, are likely to be difficult to influence with negative reinforcement because they tend to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the risks of their aggressive driving behaviors.

You should consult your state codes to ensure that camera- and mail-based ticketing is permitted, and laws should be amended, as necessary, before enforcement programs' initiation.41 If your jurisdiction decides to use electronic surveillance and enforcement, you should first gauge public support for using such technology. Publicizing the contemplated use of surveillance technology allows you to assess the public's reaction before implementation. You might also consider issuing warnings for a set period before issuing citations. An evaluation program should be designed before police issue citations.42

Non-technology-based surveillance, such as when police monitor aggressive driving from aircraft, highway overpasses, and unmarked cars, is also used around the country to apprehend and deter aggressive driving. Some types work well with technology-based enforcement.

2. Conducting high-visibility enforcement. High-visibility enforcement has the effect of calming the driving behavior of a greater number of motorists than those police actually stop. Using marked vehicles can increase visibility, as well as adding magnetic "aggressive driving patrol" signs to enforcement vehicles.

Example of high-visibility aggressive driving enforcement. Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

3. Conducting "centipede" enforcement. In centipede enforcement, six or more speed enforcement cars are placed approximately two miles apart to stop speeding drivers who think it is safe to speed up after passing a police officer who has pulled another driver over. Centipede enforcement is useful for apprehending aggressive drivers by distinguishing them from motorists who maintain lower speeds after they pass the initial visible enforcement officer.

4. Conducting enforcement crackdowns. Aggressive driving enforcement crackdowns, properly timed and executed, can be effective.†

For example, saturation police patrols on congested streets or around aggressive driving hot spots focus enforcement geographically. In addition to enforcing actual aggressive driving violations, enforcing precursors or actions that commonly trigger aggressive driving—such as blocking intersections during rush hour, failing to yield the right-of-way, and abruptly changing lanes—can also help reduce aggressive driving.

5. Referring habitual aggressive drivers to state licensing agencies. Where police officers have ready access to motorists' driving histories, they can determine whether the current aggressive driving violation reflects a pattern of similar driving. If so, the officer might then refer the driver to the state licensing agency for consideration of a license suspension or revocation.

6. Checking records of portable electronic device use. If officers suspect that aggressive driving occurred in conjunction with the driver's use of a cell phone, personal digital assistant, or other distracting technologies, they should check those devices' electronic records to verify their time of use and, perhaps, the nature of the communication. Enhanced penalties may apply.

Enhancing Legislation and Regulation

Efforts to address aggressive driving should include a review of your jurisdiction's current regulatory environment. This will help determine whether police agencies have legislative authority to address aggressive driving effectively.

A robust aggressive-driving regulatory environment would include the following:

  • A statutory definition of aggressive driving exists and does not require that intent to harm be proved, but rather is based on objective driving behaviors. Intent to harm is difficult to prove in court.
  • Criminal statutes and sentencing guidance provide for enhanced penalties for violence arising from road incidents.
  • A range of judicial sanctions exist for aggressive driving, including fines; jail time; license suspensions and revocations; vehicle confiscation, booting, or impounding; anger management treatment; probation; and enhanced penalties for repeat violators.
  • Police are authorized to cite drivers on the basis of camera, laser, and other technological evidence.
  • Police are authorized to use unmarked vehicles for traffic enforcement.
  • Police are authorized to work in teams in which the officer issuing the citation is not the same officer who witnessed the incident.

7. Defining and prohibiting aggressive driving in the state vehicle code. At a minimum, aggressive driving should be defined in the state traffic code and sanctions prescribed. States and localities vary widely in terms of whether they have aggressive driving laws in place and how they define aggressive driving. Arizona, Nevada, and Delaware developed aggressive driving prohibitions in the late 1990s, and other states have since followed suit. Arizona defines aggressive driving as the co-occurrence of speeding and two other traffic violations that create an immediate danger to another. The law includes a list of violations that meet the terms of the definition, including failing to obey a traffic signal, passing on the shoulder, unsafely changing lanes, tailgating, or failing to yield. Other parts of the state's traffic code separately define each of these violations.

8. Restricting window tinting. Window tinting increases driver anonymity, thus lowering inhibitions to aggressive driving. Restricting the level of front window tinting reduces driver anonymity. Some states regulate the percentage of light that window tinting can block. Rules vary widely by state.

9. Requiring Intelligent Speed Adaptation systems in large vehicle fleets.Intelligent Speed Adaptation systems can be installed in vehicles to notify drivers and/or automatically slow vehicles when drivers exceed speed limits. While private vehicle owners may not choose to use such technology, these systems could help improve professional drivers' driving habits when the entire fleet uses them.

Removing or Modifying Environmental and Situational Triggers

Certain environmental changes are known to reduce aggressive driving. For example, more efficient use of existing road capacity can improve traffic flow, better aligning natural human behavior with desired driving behavior. Engineering efforts such as coordinated signals, high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, shoulders converted into merge lanes, and similar measures can improve traffic flow. Non-road efforts, such as telecommuting and flexible work schedules, can also increase road-use efficiency.43

Environmental and situational responses are varied, and can include strategies that address vehicles' features, traffic signals' operation, road features, signs, and other means for providing additional information to drivers and traffic-calming techniques. Many of the following environmental strategies reflect Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles,† or what traffic engineers call ergonomic strategies.

10. Timing traffic signals to reduce aggressive driving triggers. Traffic-signal timing can influence driver frustration and anger and can facilitate safe and nonfrustrating driving.44 Ensuring adequate green signal times to reduce driver waits and frustration, eliminating excessively long red signals, ensuring appropriate signal-change intervals, and coordinating or synchronizing traffic signals all permit traffic to flow more smoothly and irritate drivers less.

11. Enhancing traffic-signal and street-sign visibility. Low traffic-signal visibility puts drivers in the position of having to make last-second driving decisions, which could increase driver errors and violations. Easy-to-see signal housings and signs that provide advance warning about approaching signals on roads with high speeds and/or short sight distances can enhance traffic-signal visibility. Sufficient signal brightness is also important to help drivers clear intersections quickly. Clear and highly visible street signs help drivers find their way and also reduce last-second driving decisions.

12. Improving drivers' commute information in congested areas. The more drivers know about what to expect on their commutes, the better prepared they are to handle delays calmly. Information can reduce driver frustration in situations where congestion and time urgency could combine to trigger aggression. There are many ways that transportation departments have enhanced drivers' information about their driving environment on freeways. Such tactics include signs that inform drivers of traffic delays, their causes, alternate routes, and estimated arrival times to urban centers. Added information gives drivers a sense of control and the option to choose alternate routes.

Providing drivers with more information about their commutes can help them to handle delays calmly. Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

13. Clarifying appropriate merging zones. Clarifying where drivers should merge can reduce all drivers' frustration. This can be achieved by using signs and painted indications on the road, for example, an arrow with the words "Merge Here" painted nearby. Merging can be encouraged late or early, as long as all drivers have the same idea about the point at which they should start merging. From a traffic-flow perspective, appropriate merging involves cars' using all lanes and merging at a fair speed rather than forming a single queue early and coming to a near stop.

