National Aggressive Driving Action Guide
Recommendations for the Six Areas
Participants at the Aggressive Driving and the Law: A Symposium
declared aggressive driving to be primarily a State issue, not a Federal one.
The Implementation Team therefore developed a model that State legislatures and
agencies can use to create or strengthen their own aggressive or reckless
driving laws. Most existing reckless driving statutes are difficult to prosecute
and carry only minor sanctions. Statutes should be amended to include
appropriate punishment to communicate the gravity of the offense, especially
when serious injury or death results. Also, State legislators must evaluate the
new technologies being developed for recording dangerous and aggressive driving
conduct for later use in prosecuting the driver. The model statute and other
recommended strategies are listed below.
Strengthen existing statutes to include stricter penalties. Repeat offenders should receive enhanced punishment, including increased
points, loss of license, higher fines, and jail sentences or probation.
- Establish comprehensive education programs that address aggressive
driving and include them as part of legislative changes. At a
minimum, include aggressive driving education in public and private driver
education programs. States should also consider anger management education
as a supplement to other sanctions when making legislative changes.
Develop statutes that match the severity of the offense to its punishment
to send a clear message that aggressive driving is a serious offense.
Assess significant "points" on an offender's driving record for
Include suspension or revocation of driving privileges as part of any
proposed statute, for they are effective deterrents.
- Address aggressive driving that results in death or serious injury as a
felony. Add enhanced penalties to existing reckless driving laws and
new statutes, defining "serious injury" according to State laws.
Felony offenses require that one of the elements of the statute reference
the required mental state of the driver (i.e., wanton or willful disregard
for consequences) to meet constitutional muster.
- Provide State and Federal assistance to law enforcement agencies to help
defray costs and provide support for retraining in new reckless driving (or
aggressive driving) statutes.
- Provide enhanced training for identifying, recording, arresting, and
prosecuting the aggressive driver.
- Develop a workshop to encourage law enforcement to target moving
hazardous violations, particularly those commonly associated with
aggressive driving behavior, and to recruit trainers to deliver this
- Encourage use of Federal highway safety funds administered by the
States for aggressive driving countermeasure training.
- Encourage statutes that permit in-court and out-of-court use of new
technology in traffic-related cases.
- Use technology to gather evidence of aggressive or reckless driving,
showing a clear violation of the appropriate statute. Obtain legislative
authority for sharing this information nationwide, and evaluate
- Adopt the Model Statute developed by the Implementation Team to enact or
improve States' reckless driving statutes, including aggressive driving
under "Reckless Driving: Aggravated Reckless Driving."6 The
model is as follows:
- A person who operates any motor vehicle with a willful or wanton
disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of
reckless driving. "Willful or wanton" means the deliberate,
conscious indifference to the safety of persons or property. Proof of
evil or malicious intent is not an element of reckless driving.
- Upon the trial of any civil or criminal action or proceeding stemming
from acts alleged to have been committed by any person operating a motor
vehicle, proof that in the course of a continuous driving episode, such
person committed three moving violations, either alone or in combination
with one another, shall give rise to an inference that the vehicle was
being operated with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of
persons or property. Such inference shall not be conclusive, but shall
be considered along with all other evidence in determining whether a
violation occurred (see sidebar below).
- All persons convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor, except as provided under subsection (d), which follows.
- All persons convicted of committing a violation of subsection (a) above shall
be guilty of aggravated reckless driving if the violation results in injury or
permanent disability or disfigurement of another person. Aggravated reckless
driving is a felony.
If you find (beyond a reasonable doubt) that at the time the defendant drove
the automobile in a continuous driving episode he/she committed three or more
violations of the following statutes (insert names of violations) either alone
or in combination with one another, you may infer that the defendant operated
the vehicle with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or
property. You are never required to make this inference. It is for the jury to
determine if the inference is to be drawn. You should consider all of the
evidence in determining whether the defendant drove the motor vehicle with a
willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Note: Some States have a strongly divided opinion as to whether the
predicative facts for the inference must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Other States may have a clearer line of decision. Therefore, it will be
incumbent on the prosecutor, if relying on the inference, to identify the
offenses to be used. These suggested instructions should be followed by
"definitional" instructions for the predicate offenses.
