How Aggressive Driving Leads to Fatal Auto Accidents
Drivers are told to obey all traffic laws and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, it is also critical to watch out for aggressive driving in Colorado, characterized by swerving between lanes, tailgating, and speeding. These actions aren’t just the common speeding incidents, they are dangerous actions that cause many auto accidents.
Aggressive Driving Plays Huge Role in Deadly Crashes
An American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation study identifies aggressive driving as specific behaviors, such as speeding and tailgating. As the study notes, aggressive driving, more specifically, excessive speeding, was the cause of 56 percent of the fatal vehicle accidents from 2003 – 2007. A 2016 review by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that more than 10,000 people died in speeding-related crashes, representing 27 percent of all fatalities that occurred in 2016.
While speeding is considered the number one aggressive driving-related issue, there are other actions that drivers take that are also considered aggressive, such as:
- Improper or erratic lane changes
- Driving along the shoulder of the road
- Passing a vehicle when prohibited
- Failing to yield at a right of way
- Driving too fast for current road conditions
- And following improperly, such as tailgating
What’s being done to stop this dangerous behavior? Some states have implemented aggressive driving laws. In Colorado, an aggressive driving program was implemented years ago that encourages drivers who witness an aggressive driver to alert the Colorado State Patrol. This can be done by simply dialing *CSP (*277) on a cell phone and reporting the incident. According to the Colorado State Police, since implementing the program nearly 20 years ago, they have received more than 230,000 calls from observers reporting aggressive drivers.
New Technology Helps Police Catch Speeders
Most drivers are aware of the radar guns used to catch a speeder, but may not know about the latest police gadget: LIDAR, which uses light detection and ranging. Simply put, LIDAR uses time-of-flight when an officer points the device, which is like a radar gun, and pulls the trigger. A pulse is transmitted to a very specific target, in this case, a car the officer believes is speeding and the LIDAR gun determines the amount of time it takes the pulse to hit its target and return. This technology is different from radar because it specifically targets an object. Radar shoots out a cone-shaped burst of high-frequency radio waves, which can make it difficult to determine which car is speeding if several are detected in the pattern. LIDAR, even in congested traffic situations, can pinpoint a specific car that is speeding.
Last year, more than 600 people were killed on Colorado roads. Denver recorded the highest number of traffic fatalities with 61 people killed. According to police, aggressive driving was responsible for some of those fatalities, and there’s concern that this behavior is not decreasing. Law enforcement hopes that LIDAR is a tool that can be used to more accurately catch those speeding, so Colorado roads are safer for everyone.