In New York, road accidents and collisions are often a direct result of road rage. Driving while distracted can definitely result in accidents. However, according to statistical data from the America Safety Council (ACS), 66% of traffic deaths come about from aggressive driving.
At its core, road rage involves drivers resorting to a number of moving traffic offenses that can put the safety of property or other people in jeopardy. Road rage can also involve assault using a vehicle or a weapon, whether perpetrated by the driver of the vehicle or a passenger.
Who Resorts to Aggressive Driving Most Often?
While anyone can be guilty of aggressive driving, ACS data suggest that men below 19 years of age are the most likely to display such behavior and cause road accidents.
At the rudimentary stages, road rage can manifest as less dangerous behavior like rude hand gestures or frequent honking. However, it does not take much time to escalate to far more dangerous driving habits like tailgating. According to the ACS, about half of the people who are on the wrong side of aggressive driving behavior can respond with more aggressive moves of their own.
ACS estimates indicate that about 12,610 injuries and 218 deaths resulted due to aggressive driving during a seven-year period. A number of aggressive drivers even admit to such behavior. In fact, 2% of all surveyed drivers admit attempting to run aggressive vehicles off the road, turning into aggressive drivers themselves in the process.
Aggressive driving behavior can be found everywhere, and New York is no exception. The danger from these drivers can easily become more pronounced as they are more likely to commit other offenses, including speeding, driving without a seatbelt on, and driving under the influence. In fact, you might have already noticed a driver in New York display some of the following behavior:
- Reckless lane changing
- Speeding and accelerating without warning
- Frequent honking of the horn
- Braking without warning
- Unnecessary flashing of lights
- Using rude hand gestures
- Making loud threats or cursing
- Brandishing a weapon
- Running red lights or ignoring stop signs
- Not respecting right of way rules
- Passing or making U-turns illegally
- Driving on the wrong lane
- Driving on the median or shoulder
- Trying to cause an accident or crash intentionally
Moreover, road rage and aggressive driving incidents can often result in a confrontation between the parties. This can easily escalate to physical violence and sometimes, even murder. In such cases, the defendant can be hit with both civil and criminal proceedings.
While there can be no excuse for aggressive driver behavior, it is often congestion and heavy traffic that can spur the onset of road rage. With congestion and traffic increasing steadily, especially in New York, incidents of road rage are likely to become more and more frequent.
According to findings from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the phenomenon of aggressive driving has existed since the creation of vehicles, it has also been a rare occasion for many decades, to the comfort of drivers. However, that is not the case any longer. Since the 1990s, aggressive driving has become somewhat of a trend and, with passage of time, has only become more frequent.
The NHTSA indicates that, around 2005, the phenomenon of fairly occasional “rude” on-road behavior grew and developed into a number of national news reports about aggressive driving. Aggressive driving has been called a national issue and according to the NHTSA, some drivers in New York display behavior that can be termed “occasionally bizarre”.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that most drivers believe aggressive driving to be a direct threat to their safety and the safety of their loved ones. Surveys indicate that about 75% of motorists find it extremely important that measures be brought into place to curb unsafe driving.
Who Stands to Get Hurt by Aggressive Driving in New York?
Aggressive driving can be extremely damaging for pedestrians and people on bicycles. A study encompassing 10,000 incidents of road rage found that a staggering 33,521 pedestrians and 4,782 bicyclists were killed by vehicles. Another study found a 51% increase in serious incidents of road rage between the years 1990 and 1996.
The impact of aggressive driver behavior can be felt even more in cities where the surging popularity of bicycles and scooters increase their presence in the streets. Large-scale changes to the demographics of cities have also contributed to road rage, according to the NHTSA.
In just the second half of the last century, the population of the United States has seen an increase of a 100 million. While traffic safety in general has seen improvements with a steady decrease in fatalities, since the 1950s, risks like aggressive driving have only increased.
The NHTSA lists a number of factors that contribute to the phenomenon of aggressive driving. Some important ones include:
- A growing sense of impatience has developed among urban drivers.
- Difficulties in coping with the rigors and hardships of life can contribute to aggression on the road. Stresses emerging from routine tasks like getting to work on time, picking up children from school, the fear of embarrassment or admonishment, and running late for important errands can all contribute.
- In large cities like New York, the sheer scale of life has brought about a decline in the sense of community and harmony, which contributes to aggressive driving.
- Sociologists have also attributed a loss of shared social values to aggressive behavior on the road.
While for most people aggressive driving happens only on rare occasions, it is also a regular habit for some. For some people, mental health issues can also lead to aggressive driving.
What You Can Do when You See an Aggressive Driver?
Prioritize Road Safety
You need to exercise caution while driving in New York. Any competent NYC accident attorney would attest that this is a challenging environment for driving.
- If you encounter aggressive driver behavior, lock your car doors immediately. If you need to stop your car, make sure that there is adequate room at both ends of your car should you need to drive away quickly. On being confronted, dial 911 immediately.
- As far as you can, avoid conflict and maintain cordial behavior. Doing this can help you avoid situations where you might need a New York accident attorney.
- Report aggressive drivers to the proper authorities by calling the appropriate helpline with details like license plate number, vehicle description, driver description, location, and direction of travel.
Maintain Courteous Behavior
While this can be taxing when faced with aggressive drivers, it is wise to keep a cool head. This can help you remain on the right side of the law and avoid situations that require the involvement of a New York accident attorney.
In addition, you can do the following to minimize risk:
- Avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers.
- Avoid tailgating.
- Avoid making rude gestures.
- Avoid excessive horn use.
- Avoid blocking the passing lane.
Burden of Proof with Accidents Involving Aggressive Drivers
If you have sustained injuries due to an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you would need to prove their liability in the matter in order to be able to claim compensation. Under the law, a number of aggressive driving behaviors are considered negligence.
In New York, it can be difficult to prove a case of aggressive driving as law enforcement officers do not issue tickets unless they specifically see such behavior. Therefore, you need to rely more on traffic camera footage and eyewitness accounts. Reports from others in the vicinity can be used as evidence in such matters.
If you have sustained an injury in an accident resulting from aggressive driving, the competent accident lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, LLP can assist you in your attempt to obtain just compensation.
What are the Important Consequences of Aggressive Driving Accidents?
People on the wrong end of aggressive driving accidents often have to deal with serious injuries. Debt can mount up quickly through the burden of exorbitant medical bills. The future income of victims can also come under jeopardy as they are rendered unproductive during the recovery period.
However, with the help of reconstruction specialists, police reports, and witness testimony, liability can be established and compensation sought. Compensation from the responsible parties can provide you some much-needed financial relief during this trying time. The types of damages you can seek to recover through a personal injury lawsuit can include:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and mental trauma
- Compensation for loss of income
Furthermore, you can also recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit if someone you care about has died in such an incident.
It is important to remember that there are relevant statutes of limitation regarding filing personal injury or wrongful death suits. You would need to file your claim within the stipulated time period.
Schedule a Consultation with Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP
The experienced attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have important experience handling personal injury cases, including those involving aggressive driving and road rage. With our dedicated assistance, you will have a valuable ally in your quest for justice.
While each case needs to be dealt with according to its merits, our expert attorneys can provide you important help through this trying time. If you have fallen victim to an aggressive driving accident, it is important to immediately seek legal action with the help of skilled and experienced professionals who can provide every legal help and bolster your effort to get just compensation.