"Issue" instructions may not be necessary. The terms
"definitional" and "issue" are used advisedly.
Better enforcement of aggressive driving violations is central to heightening
awareness of the problem and changing people's behavior on the roads. Aggressive
driving and enforcement of related laws should be a priority for all those
involved, including law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary, elected
officials, governing authorities, transportation officials, traffic safety
organizations, technology developers, automobile manufacturers, vehicle makers,
motorists, motorists0 associations, and
educators. Citizen "tip" lines, multi-jurisdictional enforcement
efforts, and partnerships with disciplines outside of law enforcement are other
smart enforcement strategies that will greatly aid the anti-aggressive driving
movement. Recommendations in this section also call for greater use of new
technologies being developed to aid the enforcement effort. (While integral to
the enforcement effort, technology-related recommendations are covered more
thoroughly in the next section, "Applied Technology.")
Law enforcement agencies, transportation officials, state highway safety
representatives, traffic safety advocates, technology developers, automobile
Establish and publicize additional numbers or other contact sources so the
public can report past events, ask questions, or seek follow-up action.
Because many 911 systems are overburdened, agencies should consider
establishing a separate number (e.g., #77, 311). Citizens also may be asked to
report unsafe driving incidents through means other than phone, such as a
letter, e-mail, websites, forms, etc. These alternatives would help prevent
overload of the primary number.
- Improve recognition of the aggressive driving problem among all people
the general public to the judiciary to automakers - by encouraging public
awareness, support for enforcement efforts, increased funding, development
of improved technology, innovative enforcement practices, pertinent
training, establishment of applicable laws, increased penalties for
violators, better equipment, and development of long-term strategies.
- Explore innovative funding mechanisms for aggressive driving programs,
equipment, and training. Funding should extend beyond law
enforcement agencies to other government entities in the traffic safety
arena. These grants should encourage multi-disciplinary approaches and
provide for the eventual establishment of self-sustaining efforts.
- Expand the use of law enforcement observation platforms (i.e., aircraft,
in-car video, and other equipment) that aid in apprehending and prosecuting
traffic violators who would otherwise be difficult to convict.
Devise methods of bringing information about the various observation
platforms to the public to increase its support.
- Provide information about successful uses of the equipment to media
- Compile statistics from jurisdictions that have successfully used
these options to demonstrate their benefits.
- Establish education and training programs to communicate the benefits of
in-car video equipment to law enforcement agencies and to instruct law
enforcement officers in using the equipment to its best advantage when
presenting video evidence. Devise practical solutions and funding
for maintaining the equipment and storing the evidence so that its use will
- Increase use of automated enforcement technologies, such as red-light
cameras and photo speed enforcement, to extend law enforcement capabilities
and improve traffic safety. Explore the use of variable speed limit
signs and strategies to encourage compliance. Promote expanded use and
sharing among law enforcement agencies of these and other technologies
(e.g., photo radar, distance measuring devices, unstaffed radar speed
measuring and display devices, cameras for grade-level crossings) to improve
traffic safety (see "Applied Technology," #1-4).
- Determine the feasibility of adopting laser speed-measuring equipment
currently in use in Europe and Canada for measuring distance between
vehicles. Determine the cost of implementing and using this
equipment, including training and maintenance costs, and whether it meets
the Nation's safety and scientific standards or would require additional
studies. Investigate funding sources and determine responsibility, whether
Federal, State, or local government (see "Applied Technology,"
- Increase the use of and consider means of funding computer technology in
patrol cars to give officers access to driver's license histories and to a
database listing of previous vehicle stops (see "Applied
- Establish "tip" lines for citizens' use in reporting dangerous
drivers, such as aggressive, unsafe, and impaired drivers, to a law
enforcement agency (e.g., #77, 366-TIOS, *47, etc.).7
- Include information on safe cellular telephone usage in the
"tip" line marketing materials, to lesson distraction on the part
of drivers reporting these dangers.8 Published criteria for "tip"
lines should contain a clear definition of the violations and/or conditions
for using them, and address the need for a common set of terms and behaviors
that the public, law enforcement, media, courts, and others interested in
traffic safety will easily understand and accept.
