April 21, 2012

Aggressive Driving Targeted by Legislation

by Levin & Perconti

Earlier today, a Chicago accident lawyer at Levin & Perconti read a news report posted on Philly.com detailing a piece of legislation that has been signed by the state of New Jersey in an effort to help curb aggressive driving. Under the new law, aggressive drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury will be subject to the same criminal penalties as drivers who cause injury-resulting accidents while driving drunk. If an aggressive driver causes an accident resulting in minor injuries – they may be subject to 18 months in prison, all the while, if the aggressor causes an accident resulting in serious harm – the penalty may carry a five year prison sentence.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys learned that this piece of legislation stems from efforts made a 16-year-old victim of aggressive driving. The young woman was traveling with a group of friends in a passenger vehicle when another motor vehicle cut them off. The driver she was traveling with became angry and attempted to chase down the other vehicle. However, the vehicle ultimately crashed into a telephone pole – resulting in the immediate paralysis of the young woman from the chest down.

As a direct result of the accident, the young woman has had to undergo over two dozen surgeries, all the while; the aggressive driver of the vehicle she was traveling in only received a four month jail sentence. Shortly thereafter, the young woman began consulting state lawmakers on harsher sentences for aggressive drivers. Although it took roughly five years to enact the legislation, the bill was ultimately passed unanimously in both houses of Congress.

Our Illinois accident attorneys learned that this aggressive driving legislation has been noted as one of the only aggressive driving law that deals with road rage through an assault-by-auto statute. Currently, only eleven states nationwide have separate aggressive-driving statutes. In a statement released by the Governor of New Jersey, it was revealed that road rage has continued to be a huge problem in their state – largely because it is a densely populated state where roadways are often crowded and residents are known for their aggressive attitudes.

Although the state of Illinois does not maintain a specific statute on aggressive driving, aggressive driving actions are charged under Illinois’ reckless driving statutes. Penalties resulting from violation of reckless driving statutes include, but are not limited to: monetary fines, prison time, mandated aggressive driving education, suspension of license, as well as, revocation of license.

Each Chicago car accident attorney at Levin & Perconti urges readers to operate their motor vehicles with the utmost safety. It is important to avoid any and all conflict on our busy Chicago streets and Illinois roadways in order to ensure the safety of you, your