14. Providing speed and distance indicators in areas where speeding or tailgating is common. When drivers are reminded of the law and their own driving behavior, they often monitor themselves and self-enforce driving rules. Police widely use digital speed-limit signs that indicate the legal limit and the speed of the approaching driver to remind drivers to slow down in areas where speeding is common. Similarly, painted dots on the road can indicate appropriate driving distance for the road's speed. Based on road speed limits and safe following distances, painted indicators can help drivers gauge their distance from the car ahead and remind them that safe following distances are important. Painted chevrons create the illusion of a narrowing roadway, thereby reducing driving speeds.45

The use of painted chevrons has been successful at reducing driving speeds. Source: Virginia Community Policing Institute.

15. Using traffic-calming features in neighborhoods where speeding is common. Traffic calming describes a wide range of road and environmental design changes that either make it more difficult for a vehicle to speed or make drivers believe they should slow down for safety. Some commonly used physical features include flat-topped speed bumps that double as crosswalks, traffic circles, radar speed signs, and road markings. Visual cues include street trees and streetlights. Tested traffic-calming approaches create self-enforcing behavior in drivers.†

16. Maximizing the use of existing roads. In already congested areas, adding road capacity is not feasible, for either lack of funding or space. You can use existing road capacity more effectively, however. Measures such as coordinating traffic-signal timing, using HOV lanes and promoting nontraditional work hours and arrangements all reduce congestion without requiring added road capacity.

17. Modifying physical road features. Sometimes modifying existing road features can reduce triggers for aggressive driving. By converting shoulders to merge lanes, congestion at peak traffic times can be somewhat mitigated. Creating right-sized freeway entrance and exit ramps that allow for effective merging can also reduce congestion. Converting shoulders into well-designed bus and bike lanes encourages alternatives to vehicle use. Limiting road construction and repair work to off-peak hours also reduces congestion and removes an aggressive driving trigger.

Educating Drivers

In public health matters such as road safety, primary prevention is generally considered the most effective approach to reducing injury. Although a small percentage of drivers are responsible for most traffic incidents, a primary prevention approach gets the prevention message out to all drivers.

Deterrence is heightened when society stigmatizes the behavior in question. Potentially aggressive drivers weigh the likelihood of negative consequences such as fines, increased insurance, vehicle damage, injury, and social stigma against the rewards of breaking traffic laws, namely enjoyment and efficient mobility. Antisocial drivers are partially immune to the deterrent effects of most negative consequences because they underestimate their personal risk, but both antisocial and competitive drivers are interested in maintaining their image, thus making them susceptible to social stigma's influence.

According to an advertising executive, "We need to raise the salience of the embarrassment that…their failure to contain their rage on the road will make them appear foolish and pathetic. The most powerful deterrent to road rage will be the damage it might do to [an aggressive driver's] image.... If people who are prone to road rage are to maintain their cool, it will be because, by doing so, they can avoid social disapproval."46

18. Stigmatizing aggressive driving through public information campaigns. The most promising education approach for educating antisocial drivers involves stigmatizing aggressive driving behaviors in much the same way advertising campaigns transformed social perceptions of drunken driving.47 Such a campaign targeting the young white male demographic from which most antisocial drivers are drawn is more likely to reduce aggressive driving than a general prevention campaign.†

19. Addressing aggressive driving in drivers' education curricula. Mandatory aggressive driving components in driver's education can instruct young people, who are more at risk for aggressive driving, in the triggers, dangers, and consequences of such behavior.48 Virginia includes information about avoiding aggressive driving behaviors in its mandatory drivers' education curriculum.

20. Providing primary education on avoiding aggressive drivers. The general public could likely benefit from education about how to avoid becoming the victim or aggressor in a driving violence or aggressive driving incident.49 Education-based responses include the following:

  • a media and public outreach campaign to stigmatize aggressive driving behaviors;
  • a media campaign promoting safe parking-lot etiquette;
  • road signs with public education messages, for example, signs reminding slower traffic to keep right, clear street signs to help drivers find their way, and signs that inform drivers about their obligation to share the road with cyclists in areas where bicycling is common;
  • officers' providing educational materials to cited drivers; and
  • educational programs for new, young drivers, focused on the social aspects of driving and avoiding aggressive driving offending and victimization.

21. Training professional drivers in aggressive driving prevention. Professional drivers, such as those who drive large trucks, taxis, and buses, should receive special training concerning general driving attitudes and avoiding aggressive behaviors as a condition of their employment.50 Company policies against aggressive driving behaviors, vehicle monitoring and regulating devices, and surveillance of drivers' behavior can complement training.

22. Encouraging employer monitoring of professional drivers' driving. Commercial fleets that used "How's my driving?" bumper stickers reduced crashes between 20 percent and 53 percent.51 Some companies have hired trained safety consultants with law enforcement or fleet management experience to report to the company on their commercial drivers' driving behavior. Such consultants can surveil drivers' behavior patterns in a variety of situations and provide credible, professional feedback to employers.

Enhancing the Consequences of Aggressive Driving

23. Requiring anger management treatment for aggressive drivers. Anger management treatment may be beneficial to aggressive drivers, risky drivers, impaired drivers, and drivers convicted of violent offenses. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anger management has proved effective in reducing anger.52 Court referral to anger management treatment has been demonstrated effective in reducing aggressive driving.53 Traffic court judges in some states can refer aggressive driving offenders to anger management treatment or traffic safety education, in addition to imposing fines and jail time. Both the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., have anger management treatment options available to traffic court judges. The National Center for State Courts examined these programs, but an insufficient number of referrals took place to support a program outcome evaluation.

Many jurisdictions already have post-conviction programs to address impaired drivers' needs. These programs are often required as a condition of license reinstatement. One researcher concluded, "Currently, available evidence provides strong support that these programs can reduce subsequent recidivism and collisions and may provide additional health and social benefits as well."54 Court-based anger management programs require provider training and certification and eligibility guideline checklists for judges to use in making referrals.

Courts could also require that aggressive drivers with alcohol and/or mental health issues seek treatment for those problems as part of their diversion or sentence.55 Judges must be trained and willing to make referrals, and police officers must be trained to write citations in a way that will indicate to judges that the defendant is a candidate for referral to anger management for aggressive driving.

Courts may not have sufficient numbers of eligible offenders to keep treatment programs open if only aggressive driving offenders are eligible. Because reckless and aggressive driving are interrelated and involve some of the same behaviors, it may make most sense to have both be eligible offenses, although reckless drivers should not be automatically referred, as they may not have anger management problems.

Drivers identified by courts in other matters as having anger control issues such as intermittent explosive disorder, or other indicators that a person is highly vulnerable to acting aggressively, could be referred to state licensing agencies for license restrictions or additional education requirements. License restrictions are commonly used for physical and mental health issues that could impact driving safety. While treatment for convicted aggressive driving offenders has been successfully piloted, treatment for persons not yet charged with aggressive driving has not been evaluated.

24. Requiring vehicle-based monitoring systems to enforce driving restrictions. Judges can also impose certain driving restrictions on aggressive drivers. Vehicle-based monitoring systems can include ignition locks and intelligent speed adaptation systems that report supervised drivers' speeding to the court.