- Encourage establishment of one standardized number for reporting
dangerous drivers on roads and highways.
- Establish consistent procedures within law enforcement agencies for
accepting and responding to these types of calls. These procedures could
- Broadcasting a lookout to officers working in the area where the
incident is taking place, or passing the information along to nearby
jurisdictions through which the aggressive driver may be traveling.
- Assigning an officer to meet or talk with the reporting party and,
depending upon the seriousness of the incident, conducting a follow-up
investigation to identify the suspect and levy charges.
- Maintaining a record of the incident so that information is on file in
case other people report the offender within a specified time period. Some
agencies may want to have the information available should the reported
offender be stopped in the future. Also, some agencies may maintain
"hot sheets" on drivers who have repeatedly been reported for
unsafe driving behaviors.
- Identifying vehicles reported as engaging in dangerous behavior to the
registered owner, if not the driver.
- Allocating resources to handle these calls and subsequent agency
Participate in multi-jurisdictional enforcement efforts between agencies.9
Multi-agency, cooperative, and coordinated program efforts provide more
efficient and effective enforcement, education, and awareness strategies.
Raise awareness among the public by increasing media interest in aggressive
driving and law enforcement efforts; sharing successful practices, policies,
training, equipment, experiences, and data collection; and facilitating the
sharing of regional markets for paid, earned, and donated media exposure.
- Elicit support from State and local officials for publicizing the
number(s) that drivers can use to report violators to law enforcement
personnel (consider signs along the roadway, State road maps, variable
message boards, media market, informational brochures, driver training and
- Clearly identify the violations and/or other circumstances under which
motorists should call the number(s) - to prevent misuse or overloading of
Partner with disciplines outside of law enforcement. Seek the
participation of experts in traffic engineering, transportation safety, injury
prevention, mental health, public information, and data and trend analysis and
Educate the public about situations that constitute and precipitate
aggressive driving behavior and the differences between aggressive driving and
road rage. This awareness approach may encourage voluntary changes in
Encourage transportation officials, law enforcement, traffic safety groups,
injury (and illness) prevention practitioners, and mental health providers to
work together to validate the causes and effects of aggressive driving
behaviors. Once the causes and effects of aggressive driving behavior
are determined, agencies will be able to better direct enforcement and
educational efforts at reducing related problems. This effort should include
providing information to the public, transportation officials, the judiciary,
traffic safety organizations, law enforcement, business leaders, and others on
the following points:
- The acts that constitute aggressive driving and road rage.
- Consequences of these acts (civil, criminal, and administrative
penalties; increased health problems; reduced quality of life; increased
insurance rates; contribution to additional highway congestion because of
crashes; reduced employee productivity; increased use of sick and injury
- How to avoid involvement in aggressive acts with others.
- How to avoid becoming an aggressor.
- Resources available (cellular numbers to report aggressive acts, stress
management assistance, alternate forms of transportation, public and private
efforts to improve traffic safety, etc.).
Increasing the use of applied technologies, particularly those related to
improving traffic safety and enforcement, can give a big boost to prosecutors
and law enforcement officers in the field by helping to identify and prosecute
aggressive driving offenders. The Implementation Team encourages expanded use of
in-car video and photo red-light cameras, speed measuring devices, and other
automated enforcement technologies to improve apprehension and prosecution of
aggressive drivers. In addition, system-wide technologies for automated
electronic reporting and linking of data among disciplines will facilitate
better communication among law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges, and ensure
more efficient processing of aggressive driving cases. Other recommended
technologies, such as message boards on the roadside, require the support of
State transportation officials and State and local law enforcement. Nearly all
recommendations in this category have related training and funding requirements.
State and local officials, state highway safety offices, criminal justice
practitioners, highway safety advocacy groups, and private industry.
