Road Rage Cases - Can A Lawyer Help?
What is Road Rage?
By definition road rage is aggressive, angry behaviors exhibited by the driver of a vehicle on streets or highways. These behaviors include, but are certainly not limited to offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or reckless use of a vehicle to intimidate another driver or a pedestrian. It seems to be an outpouring of frustration aimed at others using the highway system.
Perhaps it’s a sign of our times. We’re all in a hurry. Maybe we all feel as if the world and the people with whom we share the planet are conspiring to make our stressful lives even more irritating. Maybe we’ve simply forgotten the manners our mothers taught us. Whatever the reason, every year we see more and more of the dangerous behavior we have come to call Road Rage.
Road Rage is Not Just Bad MannersHowever you choose to define it, Road Rage has become a serious threat on our highways. Statistically, it’s a bigger problem than you might imagine.
This is not just young men blowing off steam, although males under the age of 20 are the ones most likely to exhibit these aggressive behaviors. It turns out that when a driver is the target of an aggressive, angry driver, even the mildest among us is apt to respond in kind. When we are honked at, or receive a one-finger-wave, we will often return the favor in spite of our better nature.
Most shockingly, about half of all road rage incidents involve a firearm and, tragically about two-thirds of all traffic fatalities can be blamed squarely on aggressive driving. Not surprisingly, then, Georgia lawmakers have taken steps to identify and provide punishment for aggressive driving.
Aggressive Driving – A Misdemeanor in Georgia
Georgia’s aggressive driving law, §40-6-397 of the Georgia Uniform Rules of the Road is written as follows:
40-6-397. Aggressive driving; penalty
(a) A person commits the offense of aggressive driving when he or she operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person, including without limitation violating Code Section 40-6-42, 40-6-48, 40-6-49, 40-6-123, 40-6-184, 40-6-312, or 40-6-390 with such intent. (These specific codes refer to passing or overtaking another vehicle; the violation of traffic lane markings; violating signal, lane change, slowing or stopping laws; following too closely; impeding traffic; reckless driving.)
(b) Any person convicted of aggressive driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
In other words, the lawmakers in our state recognize that to use a motor vehicle to threaten or intimidate another human being is very serious and totally unacceptable. This crime is punishable by a heavy fine ($5,000) and/or up to 12-months in jail and is as serious as a DUI would be.
What to do When You Are the Target of Road Rage
With the incidents of road rage on the rise, it’s prudent for all drivers to understand how to avoid the potential deadly consequences of such behavior. Whether or not you may have somehow provoked this bad behavior in the other driver, you and your passengers will be safer if you refuse to take part in the Road Rage game.
Interestingly, the way to handle an aggressive driver is very much like the best way to handle an aggressive or dangerous dog.
- Remain calm
- Avoid eye contact
- Don’t respond to his aggression in kind
- Don’t retaliate – this will cause the event to escalate
- Continue to practice defensive driving skills
If, in the end, you are injured by someone else’s road rage, understand that Georgia Law provides some relief.
Do You Have a Road Rage Claim?
Georgia’s Aggressive Driving laws are fairly new. Nevertheless, if you have been injured as the result of Road Rage behaviors, you may have recourse. Drivers who are guilty of breaking Georgia’s aggressive driving law can be held liable for damages and so, may be required by law to pay for bodily injury and property damage in addition to being convicted of a misdemeanor and any sentence(s) that crime might entail.
If you think that you have been the victim of such a crime, we recommend gathering the evidence you have; the police report, medical reports, an itemization of repair costs for your property, and making an appointment with an attorney.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
The best way to know if you have a viable claim for damages against an aggressive driver is to speak to an attorney. At the Millar Law Firm, we believe that discussing your claim with a lawyer is always a good idea. Only by reviewing the facts, evidence, and circumstances about claim can a lawyer determine whether or not your claim might be won in court. Call us today – 740-400-0000