Responses With Limited Effectiveness

25. Discouraging aggressive driving through general publicity campaigns. General publicity campaigns designed to alter drivers' attitudes toward aggressive driving have failed to reduce collisions.56 Aggressive drivers tend to be those who underestimate their risk of apprehension and overestimate their driving skill. They respond to trivial triggers that activate reservoirs of latent anger. Such drivers are unlikely to be swayed by logic and reason.

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes the responses to aggressive driving, the means by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they should work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

Improving Opportunities for Secure but Convenient Storage
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enforcing Traffic Laws
1Deploying surveillance technologies It increases the probability of detection ...the problem is well-defined, the response is based on analysis of incident and hot- spot data, environmental issues have already been addressed, and the public is notified and educated before enforcement occurs Surveillance systems require staff to install and maintain them, officer and staff training in use of equipment and data interpretation, and coordination with your jurisdiction's transportation department
2Conducting high- visibility enforcement It increases the probability of detection and deters aggressive driving ...it is done in aggressive driving hot spots and in conjunction with other awareness-raising techniques It should take place intensively or frequently, both resource-intensive propositions
3Conducting "centipede" enforcement It increases the probability of detection ...drivers are generally aware of the enforcement effort, but cannot predict exactly when and where it will occur It is staff-intensive; it works only as long as drivers continue to be surprised

 

4Conducting enforcement crackdowns It increases the probability of detection and/or the consequences to the driver ...locations are selected based on analysis of crime and GIS data It can be staff-intensive and sometimes practical only on an overtime basis; experienced personnel can be more efficient in detecting aggressive driving
5Referring habitual aggressive drivers to state licensing agencies It deters aggressive drivers by restricting their driving privileges ...officers can readily access driving records Providing access to new data systems can be complex, time-consuming, and costly; drivers may disregard licensing restrictions
6Checking records of portable electronic device use It increases the probability of linking crashes to aggressive driving behaviors ...enhanced penalties apply to driving offenses that occur while drivers are using portable electronic devices Checking device records may be burdensome, so this response should be used when called for by the severity of the offense and/or when a link to distracting technology is clear
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enhancing Legislation and Regulation
7Defining and prohibiting aggressive driving in the state vehicle code It clarifies for drivers and police officers what constitutes aggressive driving and provides for appropriate penalties ...the statute is based on observable behaviors and not on proving driver intent, and police enforcement is robust It may require new legislation
8Restricting window tinting It removes driver anonymity and thereby deters aggressive driving ...the law restricts tinting of both front and side windows After-market window tinting combines with factory tinting, so the law must address the percentage of light transmitted inside the vehicle after both types of tinting are applied
9Requiring Intelligent Speed Adaptation systems in large vehicle fleets It physically restricts vehicles from reaching excessively high speeds ...it is limited to large vehicle fleets where one organization owns the vehicles and employs the drivers Regulatory requirements impose a cost burden on private-sector businesses
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
 Removing or Modifying Environmental and Situational Triggers
10Timing traffic signals to reduce aggressive driving triggers It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is part of an overall effort to reduce environmental triggers of aggressive driving Traffic engineers must carry it out
11Enhancing traffic- signal and street- sign visibility It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is part of a local transportation department's capital improvement plan or annual survey process It requires equipment purchase, installation, and maintenance funding
12Improving drivers' commute information in congested areas It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is focused on areas with congested commute routes It may require state transportation departments' cooperation
13Clarifying appropriate merging zones It clarifies driving expectations and thereby reduces drivers' frustration ...drivers understand and comply with merging directives It is relatively inexpensive to implement; it would benefit from media exposure for public education
14 Providing speed and distance indicators in areas where speeding or tailgating is common It reminds drivers to drive safely ...indicators are installed in areas where speeding and tailgating are common It is relatively inexpensive; it works to raise drivers' internal controls, so it likely will reduce aggressive driving behaviors in average drivers; it is less likely to affect committed aggressive drivers
15Using traffic- calming features in neighborhoods where speeding is common It makes it more difficult and risky to speed ...the features are placed in residential neighborhoods and areas where a cohesive physical and visual environment exists or can be created It is in the purview of neighborhood planners and traffic engineers rather than police, and it is easier to integrate seamlessly when neighborhoods are initially designed.
16Maximizing the use of existing roads It reduces drivers' frustration due to traffic congestion ...it is part of a comprehensive traffic-flow strategy Some of these strategies have large policy implications, such as promoting telecommuting and flexible work schedules; it may require the cooperation of government and corporate leaders
17Modifying physical road features It reduces drivers' frustration ...road features are well-designed such that they reduce rather than increase drivers' frustration Some physical features are very expensive to alter; it should be considered for both new and existing roads
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Educating Drivers
18Stigmatizing aggressive driving through public information campaigns It deters aggressive driving through informal social pressure ...a coordinated, long-term campaign can be funded and implemented, and messages are carefully aimed at specific driver groups and are compelling to target audiences Media campaigns are expensive and require professional advertising or marketing services; a long-term effort is likely needed
19Addressing aggressive driving in drivers' education curricula It deters aggressive driving through early education ... it is undertaken during a routine update to drivers' education curricula It requires cooperation from state licensing agencies and public and private driving schools
20Providing primary education on avoiding aggressive drivers It reduces the likelihood of provoking angry drivers to drive aggressively ...it is part of a coordinated, long-term campaign Primary education can be expensive and requires the participation of professional advertising and public health specialists
21Training professional drivers in aggressive driving prevention It deters aggressive driving through education ...a trainer knowledgeable in aggressive driving prevention conducts the training It might be made mandatory or offered for free or at a discounted charge
22Encouraging employer monitoring of professional drivers' driving It deters aggressive driving by increasing the probability of detection and the resulting consequences ...employers are committed to enforcing companies' driving rules, and fleet insurance rates are reduced by having such programs in place It requires the cooperation of company executives and fleet managers
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enhancing the Consequences of Aggressive Driving
23Requiring anger management treatment for aggressive drivers It reduces drivers' aggressive reactions to frustration ...judges and prosecutors support treatment options, effective treatment programs are available in the jurisdiction, and eligible defendants are selected To reach a critical mass of defendants to justify a treatment contract, program designers may wish to develop referral criteria that consider other offenses, such as reckless and impaired driving, and some nondriving offenses in which anger is a significant contributing factor
24Requiring vehicle-based monitoring systems to enforce driving restrictions Systems lock ignitions and report drivers' speeding to the courts All parties involved agree to their use They may be expensive to install
#Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
25Discouraging aggressive driving through general publicity campaigns Print, radio, Internet and television media can all be employed Used in conjunction with responses targeted at those most likely to offend Aggressive drivers tend to underestimate the risk of apprehension and overestimate their driving skills; they are also less likely to be swayed by logic and reason

Endnotes

[1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2004)

[2] James and Nahl (2000).

[3] James and Nahl (2000).

[4] James and Nahl (2000).

[5] Neighbors, Vietor, and Knee (2002).

[6] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2006).

[7] Galovski, Malta, and Blanchard (2006).

[8] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2004).

[9] Galovski, Malta, and Blanchard (2006).

[10] James and Nahl (2000).

[11] James and Nahl (2000).

[12] Dollard et al. (1939), referenced in Millar (2007).

[13] James and Nahl (2000).

[14] Joint (1995); Smart and Mann (2002); Wells-Parker et al. (2002).

[15] Rose (2000).