- Promote the wider use of in-car video, automated speed, and photo
red-light enforcement cameras to record and document driving behaviors and
personal driver behaviors. In-car video cameras provide additional
evidence and enhance the ability to prosecute crimes.10 The use of cameras
will reduce aggressive driving, promote public confidence, and improve
- Encourage adoption of legislation that would allow the use of this
technology and the issuance of violation notices (with protections for
innocent persons), with fines rather than just warnings.
- Request supplemental funding by the Federal Government in the form of
grants to States and localities to purchase these devices.
- Determine the best practice for using this technology for enforcement
activities as well as for evidence in court.11
- Establish education and training programs for law enforcement
agencies so they can appreciate the benefits of the equipment and
determine its program and management value to the agency.
- Provide equipment usage and video guidelines and training to law
- Devise practical solutions for maintaining the equipment provided to
law enforcement agencies, so that it will not be abandoned if a problem
- Determine the costs for such equipment and investigate possible
funding sources for it.
- Investigate the feasibility of adopting laser speed-measuring equipment
with the new option of measuring distance between vehicles, a technology
used in Europe and Canada. Before adding such options, however,
agencies must ensure that the added feature does not jeopardize the
reliability of the speed-measuring equipment as normally used.
- Determine which equipment is available for use in the United States.
Discover from manufacturers whether the equipment can be of practical
use on our roads and in our cities, giving particular consideration to
the structure of our interstate and highway system and the volume of
- Elicit from manufacturers any special requirements or prerequisites
that must be fulfilled before the equipment can be used (e.g., Does it
only work on roadways made of certain materials? Does it only work in
high traffic or low traffic?, etc.)
- Determine the cost of purchasing and using the equipment, including
operator and maintenance costs.
- Determine funding sources and whether funding should be the
responsibility of Federal, State, or local government.
- Investigate the reliability of the equipment, particularly whether it
meets the Nation's safety and scientific standards, whether it must be
periodically tested or examined, and whether studies have been done or
can be done to determine its accuracy.
- Promote the wider use of unstaffed radar speed display devices.
Local authorities should decide if the device is to be used for deterrent or
warning purposes, or as an enforcement tool.
- Determine the reliability of such devices and their maintenance
- Create a media press kit to help raise public awareness of the
devices and their intended use.
- Determine cost of the devices and methods for financing their use.
- Explore the use of variable speed limit signs and consider strategies to
encourage compliance, such as educating the public about their purpose and
- Establish data links (automated/electronic reporting) from traffic
officers' reports and ticket-writing functions to prosecutors' offices, and
otherwise facilitate better communications among professionals from
- Establish guidelines that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies can
use to achieve shared automated reporting.
- Explore availability of software and technology for establishing a
database between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors' offices.
- Determine funding sources to support all costs associated with automated
reporting (e.g., grants, violator's fees, etc.).
- Establish criteria for cases to be subjected to automated reporting
(e.g., whether only felonies, misdemeanors and felonies, serious traffic
offenses, all investigations, etc.). This effort will help prevent clogging
the system with reports outside the jurisdiction of prosecutors' offices.
- Determine computer equipment needs for all elements of the system to
ensure that technology is available to make the process work (e.g., within
law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, pre- and/or post-trial
components, licensing divisions, etc.).
- Establish guidelines to govern training and information exchanges between
law enforcement agencies and prosecutors' offices, so they can take
advantage of such technology.
- Investigate whether electronic reporting can benefit law enforcement
agencies by meeting several needs simultaneously. For example, can officers
use electronic reporting to file required reports with their departments,
prosecutors' offices, and State agencies?
- Adopt crash reconstruction software.
- Encourage crash reconstructionists, law enforcement agencies, and
prosecutors to access the National Traffic Law Center's website (http://www.ndaa-apri.org/apri/NTLC/Index.htm) for
information to help them with specific cases or questions. The National
Traffic Law Center's clearinghouse should include case law, legislation,
research studies, and trial documents.
- Solicit assistance from nationally recognized experts in the field of
crash reconstruction to create a database containing more substantive
information on driving behaviors commonly associated with aggressive
- Advocate for proper training before such material is used to help ensure
positive results. Auto Cad and Auto Sketch are two software programs used in
conjunction with the Total Station. The National Association of Accident
Reconstruction publishes a quarterly journal that provides training dates
for using crash reconstruction software.
