The Real Cost of Aggressive Driving

Driving can be a very enjoyable activity. You get out on the open road, and put the windows down to get a fresh breeze while singing along to your favorite music. It’s relaxing – however, when you wind up doing a lot of driving, you begin to encounter people making vehicle maneuvers that should be reserved for Hollywood stunt drivers. The combination of poor driving skills and people being more impatient than ever to get where they’re going is taking a toll on everyone who takes to the roadways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving describes dangerous on-the-road behavior that includes following too closely, speeding, weaving through traffic, and running stop lights and signs. This behavior can escalate to use of angry gestures, yelling at another motorist, engaging in confrontation, physical assault, and even wrongful death. This form of aggressive driving becomes labeled as “road rage.” Driving aggressively has the propensity to cause car accidents and significant personal injury to other drivers on the roadways.

Under North Carolina law, aggressive driving is a crime punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This offense is more serious than being charged with reckless driving. The statute provides that aggressive driving occurs when “driving a motor vehicle on a street, highway, or public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in a willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others.”

While there are clearly many actions that can be considered aggressive driving, proof in North Carolina only requires that in addition to a speeding violation, you show that the driver also committed two of the following offenses:

  • Running a red light
  • Running through a stop sign
  • Passing illegally
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Following too closely

Stunning fatality statistics

Just take a ride down I-85 or I-77 during any time of the day and you experience speeding, erratic lane changes, drivers failing to signal, and even cars or motorcycles racing one another. As of 2017, the Insurance Information Institute reported fatalities for numerous aggressive driving behaviors such as:

  • Speeding or racing – 8,856 deaths
  • Failure to keep in proper lane – 3,826 deaths
  • Careless driving – 2,961 deaths
  • Failure to obey traffic signs, signals, or officer – 2,095 deaths
  • Negligent driving – 1,996 deaths

Aggressive driving represents almost 38% of the total number of vehicle fatalities for 2017. This doesn’t include the number of accident-related injuries, which can leave someone with anything from simple vehicle damage to suffering a catastrophic injury, such as head trauma that could leave a driver in a comatose state, or a spinal cord injury that might mean a lifetime of paralysis.

Beyond the human cost of these avoidable accidents, the insurance cost is astronomical. It is estimated that speeding accidents alone cost insurance companies $40 billion per year. This translates into drivers being charged higher insurance premiums each year to allow the insurers to recoup their losses. In the end, we all pay for aggressive driving.

Compensation for your injuries

When someone is hurt due to the negligence of someone else, there may be expenses the injured person is entitled to recover. The injured party may also receive additional compensation for something known as non-economic damages. The compensation that a victim may receive includes:

  • All past and future medical expenses related to the accident
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering from the accident
  • Emotional distress
  • Repair or replacement cost of the victim’s vehicle
  • Coverage for a rental car during the repair or replacement period
  • Punitive damages for particularly egregious behavior by the at-fault driver

The harmful consequences of aggressive driving are completely avoidable. This negligent behavior causes everything from property damage to death. If you have been a victim of aggressive driving, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered.

To learn about your legal rights after suffering injuries in a car accident, speak with the attorneys at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC. To schedule your free consultation in our Charlotte office, call 704-275-5593 or reach out to us through our contact form.





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