Aggressive Driving and Other Laws
Aggressive driving actions are covered by specific traffic laws, such as the laws regarding speeding, improper lane changes, and following too closely, or by general laws, such as those that target reckless driving, or specific aggressive driving statutes. It has proven challenging to arrive at a consensus for a definition of aggressive driving, and hence to come up with enforceable laws. Not every moving violation is aggressive driving. However, violations that encroach on others’ safe space, such as driving much faster than prevailing speeds, following too closely, making unsafe lane changes, and running red lights, either on one occasion or over a period of time, may indicate a pattern of aggressive driving. Although some States have passed laws criminalizing aggressive driving, it should not be confused with road rage, which is an intentional assault by a driver or passenger with a motor vehicle or a weapon that occurs on the roadway or is precipitated by an incident on the roadway.
Most existing reckless driving statutes carry relatively minor penalties and aggressive driving laws may be difficult to prosecute (Flango & Keith, 2004). Aggressive drivers, as distinct from aggressive driving, often can be identified as those who violate traffic laws repeatedly or whose violations lead to crashes producing serious injury or death. Existing statutes, including reckless driving laws, may be strengthened or aggressive driving laws may be enacted (Newman, Pfefer, Slack, Hardy, Raub, et al., 2003). Currently, there is no evidence that aggressive driving laws affect aggressive driving and related crashes.