- Increase the use of computer technology in patrol cars to give officers
access to driver's license histories and to a database listing of previous
- Obtain legislative authority for sharing this information nationwide.
- Obtain funding for this significant project, providing for establishment
of a central database (such as National Crime Information Center) and/or the
successful coordination of existing ones (on State and regional levels);
staffing to maintain the database and handle increased workloads within
participating agencies (law enforcement, judicial, and/or transportation);
and procurement of technology and equipment (compatible nationwide) and any
necessary training for system operators and users.
- Conduct public awareness activities to demonstrate the validity and
necessity of collecting and sharing this information for public safety
purposes. Such efforts may both deter habitual traffic offenders and reduce
concerns related to intrusive Government ("big brother")
- Use variable message signing to advise and communicate with the motoring
public about traffic congestion, delays, crashes, and so on, providing
detour and alternate route information. Message boards are an
extremely important communications strategy, as traffic congestion and
resulting delays are considered a primary cause of aggressive driving and
road rage.12 Prompt implementation of these boards and timely updates of
travel information are essential to create public confidence in their
- Gain transportation officials' support for using these signs,
including both permanently installed signs in areas where traffic
congestion can be a problem, and temporary boards, which could be set up
for major incidents (crashes, hazardous materials spills, etc.) or used
for pre-planned events (construction projects, new traffic patterns,
- Obtain funding for more signs and greater usage of these signs,
particularly along high-use roads.
- Increase staff to ensure messages are promptly displayed and updated.
- Gain approval to use these signs to reinforce positive driving
behavior when they are not otherwise needed.
- Encourage communities to take advantage of computer-based distance
learning and other alternatives, particularly in light of diminished
school-based driver education programs.
- Promote efforts aimed at strengthening driver education by establishing
criteria for schools to include in driver education or health and safety
- Include computer-based distance learning as part of the curriculum in
driver education and/or school health and safety classes, and as part of
professional driving school curriculum certification programs.
- Coordinate with State agencies to include computer-based distance
learning in the written portion of their driver examination.
- Promote Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology, particularly
for its congestion relief benefits.
- Explore all technological options for mitigating traffic congestion,
given the serious driving dangers it poses.
- Explore the effectiveness of promoting ITS in jurisdictions currently using
ITS technology, and use these jurisdictions as models for a national program.
Examine statistics in these jurisdictions to determine whether such ITS
technologies helped to reduce traffic crashes and violations (see box for
What is ITS?
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a program of the U.S. Department
of Transportation designed to foster the development of advanced technologies to
improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system on many levels.
The application of ITS technologies inside vehicles and as part of the
transportation infrastructure is intended to ameliorate congestion, enhance
safety and energy performance, improve productivity, and mitigate the
environmental impacts of operating transportation systems.
A major recommendation in this category is to make aggressive driving a
crime, chargeable as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on conditions.
Again, the call is to elicit the support and assistance of all involved parties,
including State legislators, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, the
judiciary, traffic safety advocates, and others. Citizen activist groups should
make their concern for increased aggressive driving enforcement and prosecution
known to legislators and local criminal justice authorities. Criminal justice
advocates should work toward making reckless/aggressive driving a crime, and
State legislatures should enable legislation properly establishing it as such.
As in other areas, the Implementation Team recommends organizing a public
relations campaign to raise the profile of aggressive driving violations and to
elevate the issue to become a higher priority among law enforcement,
prosecutors, and judges.
State legislatures, highway traffic safety advocates, prosecutors, judicial
branch, law enforcement, clerks of courts, Department of Motor Vehicle
executives, citizen activist organizations, State judicial educators, State
prosecutor coordinators, State law enforcement academies, the National Judicial
College, the National Conference of Special Court Judges, the American Judges
Association, the National District Attorney Association, International
Association of State Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training,
International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’
Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and
the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association.
- Criminalize aggressive driving behavior through reckless driving
statutes. Civil infraction offenses have little deterrent effect and
should not be used for aggressive driving offenses.
