This past Saturday there was a 7 car chain reaction type accident on westbound I-70 that resulted in life-threatening injuries. Then, 48 hours later, a 2 car collision on westbound I-435, during rush hour, caused a major back up. While the official cause of these two collisions has not been reported, it is likely that aggressive driving was a significant factor in causing the accidents.
As Kansas City crash lawyers, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of collisions caused by aggressive driving. Frequently, people who are in a hurry tend to speed, recklessly change lanes, and attempt to pass slower or stationary traffic without using caution.
While speeding is the most common form of aggressive driving, improper or excessive lane changing, including the failure to signal intent to change lanes, is a major cause of aggressive driving, especially when traffic is congested.
Many driving safety experts feel that aggressive driving is becoming more common given the increase in societal pressures which causes people to be impatient and hurry their driving. Another factor cited is that drivers of private vehicles feel a false sense of security because they are, in most cases, anonymous when behind the wheel. For instance, aggressive driving is much more prevalent among drivers operating private vehicles as opposed to marked commercial vehicles where the driver can easily be identified through minor investigations.
It is important to distinguish aggressive driving from “road rage”. Aggressive driving is considered a traffic offense, whereas “road rage” is a criminal offense. “Road rage” is criminal because it is defined as an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) upon another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.
The criminal intent of assault is the key difference between aggressive driving and “road rage”.