[16] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

[17] Mizell (1997).

[18] Galovski, Malta, and Blanchard (2006).

[19] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[20] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[21] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[22] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[23] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

[24] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

[25] Galovski, Malta, and Blanchard (2006).

[26] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[27] Congressional Quarterly (1997).

[28] Ross and Antonowicz (2004).

[29] Shinar (1998).

[30] Galovski, Marla, and Blanchard (2006).

[31] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

[32] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

[33] Galovski, Marla, and Blanchard. (2006).

[34] Asbridge, Smart, and Mann (2003).

[35] Strahilevitz (2006).

[36] James and Nahl (2008).

[37] James and Nahl (2008).

[38] Tannen (1998).

[39] James and Nahl (2008).

[40] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2006).

[41] Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (2005).

[42] National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running (2002).

[43] Asbridge, Smart, and Mann (2006).

[44] Shinar (1998).

[45] Stetenfeld (2003).

[46] Crimmins and Callahan (2003).

[47] Crimmins and Callahan (2003).

[48] Shinar (1998).

[49] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2004).

[50] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2006).

[51] Strahilevitz (2006).

[52] Deffenbacher (2002); Beck and Fernandez (1998).

[53] Asbridge, Smart, and Mann (2006).

[54] Galovski, Marla, and Blanchard (2006).

[55] Flango, Cullen, and Keith (2003).

[56] Parliament of Victoria Drug and Crime Prevention Committee, Australia (2005).

References

Asbridge, M., R. Smart, and R. Mann (2006). "Can We Prevent Road Rage?" Trauma, Violence and Abuse 7(2): 109-121.

-------— (2003). "The 'Homogamy' of Road Rage: Understanding the Relationship Between Victimization and Offending Among Aggressive and Violent Motorists." Violence and Victims, 12(5): 517-531.

Beck, R., and E. Fernandez (1998). "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Anger: A Meta-Analysis." Cognitive Therapy and Research 22(1): 63–74

Crimmins, J. and C. Callahan (2003). "Reducing Road Rage: The Role of Target Insight in Advertising for Social Change." Journal of Advertising Research 43(4): 381-389.

Deffenbacher, J. (2002). "Principles of Empirically Supported Interventions Applied to Anger Management." The Counseling Psychologist 30(2): 262–280.

Flango, V., D. Cullen, and A. Keith (2003). The Status of Court-Based Aggressive Driving Programs in Virginia: A Report to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Williamsburg, V.A.: National Center for State Courts.

Galovski, T., L. Malta, and E. Blanchard (2006). Road Rage: Assessment and Treatment of the Angry, Aggressive Driver. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Gaventa, J. (2005). Policing Road Risk: Enforcement, Technologies and Road Safety. Occasional Research Reports. London: Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transportation Safety.

Glazer, S. (1997). "Aggressive Driving: Can Road Designers and Police Calm Motorists Down?" CQ Researcher 7(28):651–672. [Full Text]

James, L., and D. Nahl (2008). The Psychology of Parking Rage: Threestep [sic] Program for Prevention.

------- (2000). Road Rage. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.

Joint, M. (1997). Road Rage. Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Millar, M. (2007). "The Influence of Public Self-Consciousness and Anger on Aggressive Driving." Personality and Individual Differences 43(8): 2117-2126.

Mizell, L. (1997). Aggressive Driving. Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running (2002). Stop On Red = Safe On Green: A Guide to Red Light Camera Programs. Washington, D.C.: National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2004). Aggressive Driving Enforcement: Strategies for Implementing Best Practices. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation.

------- (2006). Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation.

Neighbors, C., N. Vietor, and C.R. Knee (2002). "A Motivational Model of Driving Anger and Aggression." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(3): 324-335.

Rose, G. (2000). The Criminal Histories of Serious Traffic Offenders. Home Office Research Study No. 206. London: Home Office, Research, Development, and Statistics Directorate.

Ross, R. and D. Antonowicz (2004). Antisocial Drivers: Prosocial Driver Training for Prevention and Rehabilitation. Springfield, I.L.: Charles C. Thomas.

Shinar, D. (1998). "Aggressive Driving: The Contribution of the Drivers and the Situation." Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior 1(2) 137-160.

Smart, R., and R. Mann (2002). "Deaths and Injuries from Road Rage: Cases in Canadian Newspapers." Canadian Medical Association Journal 167(7): 761-762.

Stetenfeld, E. (2003). "Milwaukee Pavement Markings Show Speed-Reduction Promise." SmartNews: The Wisconsin ITS Alliance Newsletter 1(3) (Fall/Winter).

Strahilevitz, L. (2006). 'How's My Driving?' for Everyone (and Everything?). John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No. 290. Chicago: University of Chicago Law School.

Tannen, D. (1998). The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialog. New York: Random House.

Victoria Parliament, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee (2005). Inquiry Into Violence Associated With Motor Vehicle Use: Final Report. Melbourne: State of Victoria Government Printer.

Wells-Parker, E., J. Ceminsky, V. Hallberg, R. Snow, G. Dunaway, S. Guiling, M. Williams, and B. Anderson (2000). "An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Road Rage and Crash Experience in a Representative Sample of US Drivers." Accident Analysis and Prevention 34(3): 271-278.

Related POP Projects

Important!

The quality and focus of these submissions vary considerably. With the exception of those submissions selected as winners or finalists, these documents are unedited and are reproduced in the condition in which they were submitted. They may nevertheless contain useful information or may report innovative projects.

Aggressive Driving Program Enforcement Team, Illinois State Police, 2000

Project ADVANCE (Aggressive Driving Video and Non-Contact Enforcement, Maryland State Police, 2001

Safe Streets in 1997, Albuquerque Police Department, 1997

Email sent. Thank you.

Aggressive Driving

Send an e-mail with a link to this guide.

* required

Error sending email. Please review your enteries below.

In United States law, reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. It is usually a more serious offense than careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention and is often punishable by fines, imprisonment, or driver's license suspension or revocation. (List specific to the USA.)

Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver misjudges common driving procedures, often causing wrecks, accidents and other damages. Reckless driving has been studied by psychologists[1] who found that reckless drivers score high in risk-taking personality traits. However, no one cause can be assigned to this state.

There are some states, such as Virginia,[2] where mental state is not considered, but rather a set of more than a dozen specific violations can be deemed reckless. Excessive speed by itself is sufficient for a reckless driving conviction in some jurisdictions (e.g., Virginia[3]). Because of the seriousness of the charge (excepting Virginia's definitions) reckless driving may be equated to DUI by rental agencies and preclude the offender from renting a car for several years after the conviction[4]).

In Virginia, reckless driving is considered a class one misdemeanor [5]. As such, the penalties can include the following: a maximum of one year in jail, a six-month loss of license, six demerit points, and a fine of up to $2,500 [6].