- Develop a constitutionally sound model statute. Actively engage with
States that are taking a proactive approach to aggressive driving. Use
States with criminalized aggressive driving laws as models for States
who have none.
- Compile reckless driving statutes of all 50 States, to assist in
drafting model legislation.
- Use uniform traffic citations with uniform statewide statutory
- Rename the offense as reckless/aggressive driving and/or aggravated
- Seek the support and assistance of State legislators in enhancing
statutes, and of highway traffic safety advocates, prosecutors, and law
enforcement agencies, in supporting the legislation.
- Educate State legislatures on the seriousness of the aggressive
driving problem and help them understand that a civil infraction with
ticket payout has little deterrent effect on the driving behavior of the
- Give the investigating officer a sufficiently broad number of
charging options for use at his or her discretion.
- Develop written guidelines and training for prosecutors and law
enforcement to use in making charging decisions. An aggressive
driving offense should not be reducible to a lesser charge.
- Discourage pre-trial intervention and diversion programs and develop
clear and succinct guidelines emphasizing that the seriousness of the
offense requires intervention by a judge. "Payout" schemes, in
addition to providing no deterrent effect, allow many serious driving
offenders to escape judicial review and discretionary sanctions by the
judge because of perfunctory handling.
- Ensure that law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts administer the
reckless/aggressive driving offense in a fair and just manner, and in a
way that creates a deterrent effect.
- Educate appropriate individuals in the criminal justice process as to
proper charging decisions. Law enforcement should provide detailed
information to all relevant entities within the criminal justice system. All
offenses should be cited and prosecuted.
- Stress to law enforcement personnel that accurate information is a
vital part of the criminal justice process.
- Recognize that the court requires detailed information to assign
informed and appropriate sanctions.
- Accomplish heightened awareness of the aggressive driving issue through
professional education of law enforcement, prosecution, and judges.
- Develop a model curriculum to be presented through State and national
training academies to respective audiences.
- Uniformly train the trainers who will present the curriculum to their
- Develop public education processes that will deter aggressive driving
- Amplify within the curriculum the importance of not trivializing
administration of reckless/aggressive driving offenses.
- Initiate a local public relations campaign to emphasize to the general
population that traffic court is a forum of lawful authority that should not
be viewed as a lesser court. Aggressive driving and impaired driving
are serious violations.
- Elevate reckless/aggressive driving to a high priority among law enforcement,
prosecutors, and judges. Prosecuting attorney staffs should have a
designated traffic law specialist, and experienced prosecutors should rotate
through traffic court assignment. Additionally, experienced traffic court
prosecutors should handle or closely supervise serious driving offenders to
ensure that offenders do not avoid stern consequences for their behavior.
Working hand in hand with Statutory Strategies and Charging Decisions, this
section echoes several of the recommendations made in those topic areas,
especially the importance of criminal sanctions for aggressive driving
violations. The Implementation Team recommends providing judges and prosecutors
with a range of sentencing options, including license suspension or revocation,
probation, and payment of restitution. Civil penalties have proven to be
ineffective deterrents and provide less flexibility and control to the
sentencing authority. Aggressive driving defendants must receive due process,
and legislation should accomplish sentencing objectives without being overly
intrusive or costly to society.
State judicial educators, State law enforcement academies, State prosecutor
coordinators, State departments of motor vehicles, State Clerks of Court, State
or local pre- and post-trial offices, the National Association of State Judicial
Educators, the National Judicial College, the National Conference of Special
Court Judges, the American Judges Association, the National District Attorneys
Association, the International Association of State Directors of Law Enforcement
Standards and Training, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the
National Sheriffs' Association, the National Organization of Black Law
Enforcement Executives, and the Hispanic American Police Command Officers
- Enact a broad range of criminal sanctions that will provide greater
flexibility and control to the sentencing authority.
- Strive to accomplish with aggressive driving sentencing as many of the
traditionally accepted objectives of sentencing as possible,
including deterrence (both individual and community), rehabilitation,
education, punishment, restitution, and recouping of costs (both court and
- Accord defendants "due process" at the sentencing stage as an
integral part of any sentencing strategy.14
- Provide for specific levels or degrees of severity in the penalty
provisions of aggressive driving statutes, depending on the nature of the
offenses and whether there were aggravating circumstances.
