The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) is just one agency working hard to cut down on behavior that continues to lead to roadway fatalities. That behavior — aggressive driving — involves a range of behaviors that make driving dangerous for both the driver and others on the road.
What Is Considered Aggressive Driving?
You may not be aware that speeding is one of the most common acts of aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), defines aggressive driving as “committing a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
Other behaviors that are also categorized as aggressive driving include:
- Running red lights
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Improper passing
In addition, the American Automobile Association (AAA) includes road rage, failure to observe signs, and racing among the many expressions of aggressive driving. AAA notes:
Speeding is one of the most prevalent aggressive behaviors. The AAA Foundation studies show that speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes.
The GHSA agrees. Although there’s been tremendous progress in driving safety, such as an increase in seat belt usage and fewer drunk driving deaths, the GHSA says speeding continues to be a contributing factor in roadway fatalities. In fact, in 2015, 9,536 people died in speeding-related car accidents, which was 27 percent of all fatalities.
Research shows that teenagers were more likely than any other age group to drive aggressively. Researchers believe this age group is more prone to aggressive driving behavior because the young brain is not wired for impulse control. Researchers say the ability to control impulsive behavior usually doesn’t occur until someone is in their 20s. Statistics show 5,000 to 6,000 teens a year are killed in car accidents, making crashes the leading cause of deaths among teenagers.
Going After Colorado’s Aggressive Drivers
Law enforcement officials in many states are getting more aggressive in countering this dangerous behavior by increasing data-driven enforcement, which means stationing more law enforcers in areas where there is a high probability of catching aggressive drivers before something bad happens. Officials are also fighting aggressive driving through more education and public awareness programs that highlight the consequences of such behavior.
Even though it’s been in existence since 1998, Colorado drivers may not be aware that the state keeps a database of repeat-offender aggressive drivers.
Anytime someone calls the Colorado State Patrol to report an aggressive driver, information is gathered and stored, including a description of the car, its location, and the license plate number if possible. If that car is reported again, a warning letter is sent to the car’s owner advising them of the complaints. If additional complaints are registered, law enforcement will go to the home of the car’s owner and take appropriate enforcement action.
Eight out of 10 drivers surveyed by AAA agree that aggressive driving is extremely serious, yet many of those questioned are willing to give excuses for aggressive driving. But there’s no getting around the facts: Aggressive driving is deadly driving.