State Laws[edit]

Alabama[edit]

Code of Alabama 1975, Title 32 (Motor Vehicles and Traffic), Section 32-5A-190 (Reckless driving):
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five days nor more than 90 days, or by fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and on a second or subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and the court may prohibit the person so convicted from driving a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state for a period not exceeding six months, and the license of the person shall be suspended for such period by the Director of Public Safety pursuant to Section 32-5A-195.
(c) Neither reckless driving nor any other moving violation under this chapter is a lesser included offense under a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §9-101.) [1]

Alaska[edit]

Alaska Statutes, Title 28 (Motor Vehicles), Chapter 35 (Offenses and Accidents), Section 40. (Reckless Driving)
(a) A person who drives a motor vehicle in the state in a manner that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to a person or to property is guilty of reckless driving. A substantial and unjustifiable risk is a risk of such a nature and degree that the conscious disregard of it or a failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.
(b) A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year or by both.
(c) Lawfully conducted automobile, snowmobile, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle racing or exhibition events are not subject to the provisions of this section. (AS 28.35.040) [2]

Arizona[edit]

28-693. Reckless driving; classification; license; surrender
A. A person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
B. A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
C. In addition, the judge may require the surrender to a police officer of any driver license of the convicted person, shall report the conviction to the department and may order the driving privileges of the person to be suspended for a period of not more than ninety days. On receipt of the abstract of conviction and order, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person for the period of time ordered by the judge.
D. If a person who is convicted of a violation of this section has been previously convicted of a violation of this section, section 13-1102 or section 13-1103, subsection A, paragraph 1, in the driving of a vehicle, or section 28-708, 28-1381, 28-1382 or 28-1383 within a period of twenty-four months:
1. The person is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
2. The person is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release on any basis until the person has served not less than twenty days in jail.
3. The judge may require the surrender to a police officer of any driver license of the person and shall immediately forward the abstract of conviction to the department.
4. On receipt of the abstract of conviction, the department shall revoke the driving privilege of the person.
E. The dates of the commission of the offense are the determining factor in applying subsection D of this section. A second or subsequent violation for which a conviction occurs as provided in this section does not include a conviction for an offense arising out of the same series of acts.
F. On pronouncement of a jail sentence under this section, and after the court receives confirmation that the person is employed or is a student, the court may provide in the sentence that if the defendant is employed or is a student the defendant can continue employment or schooling for not more than twelve hours per day nor more than five days per week. The defendant shall spend the remaining days or parts of days in jail until the sentence is served and shall be allowed out of jail only long enough to complete the defendant's actual hours of employment or schooling. [3]

Arkansas[edit]

Arkansas Code, Title 27 (Transportation), Subtitle 4 (Motor Vehicular Traffic), Chapter 50 (Penalties and Enforcement), Subchapter 3 (Offenses and Penalties Generally)
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b)(1)(A) If physical injury to a person results, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ninety (90) days or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(B) Otherwise, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five (5) days nor more than ninety (90) days or a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(2)(A) For a second or subsequent offense occurring within three (3) years of the first offense, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(B) However, if the second or subsequent offense involves physical injury to a person, the person convicted shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than sixty (60) days nor more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. (AC 27-50-30; Acts 1937, No. 300, § 50; Pope's Dig., § 6708; Acts 1955, No. 186, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, § 75-1003; Acts 1987, No. 258, § 1) [4]

California[edit]

California Vehicle Code§ 23103.5: Wet Reckless or Reckless Driving Involving Alcohol (Priorable as a California DUI)
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Any person who drives any vehicle in any off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(c) Persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104.

Amended Sec. 19, Ch. 739, Stats. 2001. Effective January 1, 2002.

Reckless Driving: Bodily Injury Vehicle Code 23104
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
(b) Any person convicted of reckless driving which proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, to any person other than the driver, who previously has been convicted of a violation of Section 23103, 23104, 23109, 23152, or 23153, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Amended Ch. 216, Stats. 1984. Effective January 1, 1985.

Colorado[edit]

Colorado Statute CRS 42-4-1401: Reckless Driving [5]
(1) A person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. A person convicted of reckless driving of a bicycle or /electrical assisted bicycle shall not be subject to the provisions of section 42-2-127.
(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, such person shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

//

Connecticut[edit]

Connecticut Statute GSC Section 14-222: Reckless Driving [6]
(a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway of the state, or any road of any specially chartered municipal association or of any district organized under the provisions of chapter 105, a purpose of which is the construction and maintenance of roads and sidewalks, or in any parking area for ten cars or more or upon any private road on which a speed limit has been established in accordance with the provisions of section 14-218a or upon any school property recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway, road, school property or parking area, the intersection of streets and the weather conditions. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person other than the operator of such motor vehicle, or the operation, downgrade, upon any highway, of any motor vehicle with a commercial registration with the clutch or gears disengaged, or the operation knowingly of a motor vehicle with defective mechanism, shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section.
(b) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or be both fined and imprisoned for the first offense and for each subsequent offense shall be fined not more than six hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned.

Delaware[edit]

Delaware Statute DE Code Title 21 Section 4175: Reckless Driving [7]
(a) No person shall drive any vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and this offense shall be known as reckless driving.
(b) Whoever violates subsection (a) of this section shall for the first offense be fined not less than $100 nor more than $300, or be imprisoned not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both. For each subsequent like offense occurring within 3 years of a former offense, the person shall be fined not less than $300 nor more than $1,000, or be imprisoned not less than 30 nor more than 60 days, or both. No person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall receive a suspended sentence. However, for the first offense, the period of imprisonment may be suspended. Whoever is convicted of violating subsection (a) of this section and who has had the charge reduced from the violation of § 4177(a) of this title shall, in addition to the above, be ordered to complete a course of instruction or program of rehabilitation established under § 4177D of this title and to pay all fees in connection therewith. In such cases, the court disposing of the case shall note in the court's record that the offense was alcohol-related or drug-related and such notation shall be carried on the violator's motor vehicle record.

District of Columbia[edit]

District of Columbia DC Code Section 50-2201.04: Reckless Driving [8]
(a) No vehicle shall be operated at a greater rate of speed than permitted by the regulations adopted under the authority of this part.
(b) A person shall be guilty of reckless driving if the person drives a vehicle upon a highway carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger a person or property.
(b-1) A person shall be guilty of aggravated reckless driving if the person violates subsection (b) of this section and the person does one or more of the following:
(1) Operates the vehicle at a rate or speed at or greater than 30 miles per hour over the stated speed limit;
(2) Causes bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another; or
(3) Causes property damage in excess of $1,000.
(c)
(1) A person violating subsection (b) of this section shall, upon conviction for the first offense, be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than 90 days, or both.
(2) A person violating subsection (b) of this section when the person has been convicted of a prior offense under subsection (b) of this section within a 2-year period and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than 180 days.
(3) A person violating subsection (b) of this section when the person has 2 or more prior convictions for offenses under subsection (b) of this section within a 2-year period and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than one year.
(c-1)
(1) A person violating subsection (b-1) of this section shall, upon conviction for the first offense, be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than 180 days, or both.
(2) A person violating subsection (b-1) of this section when the person has one or more prior convictions for offenses under subsection (b-1) within a 2-year period and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than one year.
(d) Any individual violating any provision of this section, except where the offense constitutes aggravated reckless driving, shall be subject to a civil fine under the District of Columbia Traffic Adjudication Act (§ 50‑2301.01 et seq.).
(e) A presumption shall exist that a reckless, careless, hazardous, or aggressive driving conviction that occurred in a foreign jurisdiction constitutes reckless driving as provided in subsection (b) of this section, unless the District can show evidence that the person met the requirements for aggravated reckless driving in subsection (b-1) of this section.
(f) The fines set forth in this section shall not be limited by § 22‑3571.01.

