Colorado Trails Only Indiana in Road Rage Auto Accident Fatalities
Because of the spectacular scenery throughout the state, driving in Colorado can be extremely enjoyable, except when you encounter an aggressive driver.
What is aggressive driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving is “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Some common forms of aggressive driving include:
- Excessive honking
- Rude gesturing
- Shouting or yelling at other motorists
- Failure to yield right of way
- Swerving and erratic lane changes
- Flashing headlights
- Cutting off another driver
- Blocking another vehicle attempting to change lanes
- Exceeding the posted speed limit
- Attempting to pass on the shoulder of the road
- Weaving through traffic.
According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. averaged approximately one fatal accident connected with road rage every day during 2016. Among all age groups, millennials accounted for the highest percentage of fatal accidents at 35 percent, and also for the greatest number that was associated with road rage and aggressive driving at 54.2 percent. While the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. “rush hour” period was found to produce the most fatal accidents due to distracted driving, deadly accidents connected with aggressive driving spiked at 10 p.m., which might relate to fatigue and its effect on angry driving behaviors.
Colorado #2 in Road Rage Fatalities
In Colorado, aggressive driving behavior is addressed in the reckless driving statute, which describes the practice as a “wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
In August 2018, the Denver Post reported that the state was second only to Indiana in terms of the percentage of fatal accidents involving aggressive driving: Road rage played a role in almost one out of 10 fatal car accidents in Colorado during that year. While fatal car accidents rose about six percent across the nation from 2015 to 2016, Colorado experienced an 11 percent increase during that same time frame. On a more positive note, Colorado ranked below the national average for fatal collisions involving the use of alcohol.
Responding to an Aggressive Driver
The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) offers the Star CSP program to allow motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to report aggressive drivers immediately by dialing *277 on your cell phone. Launched in 1998, the program, which is a joint venture between the CSP and several cellular companies, provides a way to report aggressive driving behavior in “real time.” Since the program began, the CSP has taken more than 230,000 reports of aggressive driving.
If you encounter an aggressive driver who is putting others at risk, the CSP recommends that you:
- Avoid the aggressive driver by getting out of the way.
- Do not make eye contact with the driver.
- Don’t show disapproval of their driving behavior.
- Be prepared to provide a description of the vehicle along with the license plate number, exact location, direction of travel, a description of the driver, and the aggressive driving behavior being exhibited.
- Never follow or pursue the vehicle.
If you were injured in an auto accident that was related to aggressive driving on the part of another motorist, contact Colorado attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.