- Consider the following options when sentencing aggressive driving
- Supervision through an independent monitoring entity (e.g., probation
department). Although this alternative is better than judge-supervised
probation, probation costs less.
- Driver license suspension and/or revocation, with a probation
condition that the defendant not operate a motor vehicle during the
period of suspension or revocation.
- Driver license restriction, including restriction for essential
driving purposes only, such as for driving to and from work.
- Imposition of fines, both mandatory and discretionary, including the
option of making such fines payable through community service–for
individuals unable to afford the fine imposed.
- Completion of court-approved driver improvement programs or courses.
- Completion of anger management programs that emphasize behavior
- Vehicle impoundment for a specified time period.
- Vehicle forfeiture in aggravated cases, such as those involving
- Imposition of incarceration penalties, including sentences that are
deferred, withheld, or suspended, according to satisfactory completion
of specified probation conditions.
- Payment of restitution to victim(s) of an aggressive driving incident
that resulted in personal injury or property damage.
- Requirement that defendant write a letter of apology to any victim(s)
or to law enforcement or to the public in general. This requirement can
include sending the letters to local newspaper editors.
- Participation in drug, alcohol, or substance abuse programs where
such a problem was appropriately diagnosed through a professional
evaluation, and the act of aggressive driving was committed while under
- Requirement that defendants affix bumper stickers to their vehicles
to alert law enforcement and the community at large of a prior
aggressive driving conviction.
- Include in criminal sanction statutes administrative license suspension
or revocation. Statutory provisions should provide for the immediate
seizure of an offender's license when an aggressive driving citation has
been issued in connection with a crash in which someone was injured or the
offender was impaired.
- Make use of probationary status and strive to accomplish the two
objectives delineated in the decision of People v. Mason 488 P. 2d 630, 632
(Cal. 1971). Probation should impose penalties, sanctions, and
conditions related to the offense for which the defendant was convicted, and
require or forbid conduct reasonably related to preventing the charged
offense from recurring.
- Strive to accomplish through legislation the greatest number of
sentencing objectives with the least intrusion and cost to society.
The branches of government concerned with aggressive driving should
collaborate in support of effective sentencing strategies.15
- Provide trials for aggressive driving offenders who fail to appear for trial
after notice (in absentia trials).
Community support and partnerships are necessary to increase awareness of the
risks of aggressive driving. Community outreach, whether through a "Safe
Communities" program, a community policing effort, a church or school, or
through organizations such as Kiwanis or Jaycees, can put a "human
face" on the aggressive driving problem. Inviting victims to share their
experiences as part of community outreach initiatives is a good way to change
people's attitudes toward aggressive driving, for victims demonstrate the human
consequences of traffic-related recklessness that causes injury and suffering.
Soon-to-be drivers and commercial drivers are often overlooked constituencies in
receiving the aggressive driving message. Developing partnerships within the
community helps get the message out that aggressive driving is a safety threat
to all citizens. Partnerships should include all levels of elected and other
government officials as well as business leaders and community organizations.
These alliances should be part of a comprehensive program to address the
aggressive driving problem.
Community leaders, law enforcement personnel, business leaders, government
officials, Boards of Education.
- Include aggressive driving as part of established community programs.
For example, "Safe Community" leaders can incorporate aggressive
driving into their programs and law enforcement agencies involved in
community policing can include aggressive driving and other safety topics in
their outreach. Business leaders can post messages about the consequences of
aggressive driving on bulletin boards, in employee newsletters, in
storefront windows, and other highly visible locations. They can also
partner with government officials to devise means of getting the message
out, perhaps through organized community events.
- Use professional and government alliances to influence decisions
surrounding aggressive driving. Generally, government officials are
thought to be community leaders. They can lend support in their official
capacities, through their professional organizations, and as private
citizens. Community leaders can influence executive decisions to make
enforcement, prosecution, and adjudication of aggressive drivers a priority.