Florida[edit]

Florida Statute Section 316.192: Reckless Driving [9]
(1)(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle is reckless driving per se.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), any person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished:
(a) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days or by fine of not less than $25 nor more than $500, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(b) On a second or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) Any person:
(a) Who is in violation of subsection (1);
(b) Who operates a vehicle; and
(c) Who, by reason of such operation, causes:
1. Damage to the property or person of another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Serious bodily injury to another commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The term "serious bodily injury" means an injury to another person, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, $5 shall be added to a fine imposed pursuant to this section. The clerk shall remit the $5 to the Department of Revenue for deposit in the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund.
(5) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, if the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical substances set forth in s. 877.111, or substances controlled under chapter 893 contributed to a violation of this section, the court shall direct the person so convicted to complete a DUI program substance abuse

Georgia[edit]

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390. Reckless Driving

(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless driving.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, provided that no provision of this Code section shall be construed so as to deprive the court imposing the sentence of the power given by law to stay or suspend the execution of such sentence or to place the defendant on probation.[7]

Hawaii[edit]

Hawaii Statute HRS Section 291-2: Reckless Driving [10]
Whoever operates any vehicle or rides any animal recklessly in disregard of the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving of vehicle or reckless riding of an animal, as appropriate, and shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both

Idaho[edit]

Idaho Statute Section 49-1401: Reckless Driving [11]
(1) Any person who drives or is in actual physical control of any vehicle upon a highway, or upon public or private property open to public use, carelessly and heedlessly or without due caution and circumspection, and at a speed or in a manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, or who passes when there is a line in his lane indicating a sight distance restriction, shall be guilty of reckless driving and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) Every person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of reckless driving for the first time is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to jail for not more than six (6) months or may be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or may be punished by both fine and imprisonment. Every person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of reckless driving, who has previously been found guilty of or has pled guilty to reckless driving, or any substantially conforming foreign criminal violation within five (5) years, notwithstanding the form of the judgment(s) or withheld judgment(s), is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to jail for not more than one (1) year or may be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), or may be punished by both fine and imprisonment. The department shall suspend the driver's license or privileges of any such person as provided in section 49-326, Idaho Code.
(3) Inattentive driving shall be considered a lesser offense than reckless driving and shall be applicable in those circumstances where the conduct of the operator has been inattentive, careless or imprudent, in light of the circumstances then existing, rather than heedless or wanton, or in those cases where the danger to persons or property by the motor vehicle operator's conduct is slight. Every person convicted of inattentive driving under this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to jail for not more than ninety (90) days or may be fined not more than three hundred dollars ($300), or may be punished by both fine and imprisonment.

Illinois[edit]

Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503: Reckless Driving [12]
(a) A person commits reckless driving if he or she:
(1) drives any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(2) knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, except as provided under subsections (b-1), (c), and (d) of this Section.
(b-1) Except as provided in subsection (d), any person convicted of violating subsection (a), if the violation causes bodily harm to a child or a school crossing guard while the school crossing guard is performing his or her official duties, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
(c) Every person convicted of committing a violation of subsection (a) shall be guilty of aggravated reckless driving if the violation results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Section, aggravated reckless driving is a Class 4 felony.
(d) Any person convicted of violating subsection (a), if the violation causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a child or a school crossing guard while the school crossing guard is performing his or her official duties, is guilty of aggravated reckless driving. Aggravated reckless driving under this subsection (d) is a Class 3 felony.

Indiana[edit]

Indiana Statute 9-21-8-52: Reckless Driving [13]
(a) A person who operates a vehicle and who recklessly:
(1) drives at such an unreasonably high rate of speed or at such an unreasonably low rate of speed under the circumstances as to:
(A) endanger the safety or the property of others; or
(B) block the proper flow of traffic;
(2) passes another vehicle from the rear while on a slope or on a curve where vision is obstructed for a distance of less than five hundred (500) feet ahead;
(3) drives in and out of a line of traffic, except as otherwise permitted; or
(4) speeds up or refuses to give one-half (1/2) of the roadway to a driver overtaking and desiring to pass;

commits a Class B misdemeanor.

(b) A person who operates a vehicle and who recklessly passes a school bus stopped on a roadway when the arm signal device specified in IC 9-21-12-13 is in the device's extended position commits a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it causes bodily injury to a person.
(c) If an offense under subsection (a) or (b) results in damage to the property of another person or bodily injury to another person, the court shall recommend the suspension of the current driving license of the person for a fixed period of:
(1) not less than thirty (30) days; and
(2) not more than one (1) year.

Iowa[edit]

Iowa Statute Section 321.277: Reckless Driving [14]
Any person who drives any vehicle in such manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a simple misdemeanor.

Kansas[edit]

Kansas Statute Section 8-1566: Reckless Driving [15]
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Except as provided in K.S.A. 8-2,142, violation of this section is a misdemeanor. Upon a first conviction of a violation of this section, a person shall be sentenced to not less than five days nor more than 90 days imprisonment or fined not less than $25 nor more than $500, or both such fine and imprisonment. On a second or subsequent conviction of a violation of this section, a person shall be sentenced to not less than 10 days nor more than six months imprisonment, or fined not less than $50 nor more than $500 or both such fine and imprisonment.

Kentucky[edit]

Kentucky Statute KRS 189.290 [16]

Louisiana[edit]

Louisiana Statute RS 32:58: Careless Operation [17]
A. Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation.
B. If the careless operation of the motor vehicle directly or proximately causes the death of a human being, when the operator fails to maintain control of the vehicle because of falling asleep, in addition to any penalties provided in this Title, the person shall also be ordered to serve court-approved community service for not more than two hundred fifty hours and the department may suspend the operator's license for a period of two years

Maine[edit]

Maine Statute MRS Title 29-A Section 2413: Driving to Endanger [18]
1. Definition. A person commits a Class E crime if, with criminal negligence as defined in Title 17-A, that person drives a motor vehicle in any place in a manner that endangers the property of another or a person, including the operator or passenger in the motor vehicle being driven.
1-A. Aggravated punishment category. Notwithstanding subsection 1, a person commits a Class C crime if, with criminal negligence as defined in Title 17-A, section 35, that person drives a motor vehicle in any place in a manner that endangers the property of another or a person, including the operator or passenger in the motor vehicle being driven, and causes serious bodily injury, as defined in Title 17-A, section 2, subsection 23, to another person.
2. Allegation of facts. In pleading under this section, it is not necessary to allege specifically the facts that constitute criminal negligence.
3. Penalties. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall suspend the driver's license of a person convicted under subsection 1 for not less than 30 days nor more than 180 days, which minimum may not be suspended. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall suspend the driver's license of a person convicted under subsection 1-A for not less than 180 days nor more than 2 years, which minimum may not be suspended. If the court fails to suspend the license, the Secretary of State shall impose the minimum period of suspension. The court shall impose a sentencing alternative that involves a fine of not less than $575, which may not be suspended.

