The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that motorists act aggressively when they ignore traffic laws in such a way that their driving endangers the lives or property of other road users. This type of behavior was a factor in most fatal crashes around the country between 2003 and 2007, according to research performed in 2009 by the American Automobile Association. The most common form of aggressive driving mentioned in the AAA study was traveling at unsafe speeds, but the researchers said that tailgating, weaving between lanes and attempting unsafe passing maneuvers were also frequent causes of fatal accidents in the period studied.
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System used by the NHTSA keeps track of fatal car accidents across the country. The information collected indicates that excessive speed remains a persistent problem for America's law enforcement agencies and road safety groups, and almost one in five deadly crashes in 2014 involved a speeding driver or motorcyclist according to the federal agency. The second and third most common factors were intoxication, which NHTSA says played a role in 12.3 percent of fatal accidents, and failure to maintain lanes, which contributed to a deadly crash 8.5 percent of the time.
According to the AAA, efforts to eliminate aggressive driving are made more difficult because the actions of drivers are rarely in keeping with their words. While 80 percent of the motorists surveyed by the organization felt that aggressive driving was a serious problem that should be clamped down on, more than half of them then went on to admit to speeding on a regular basis.
Car accident victims may pursue civil remedies when their injuries were caused by reckless behavior such as impatient, angry or frustrated driving. Negligent motorists often become contrite and apologetic following a serious accident, and the personal injury attorneys representing their victims may introduce information captured by automobile data recorders to establish that they were driving recklessly or speeding.
Source: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Aggressive Driving", accessed on Oct. 29, 2016