Law enforcement agencies have an excellent opportunity to interact with the
community in their community policing outreach efforts. Government
organizations, businesses, and community groups can demonstrate their
support for the enforcement and adjudication of traffic laws and send this
message through words and actions to the citizens and to the criminal
- Increase awareness of the aggressive driving problem through the actions of
community leaders, law enforcement administrators, prosecutors, and judges.
Not only can they educate their constituents about the aggressive driving
problem, but they can influence their peers as well. Frequently, law enforcement
officers, prosecutors, and judges are invited to make presentations at various
civic group meetings. These presentations could focus on the risks of aggressive
driving and what can be done to keep aggressive driving from occurring.
- The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and
Ordinances has also developed a "model" statute.
- The Cellular Telephone Industry of America (CTIA) does not
support the use of any toll-free or singular cellular number other than 911
for reporting highway hazards or dangerous driving. This option may work in
communities with established 911 systems, but many rural areas do not have
local 911 systems. Some cellular carriers provide a distinct number for
motorists to summon assistance, but these numbers vary across jurisdictions,
and callers may incur a charge, especially when outside their local calling
areas. States, in cooperation with the cellular carriers in their areas,
decide how they want motorists to call and report these unsafe driving
behaviors. At least 29 States have special numbers for reporting impaired,
aggressive, or unsafe driving. Typically posted along roadways and
advertised as part of awareness programs, many of these special numbers have
been in operation for years and are well received and used. Because many 911
systems are overwhelmed by the large number of callers reporting driving
behaviors, a way to divert these calls is generally preferred. This approach
would not eliminate 911 as the universal emergency number, but would provide
alternatives. The cellular industry should partner with law enforcement and
traffic safety advocates to coordinate the designation of one toll-free
cellular number that motorists nationwide can use to obtain help for
hazardous conditions, dangerous drivers, and other emergencies. Absent this
effort, it is recommended that all cellular carriers designate a specific
number for this purpose.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that
drivers always exercise caution when using cellular telephones (e.g., use
hands-free devices if possible, have a passenger make the call, pull off the
road to a safe location before placing the call, etc.).
- NHTSA, State, and experienced practitioners should
provide technical assistance to jurisdictions interested in developing
multi-agency approaches to aggressive driving. Agencies that need funds or
materials are encouraged to coordinate with their State Highway Safety
Office for assistance. Funds would help carry out strategic operations
planning; public awareness campaigns; regional and cross-disciplinary
training workshops; and acquisition of shared technology and equipment.
- All other suggested uses of cameras (besides
in-car video) are of secondary importance.
- Although this technology is in use throughout the world, agencies should be
sure they know the accuracy of the equipment and whether it is subject to
manipulation. The agency should know equipment standards, have policies and
procedures for equipment operation and maintenance, and have chain of evidence
established for storing videos. The agency should also be prepared to assure
the public that the equipment is accurate and free from manipulation, to
instill confidence in its use.
- Coordination among law enforcement, transportation
personnel (including those performing pre-planned or emergency roadway
repairs), fire and rescue agencies, and those responsible for placing
and revising information on these boards is crucial.
- Law enforcement agencies can include an identifier box
on the uniform traffic citation to inform prosecutors that the charged
offense was identified as an aggressive driving behavior.
- According defendants "due process" in
criminal cases applies at all "critical stages" of criminal
proceedings. The sentencing portion of a criminal proceeding is a
critical stage and entitles a defendant to be represented by counsel.
Gardner v. Fla. 430 U.S. 349, 358; 97 S.Ct.1197, 51 L.Ed. 2d 393, 402
(1977). Defendants who are indigent and face the possibility of
incarceration have the right to court-appointed counsel at the critical
stage of sentencing. "Due process" requirements in criminal
sentencing proceedings necessarily cause them to be more protracted and
more costly than the penalty stages in civil infraction cases.
- Legislative bodies must be willing to provide judges
with sentencing discretion and with flexibility through probation to
exercise it. Implementing effective sentencing strategies will depend on
the willingness of judges to effectively and independently exercise
their discretion in using the sanctions available to them, and on the
willingness of legislatures to provide the judiciary with the necessary
judicial personnel and facilities to carry outsentencing of aggressive
to Conclusion |
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