Maryland[edit]

Maryland Statute MD Transp. Code Section 21-901.1: Reckless Driving [19]
(a) A person is guilty of reckless driving if he drives a motor vehicle:
(1) In wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(2) In a manner that indicates a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.
(b) A person is guilty of negligent driving if he drives a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life or person of any individual.

Massachusetts[edit]

Massachusetts Statute Chapter 89 [20]

Michigan[edit]

Michigan Statute 257.626 Reckless driving on highway, frozen public lake, or parking place [21]
(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of reckless driving punishable as provided in this section.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public, including, but not limited to, an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
(3) Beginning October 31, 2010, a person who operates a vehicle in violation of subsection (2) and by the operation of that vehicle causes serious impairment of a body function to another person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not less than $1,000.00 or more than $5,000.00, or both. The judgment of sentence may impose the sanction permitted under section 625n. If the vehicle is not ordered forfeited under section 625n, the court shall order vehicle immobilization under section 904d in the judgment of sentence.
(4) Beginning October 31, 2010, a person who operates a vehicle in violation of subsection (2) and by the operation of that vehicle causes the death of another person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not less than $2,500.00 or more than $10,000.00, or both. The judgment of sentence may impose the sanction permitted under section 625n. If the vehicle is not ordered forfeited under section 625n, the court shall order vehicle immobilization under section 904d in the judgment of sentence.
(5) In a prosecution under subsection (4), the jury shall not be instructed regarding the crime of moving violation causing death.

Minnesota[edit]

Minnesota Statute 169.13: Reckless or Careless Driving [22]
Subdivision 1.Reckless driving.
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving and such reckless driving is a misdemeanor.
(b) A person shall not race any vehicle upon any street or highway of this state. Any person who willfully compares or contests relative speeds by operating one or more vehicles is guilty of racing, which constitutes reckless driving, whether or not the speed contested or compared is in excess of the maximum speed prescribed by law.
Subdivision 2.Careless driving.
Any person who operates or halts any vehicle upon any street or highway carelessly or heedlessly in disregard of the rights of others, or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any property or any person, including the driver or passengers of the vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Subdivision 3.Application.
(a) The provisions of this section apply, but are not limited in application, to any person who drives any vehicle in the manner prohibited by this section:
(1) upon the ice of any lake, stream, or river, including but not limited to the ice of any boundary water; or
(2) in a parking lot ordinarily used by or available to the public though not as a matter of right, and a driveway connecting the parking lot with a street or highway.
(b) This section does not apply to:
(1) an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator;
(2) the emergency operation of any vehicle when avoiding imminent danger; or
(3) any raceway, racing facility, or other public event sanctioned by the appropriate governmental authority.

Mississippi[edit]

Mississippi Statute 63-3-1201 [23]
Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a wilful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving shall be considered a greater offense than careless driving.
Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by a fine of not less than Five Dollars ($ 5.00) nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00), and on a second or subsequent conviction he may be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) days or by a fine of not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by both.

Missouri[edit]

Missouri Statute MRS 304.012

Montana[edit]

Montana Statute 61-8-301 [24]
(a) operates a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(b) operates a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property while passing, in either direction, a school bus that has stopped and is displaying the visual flashing red signal, as provided in 61-8-351 and 61-9-402. This subsection:
(1)(b) does not apply to situations described in 61-8-351(6).
(2) A municipality may enact and enforce 61-8-715 and subsection (1) of this section as an ordinance.
(3) A person who is convicted of the offense of reckless driving or of reckless endangerment of a highway worker is subject to the penalties provided in 61-8-715.
(4)
(a) A person commits the offense of reckless endangerment of a highway worker if the person purposely, knowingly, or negligently drives a motor vehicle in a highway construction zone in a manner that endangers persons or property or if the person purposely removes, ignores, or intentionally strikes an official traffic control device in a construction zone for reasons other than:
(i) avoidance of an obstacle;
(ii) an emergency; or
(iii) to protect the health and safety of an occupant of the vehicle or of another person.
(b) As used in this section:
(i) "construction zone" has the same meaning as is provided in 61-8-314; and
(ii) "highway worker" means an employee of the department of transportation, a local authority, a utility company, or a private contractor.

Nebraska[edit]

Nebraska Statute 60-6, 213 [25]

Nevada[edit]

Nevada Statute NRS 484B.653  Reckless driving [26]
1.  It is unlawful for a person to:
(a) Drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(b) Drive a vehicle in an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.
(c) Organize an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.
2.  If, while violating the provisions of subsections 1 to 5, inclusive, of NRS 484B.270, NRS 484B.280, paragraph (a) or (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484B.283, NRS 484B.350, subsection 1 or 2 of NRS 484B.363 or subsection 1 of NRS 484B.600, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle, the violation constitutes reckless driving.
3.  A person who violates paragraph (a) of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and:
(a) For the first offense, shall be punished:
(1) By a fine of not less than $250 but not more than $1,000; or
(2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
(b) For the second offense, shall be punished:
(1) By a fine of not less than $1,000 but not more than $1,500; or
(2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
(c) For the third and each subsequent offense, shall be punished:
(1) By a fine of not less than $1,500 but not more than $2,000; or
(2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
4.  A person who violates paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 1 or commits a violation which constitutes reckless driving pursuant to subsection 2 is guilty of a misdemeanor and:
(a) For the first offense:
(1) Shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 but not more than $1,000;
(2) Shall perform not less than 50 hours, but not more than 99 hours, of community service; and
(3) May be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
(b) For the second offense:
(1) Shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 but not more than $1,500;
(2) Shall perform not less than 100 hours, but not more than 199 hours, of community service; and
(3) May be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
(c) For the third and each subsequent offense:
(1) Shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,500 but not more than $2,000;
(2) Shall perform 200 hours of community service; and
(3) May be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.
5.  In addition to any fine, community service and imprisonment imposed upon a person pursuant to subsection 4, the court:
(a) Shall issue an order suspending the driver’s license of the person for a period of not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years and requiring the person to surrender all driver’s licenses then held by the person;
(b) Within 5 days after issuing an order pursuant to paragraph (a), shall forward to the Department any licenses, together with a copy of the order;
(c) For the first offense, may issue an order impounding, for a period of 15 days, any vehicle that is registered to the person who violates paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 1 if the vehicle is used in the commission of the offense; and
(d) For the second and each subsequent offense, shall issue an order impounding, for a period of 30 days, any vehicle that is registered to the person who violates paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 1 if the vehicle is used in the commission of the offense.
6.  Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to subsection 4 of NRS 484B.550, a person who does any act or neglects any duty imposed by law while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property, if the act or neglect of duty proximately causes the death of or substantial bodily harm to another person, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years and by a fine of not less than $2,000 but not more than $5,000.
7.  A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130 unless the person is subject to the penalty provided pursuant to subsection 4 of NRS 484B.550.
8.  As used in this section, “organize” means to plan, schedule or promote, or assist in the planning, scheduling or promotion of, an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway, regardless of whether a fee is charged for attending the unauthorized speed contest.

New Hampshire[edit]

New Hampshire Statute 265:79: Driving Recklessly [27]
Whoever upon any way drives a vehicle recklessly, or causes a vehicle to be driven recklessly, as defined in RSA 626:2 [28], II(c), or so that the lives or safety of the public shall be endangered, or upon a bet, wager, or race, or who drives a vehicle for the purpose of making a record, and thereby violates any of the provisions of this title or any rules adopted by the director, shall be, notwithstanding the provisions of title LXII, guilty of a violation and fined not less than $500 for the first offense and $750 for the second offense nor more than $1,000 and his or her license shall be revoked for a period of 60 days for the first offense and from 60 days to one year for the second offense.

