Road rage

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Traffic congestion may be a contributing factor to driver frustration and road rage.

Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by a driver of a road vehicle, which includes rude and offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or a pedestrian in an effort to intimidate or release frustration. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions that result in serious physical injuries or even death. It can be referred to as an extreme case of aggressive driving.[1]

The term originated in the United States in 1987–1988 from anchors at KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles, California, when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the Interstate 405, 110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that examined police records nationally, there are more than 1,200 incidents of road rage on average reported per year in the United States, a number of which have ended with serious injuries or even fatalities. These rates rose yearly throughout the six years of the study.[1] A number of studies have found that individuals with road rage were predominantly young (33 years old on average) and 96.6% male.[2] In Germany, a gun-wielding truck driver was accused of firing at more than 762 vehicles and arrested in 2013, an exceptional case of road rage. According to authorities, the autobahn sniper was motivated by "annoyance and frustration with traffic."[3]

Legal status[edit]

A traffic jam in Poland

In some jurisdictions, there can be a legal difference between "road rage" and "aggressive driving." In the U.S., only a few states have enacted special aggressive driving laws, where road rage cases are normally prosecuted as assault and battery (with or without a vehicle), or "vehicular homicide."[citation needed]

The legal definition of road rage encompasses a group of behaviors expressed while driving, or stemming from traffic-related incidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when "The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property." This definition makes the distinction that aggressive driving is a traffic violation and road rage is a criminal offense.[4][5]

Effects on drivers[edit]

A learner driver practising reversing. The AA has reported that learner drivers and driving instructors are becoming targets of road rage at an increasing rate.[6]

A stressed driver’s behavior depends on that driver’s coping abilities. Generally, drivers who scored high on aggression tests used direct confrontation strategies when faced with stress while driving. Strategies include long horn honks, swerving, tailgating and attempting to fight the other driver. Many drivers who experience road rage have admitted that they believe they commit more traffic violations.[5] Driving presents many stresses any time a person is behind the wheel because of high speeds and other drivers making different decisions. As stress increases, the likelihood of a person having road rage increases dramatically, and if a person has road rage, their stress levels increase. Typically, younger males are most susceptible to road rage.[7]

According to one study, people who customize their cars with stickers and other adornments are more prone to road rage. The number of territory markers predicted road rage better than vehicle value or condition. Furthermore, only the number of bumper stickers, and not their content, predicted road rage.[8][9]

An electric road sign in Massachusetts encouraging drivers not to have any road rage.

As a medical condition[edit]

Road rage is not an official mental disorder recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), although according to an article published by the Associated Press in June 2006, the behaviors typically associated with road rage can be the result of a disorder known as intermittent explosive disorder that is recognized in the DSM. This conclusion was drawn from surveys of some 9,200 adults in the United States between 2001 and 2003 and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.[10]

Penalties[edit]

Road rage is a relatively serious act: It may be seen as an endangerment of public safety. It is, however, not always possible to judge intent by external observation, so "road ragers" who are stopped by police may be charged with other offences such as careless or reckless driving, or may be fined. Road ragers may be considered as criminals.[11][12]

Australia[edit]

In New South Wales, Australia, road rage is considered an extremely serious act. Any person who chases another motorist or shows intimidating and/or bullying towards another road user can be charged with predatory driving, a serious offence that can leave the culprit in jail for up to 5 years. Offenders can also be fined A$100,000 and disqualified from driving, whether or not he or she intended to harm the victim physically. If the predatory driving results in a physical assault or harm, and/or the victim's car was intentionally damaged, penalties can be much more severe.[citation needed]

Additionally, most common-law countries prohibit common assault, which could apply to road rage where the personal safety of the victim is seen to be threatened. The common law regards assault as both a criminal and civil matter, leading to both public criminal penalties and private civil liabilities.

Germany[edit]

Road rage, insults and rude gestures in traffic can lead to fines and even prison sentences to drivers who shout insults or make offensive gestures while driving.[13]

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, Road Rage in itself is not an offence,[14] but Drivers are usually charged with other offences committed during an act of road rage (usually assault or unlawful possession of an offensive weapon). Drivers have a legal duty to take reasonable care to avoid endangerment of human life when operating a vehicle (s 156 Crimes Act 1961); failure to discharge this duty, such as an act of aggressive driving, can give rise to liability in criminal nuisance (s 146 Crimes Act 1961). Ramming a vehicle constitutes intentional or reckless damage to property, a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment (s 269 Crimes Act 1961). New Zealand courts currently have no powers to disqualify drivers who physically assault another road user.[15]

Singapore[edit]

Road rage is a criminal offence in Singapore. When found guilty, the offender may be jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing damage.[16]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, road rage can result in criminal penalties for assault or more serious offences against the person. The Public Order Act 1986 can also apply to road rage. Sections 4A and 5 of the 1986 Act prohibit public acts likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Section 4 also prohibits threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause a victim to believe that violence will be used against himself or another.[17]

United States[edit]

In some jurisdictions, such as the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is easier to prosecute road rage as reckless driving instead of aggressive driving simply because the burden of proof does not require "intent" to successfully convict.

It is likely that those causing serious injury or death during "road rage" incidents will suffer more serious penalties than those applicable to similar outcomes from simple negligence. In April 2007, a Colorado driver was convicted of first-degree murder for causing the deaths of two motorists in November 2005.[18][19] He will serve a mandatory sentence of two consecutive life terms.

Fourteen U.S. states have passed laws against aggressive driving. Only one state, California, has turned "road rage" into a legal term of art by giving it a particular meaning.[20] In Virginia, aggressive driving is punished as a lesser crime (Class 2 misdemeanor) than reckless driving (Class 1 misdemeanor).[21]

U.S. rankings[edit]

A 2007 study of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas concluded that the cities with the least courteous drivers (most road rage) are Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. The cities with the most courteous drivers (least road rage) are Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle, and Atlanta.[22] In 2009, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul were rated the top five "Road Rage Capitals" of the United States.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Road Rage". Arizona Driving University. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  2. ^ Sansone, Randy A.; Sansone, Lori A. (July 2010). "Road Rage: What's Driving It?". Psychiatry. 7 (7): 14–18. PMC 2922361. PMID 20805914.
  3. ^ Connolly, Kate (2013-06-25). "Autobahn sniper admits more than 700 road rage shootings in Germany". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  4. ^ "DOT HS 809 707". one.nhtsa.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  5. ^ a b "What Causes Road Rage | Road Rage Defined | How to Deal with Road Rage". www.safemotorist.com. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  6. ^ [www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/news/driving-school-road-rage-idiots.html "Learner drivers targeted by road rage 'idiots'"] Check |url= value (help). The AA. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Road Rage: What It Is, How to Avoid It". WebMD. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  8. ^ Kaplan, Matt (13 June 2008). "Bumper stickers reveal link to road rage". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2008.889. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  9. ^ Szlemko, William J.; et al. (21 May 2008). "Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage". Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 38 (6): 1664–1688. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00364.x.
  10. ^ "'Road rage' gets a medical diagnosis". MSNBC. 2006-06-05. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  11. ^ "Man charged over road rage incident". ABC News. March 31, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  12. ^ "McSherrystown man charged in road-rage incident". York Dispatch. 2011-08-10. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  13. ^ Road rage, insults, rude gestures can lead to fines, prison in Germany, Robert Szostek U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal Public Affairs Office, November 24, 2009
  14. ^ Sewell, Rochelle (July 29, 2017). "Road rage: Why human behaviour changes behind the wheel". Stuff. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  15. ^ Experts, Disha. 101 Essays for IAS/ PCS & other Competitive Exams. Disha Publications. ISBN 9789386320940.
  16. ^ Chong, Elena. "Bus driver jailed one week for road rage". Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Public Order Act 1986". Statutelaw.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  18. ^ "Road-rage killer unrepentant". The Denver Post. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  19. ^ Road-rage driver offers blame at sentencing: Local News: The Rocky Mountain News Archived May 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "V.C. Section 13210 - Court-Ordered Suspension: Road Rage". Dmv.ca.gov. 2008-05-22. Archived from the original on March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  21. ^ Michael Winter (2015-02-20). "Suspect in Las Vegas road-rage killing knew victim". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  22. ^ "Road Rage Survey Reveals Best, Worst Cities". Theautochannel.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  23. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst US Cities for Road Rage". Marketingcharts.com. 2009-06-24. Retrieved 2018-04-11.

Sources[edit]

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