Examining the Specific Offenses That Contribute to Aggressive Driving

The video above is another news segment, this one from WFTS-TV, regarding the campaign by the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) to crack down on aggressive driving that we began discussing on Monday. While aggressive driving behaviors contribute to a majority of all auto accidents, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) notes that aggressive driving is not an enforceable offense in Florida. Instead, an issuing officer can select an “Aggressive Driving” checkbox on tickets for data collection purposes.

Such actions, as defined by state statute, involve at least two of the following offenses:

  • Speeding — According to an online report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the law enforcement community, 30.7 percent of all fatal crashes from 2003 to 2007 involved a speeding driver.
  • Unsafe or improper lane change — This typically involves one vehicle changing lanes with no regard for the safety of others, usually resulting in an accident.
  • Following too closely or tailgating — The person who was following will always be at fault in a rear-end collision, no matter what reason the driver in front stopped, as all motorists are required to allow themselves enough distance between vehicles to come to a complete stop.
  • Failure to yield right of way — This can frequently involve left turns and 3-Way or 4-Way stop signs, but can also include T-intersections, right turns on red and crosswalks.
  • Improper passing — This can include passing on the right, “blind” passing when approaching the top of a hill or a curve, or any other type of pass that endangers other motorists
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices — According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), a 2008 study showed that 58 percent of respondents sped up to beat a yellow light. While only 6 percent deliberately ran red lights, either is a risky decision that could be classified as aggressive driving.

According to a 2009 report from AAA, aggressive driving behaviors were a factor in 56 percent of fatal crashes between 2003 and 2007.  With the Florida Department of Transportation reporting an increase in the number of aggressive driving citations issued for each of the past seven years, it is important for all motorists to understand the risks of retaliating when cut off by another driver or being tailgated by another motorist. We must all maintain control of our emotions while behind the wheel to ensure that our roads and highways are as safe as possible.

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys



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