Since 2004, there has been a 10-fold increase in fatalities caused by drivers who are acting while “under the influence” of road rage. According to the Washington Post, law enforcement listed road rage as a contributing cause of 26 deadly accidents in the United States in 2004.
By contrast, in 2013, there were 247 fatalities in which road rage played a role in causing the fatal crash. This dramatic jump in deaths due to angry drivers has caused the Post to indicate that road rage is getting “uglier, angrier, and a lot more deadly.”
When a driver acts upon his anger and causes an accident either intentionally or accidentally that driver needs to be held accountable to all collision victims for the harm caused. Victims of road rage accidents should consult with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to find out their best course of action for pursuing a claim to get the maximum compensation possible from the angry driver to cover all their damages.
The Increased Risk of Road Rage Accidents
Commuters, young people and political independents are the most likely motorists to experience road rage, according to the Washington Post. However, the sad reality is road rage is something that affects the majority of Americans. ABC News reported recently that close to 80 percent of drivers responding to an AAA Foundation survey said they have felt “anger, aggression, and even road rage while driving.” The motorists indicated that they had felt this anger over the course of the prior year.
Motorists are not only feeling road rage or anger while driving, but they are acting upon their frustration and letting it influence their behavior. In total, 47 percent of drivers, or about 95 million motorists, yell at other drivers. 51 percent of drivers, or around 104 million people, said they tailgate on purpose.
Close to half of drivers say they honk their horns to show anger or annoyance, with 41 percent of motorists (or 91 million people) engaged in this behavior. Around 12 percent of drivers say they have intentionally and purposefully cut off another driver.
With so many angry drivers, it should come as no surprise that 9 out of 10 people in the AAA Foundation Survey indicated that they view aggressive drivers as a serious threat. Close to 2/3rds of drivers also worried that aggressive driving is becoming a bigger problem. Those who think aggressive driving is a growing problem and a threat to health are both right, judging by the big increase in road rage accidents.
Drivers need to maintain their calm when they are operating a vehicle. They shouldn't allow themselves to give into rage. If a driver does become angry or frustrated, this is not justification for the driver to break any road safety rules. A driver who causes a collision due to road rage can be held liable for losses.
In some cases, if the driver acted intentionally to cause harm because of anger or aggression caused by road rage, both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit against the driver may be an appropriate course of action. Contact Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A. today to learn how we can help.