Any experienced Chicago car accident lawyer will tell you that aggressive driving is one of the most prevalent forms of negligence involved in auto accident lawsuits. Recently updated statistics from an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study confirm this observation. According to the study, “from 2003 through 2007, a total of 192,069 fatal (automobile) crashes occurred in the United States…55.7% involved at least one driver who was coded as having committed at least one potentially-aggressive action.” Overwhelmingly, these accidents were single-vehicle or two-vehicle crashes.
Because there is no official definite definition of aggressive driving, data on the subject is usually collected in terms of particular driving behaviors and actions that are generally assumed to be aggressive. These include speeding, failure to yield to the right of way, reckless or erratic driving, disobeying traffic signs, and improper turning, passing, or following. Other such behaviors and actions include erratic lane changing, driving off-road, and racing.
Of the fatal crashes involving a potentially aggressive action, 30.7 percent included “speeding over the limit or too fast for the conditions.” This is a significant portion of the incidences, and frankly hits on one of the most common driving experiences people have with aggressive drivers. Almost anyone with some experience driving on the highway can recall a time when changing lanes for another car was more so a matter of “this driver will ram me down if I don’t move now” as opposed to simply being conscientious of other drivers.
Even more interesting is that 78% of respondents in another AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study considered aggressive driving a “serious problem.” Nonetheless, most of these respondents also reported having driven in an aggressive manner.
It is understandable to have practical concerns, such as being on time and avoiding certain traffic conditions. Like they say, “time is money,” or more explicitly “wasted time is wasted money.” But so is an easily preventable car crash, which also comes along with nonfinancial concerns such as physical and emotional pain and suffering. Perhaps many of these respondents do not understand the consequences of aggressive driving, but their potential negligent actions can make them legally responsible should an accident occur.
If you or someone you love is injured or killed as a result of the actions of an aggressive driver, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information about your legal rights, you can contact Levin & Perconti’s team of dedicated Illinois car crash attorneys.