New Jersey[edit]

New Jersey Statute 39:4-96

New Mexico[edit]

New Mexico Statute NMS 66-8-113 [29]
A. Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others and without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property is guilty of reckless driving.
B. Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 31-18-13 NMSA 1978, upon a first conviction by imprisonment for not less than five days nor more than ninety days, or by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100), or both and on a second or subsequent conviction by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.
C. Upon conviction of violation of this section, the director may suspend the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege for not to exceed ninety days.

New York[edit]

Reckless Driving in New York is not a non-criminal "petty offense" or "traffic infraction." Reckless Driving is a "misdemeanor" and therefore a "crime." A conviction for Reckless Driving is a conviction for a crime and such a conviction results in a permanent criminal record. Other than in the New York City Criminal Court, an adult defendant has a right to a jury trial for all misdemeanors, including Reckless Driving. If convicted of Reckless Driving, a defendant must be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail (up to 90 or 180 days for certain repeat offenders) and/or a fine of up to $300 plus a court surcharge of at least $70. Additionally, if convicted, the DMV will assess 5 points on your driving record. [30][31][32][33][34]

New York VEHICLE & TRAFFIC LAW Section 1212. Reckless Driving

§ 1212. Reckless driving. Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. Every person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. [35]

North Carolina[edit]

North Carolina Statute NCGS section 20-140: Reckless Driving [36]
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others shall be guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of reckless driving.
(c) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 435, s. 23.
(d) Reckless driving as defined in subsections (a) and (b) is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
(e) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 435, s. 23.
(f) A person is guilty of the Class 2 misdemeanor of reckless driving if the person drives a commercial motor vehicle carrying a load that is subject to the permit requirements of G.S. 20-119 upon a highway or any public vehicular area either:
(1) Carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others; or
(2) Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property

North Dakota[edit]

North Dakota Statute ND Code Chapter 39-08-03 [37]
Any person is guilty of reckless driving if the person drives a vehicle:
1. Recklessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others; or
2. Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or the property of another. Except as otherwise herein provided, any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Any person who, by reason of reckless driving as herein defined, causes and inflicts injury upon the person of another, is guilty of aggravated reckless driving, and is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Ohio[edit]

Ohio Statute ORC section 4511.20: Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property [38]
(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Oklahoma[edit]

Oklahoma Statute 47-11-901: Reckless Driving [39]
A. It shall be deemed reckless driving for any person to drive a motor vehicle in a careless or wanton manner without regard for the safety of persons or property or in violation of the conditions outlined in Section 11-801 of this title.
B. Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five (5) days nor more than ninety (90) days, or by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment; on a second or subsequent conviction, punishment shall be imprisonment for not less than ten (10) days nor more than six (6) months, or by a fine of not less than One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Oregon[edit]

Oregon Revised Statutes

[40] ORS 811.140 Reckless driving • penalty (1) A person commits the offense of reckless driving if the person recklessly drives a vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property. (2) The use of the term recklessly in this section is as defined in ORS 161.085 (Definitions with respect to culpability). (3) The offense described in this section, reckless driving, is a Class A misdemeanor and is applicable upon any premises open to the public. [1983 c.338 §571]

Amended July 1, 2007 [41]

Pennsylvania[edit]

Pennsylvania Statute Title 75 Chapter 37 Section 36: Reckless Driving [42]
(a) General rule.--Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Penalty.--Any person who violates this section commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $200.

Rhode Island[edit]

Rhode Island Statute Section 31-27-4: Reckless Driving [43]
(a) Any person who operates a motor vehicle recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, or participates in drag racing, or operates a vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee from a traffic officer or police vehicle, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first conviction and a felony for the second and each subsequent conviction.
(b) For the purpose of this title, "drag racing" means the act of two (2) or more individuals competing or racing in a situation in which one of the motor vehicles is beside or to the rear of a motor vehicle operated by a competing driver and one driver attempts to prevent the competing driver from passing or overtaking him or her, or one or more individuals competing in a race against time unless the race is authorized by the owner of the property upon which the race takes place.

South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina Statute Section 56-5-2920 [44]
Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. The Department of Motor Vehicles, upon receiving satisfactory evidence of the conviction, of the entry of a plea of guilty or the forfeiture of bail of any person charged with a second and subsequent offense for the violation of this section shall forthwith suspend the driver's license of any such person for a period of three months. Only those offenses which occurred within a period of five years including and immediately preceding the date of the last offense shall constitute prior offenses within the meaning of this section. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, entry of a plea of guilty or forfeiture of bail, be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days.

South Dakota[edit]

South Dakota Statute 32-24-1: Reckless Driving [45]
Misdemeanor. Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway, alley, public park, recreational area, or upon the property of a public or private school, college, or university carelessly and heedlessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Tennessee[edit]

Tennessee Code §55-10-205: Reckless driving [46]
(a) Any person who drives a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property commits reckless driving.
(b) A person commits an offense of reckless driving who drives a motorcycle with the front tire raised off the ground in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property on any public street, highway, alley, parking lot, or driveway, or on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex, or any other premises which are generally frequented by the public at large. Provided, the offense of reckless driving for driving a motorcycle with the front tire raised off the ground shall not be applicable to persons riding in a parade, at a speed not to exceed thirty (30) miles per hour, if the person is eighteen (18) years of age or older.
(c) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Texas[edit]

Texas Statute Sec. 545.401: Reckless Driving [47]
(a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:
(1) a fine not to exceed $200;
(2) confinement in county jail for not more than 30 days; or
(3) both the fine and the confinement.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 542.001, this section applies to:
(1) a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a charge is made for the storing or parking of motor vehicles; and
(2) a highway or other public place.
(d) Notwithstanding Section 542.004, this section applies to a person, a team, or motor vehicles and other equipment engaged in work on a highway surface.

Utah[edit]

Utah Statute UT Code 41-6a-528 [48]
(1) A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle:
(a) in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(b) while committing three or more moving traffic violations under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic Code, in a series of acts occurring within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance.
(2) A person who violates Subsection (1) is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Vermont[edit]

Vermont Statute 23 VSA Section 1091: Negligent operation; grossly negligent operation [49]
(a) Negligent operation.
(1) A person who operates a motor vehicle on a public highway in a negligent manner shall be guilty of negligent operation.
(2) The standard for a conviction for negligent operation in violation of this subsection shall be ordinary negligence, examining whether the person breached a duty to exercise ordinary care.
(3) A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. If the person has been previously convicted of a violation of this subsection, the person shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $3,000.00, or both.
(b) Grossly negligent operation.
(1) A person who operates a motor vehicle on a public highway in a grossly negligent manner shall be guilty of grossly negligent operation.
(2) The standard for a conviction for grossly negligent operation in violation of this subsection shall be gross negligence, examining whether the person engaged in conduct which involved a gross deviation from the care that a reasonable person would have exercised in that situation.

0 Replies to “Aggressive Driving Essay 2007”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *