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Aggressive Driving and the Consequences of Violating Traffic Laws

Aggressive driving involves being angry behind the wheel. It could stem from confrontations with other drivers or other causes.  

When people drive aggressively, they will often disregard road and safety laws, and their driving behavior can become dangerous. 

What are examples of aggressive driving?

There are lots of ways in which drivers can drive aggressively. 

Examples include tailgating, cutting off other drivers, failing to make complete stops, stopping suddenly in front of another driver, engaging in offensive behavior like shouting and honking the horn repeatedly, speeding, and causing hit-and-runs.  

What are the consequences of violating traffic laws when driving aggressively?

The consequences that aggressive drivers face for their behavior on the road will depend on the specific violation and other factors.  

For example, the penalties for hit and run accidents, which involve drivers not stopping after causing a collision, vary from state to state in the U.S. 

If people suffer hit and run traumatic injuries, although the injured people can at least gain compensation, the penalties for the aggressive drivers can be more severe than in incidents where people are uninjured.  

In Chicago, the penalties for hit-and-runs involving minor or serious injuries can result in the driver facing a fine of up to $25,000 and up to three years in jail.  

In Arizona, the penalty for the same violation can result in up to twelve and a half years in prison and license revocation for five years if the incident involves a serious injury and ten years for incidents that involve death.  

Meanwhile, in Illinois, in addition to having licenses revoked, hit-and-run drivers can face prison time of up to fourteen years.  

Other traffic law violations caused by aggressive drivers have other penalties. For instance, if drivers are caught speeding over 100 mph, penalties can vary greatly from one state to another.  

The fine is no more than $500 for first-time offenders in California, while in Virginia, the fine can be up to $2,500.  

Aggressive drivers who speed over 100 mph are also more likely to face prison time for the offense in Virginia than in California. Many states, like Oregon, enforce mandatory driver license suspensions too.  

Furthermore, the precise penalties given to aggressive drivers for various road traffic violations can depend on whether the incidents are deemed to involve reckless driving or not.  

For instance, if you are seen changing lanes unsafely while carrying passengers, it will be counted as reckless driving. Typically, reckless driving is classified as a misdemeanor.  

What is classified as aggressive driving?

Classifying aggressive driving is not always simple. But, in general, for aggressive driving to be considered illegal in certain circumstances:

  • The conduct of the driver must clearly violate traffic laws.
  • The driving must be considered reckless or negligent.
  • The driving causes physical harm or property damage.
  • The driver’s conduct involves intentional actions, like swerving at another vehicle or pedestrian.  

Summing Up

If you find yourself acting aggressively behind the wheel, you should get anger management help. Driving aggressively endangers you, your passengers, other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.  

Furthermore, the consequences of violating traffic laws when driving aggressively can be severe.  

The precise consequences will depend on the specific incident and your state, but you will have to pay fines and could even end up in prison.  

The penalties you receive can increase more if you are driving with a suspended license, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or having prior criminal charges.

Featured Photo by Joshua Wordel on Unsplash