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Colorado Sees Increase in Road Rage

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Driver shaking fist at another car

An AAA survey found that 56% of fatal crashes are the result of aggressive driving.

In 2014, more people in Colorado reported road rage incidents than any year since 2007 according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), as Jennifer Kovaleski and Alan Gathright write for ABC7 Denver. In fact, the number of incidents in Colorado has been rising this year, ABC7 writes, with more than 3,000 complaints in January and almost 5,000 in July.

ABC7 quotes Trooper Nate Reid as saying that everyone has a little bit of road rage, but that some people act on that rage, and he added:

‘People die because of this activity,’ he said. ‘You don’t know who’s in that other car and what that other person is capable of and that’s the scary thing.’

More Offenses Reported

In an article appearing in The Gazette, Associated Press (AP) writes that road rage has increasedbecause of crowded highways, construction detours and a state program urging drivers to report offenders,” according to CSP. Reid told ABC7 that the CSP program helps because it can be hard for officers to come across aggressive drivers at all times.

Authorities send a letter to any person who has exhibited road rage after three complaints have been filed against him or her, Associated Press writes. And once five complaints have been lodged, a state trooper will visit the person. If there are more than five complaints, CSP has the option of deciding to follow that driver and write a ticket if there is a violation, AP writes. CSP urges people to report aggressive drivers by calling *CSP or 277, ABC7 writes.

A 2013 survey by the AAA Foundation found that up to 56% of fatal car accidents are caused by aggressive driving, which includes going more than 15 miles over the speed limit, running a red light, tailgating, erratic lane changing, and illegal passing, as Athena Mekis writes for Automotive Fleet. The two factors most likely to cause road rage are rushing and congestion, according to AAA, Mekis notes.

By the Numbers

In the United States, more than 300 cases of road rage every year have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities, according to an AAA study, which says there are 1,200 incidents of road rage per year. Psychiatry reports that drivers exhibiting road rage tend to be overwhelmingly male (96.6%) and mostly young (with the average age being 33).

In some states, there is a legal distinction between road rage and aggressive driving, SafeMotorist writes, adding:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.”

In cases in which reckless drivers cause serious injuries or death, there can be serious penalties. According to the Denver Post, a Colorado driver was convicted of first-degree murder for causing the deaths of two motorists in 2005, and was given a mandatory sentence of two consecutive life terms.

Image by beelgin, used under its Creative Commons license


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