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Aggressive driving can lead to tragedy on Texas roads

Most motorists in the greater Houston area have probably witnessed dangerous and aggressive driving behavior on more than one occasion. If so, they are not alone. Aggressive driving has become a serious public safety issue in recent years. Frustration over increasing traffic congestion, particularly in large urban areas, has been cited as a major factor in the rise of this dangerous behavior. As the population has increased in recent decades, road capacity has not kept pace. In addition, in many areas there are fewer law enforcement personnel available for traffic safety duties.

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that the public views aggressive driving as a serious threat to their safety. The NHTSA defines aggressive driving as a combination of illegal driving actions that endanger people or property. In some jurisdictions the definition requires at least three moving violations, committed simultaneously or in sequence, in a manner that creates danger to others.

The moving violations that can combine into aggressive driving include speeding, running red lights and stop signs, dangerous lane changes and following too closely. The result of this kind of behavior is all too often a car accident, serious injury and even death. If the accident investigation reveals that moving violations were a factor in the accident, the aggressive driver may be criminally prosecuted for vehicular assault or homicide.

In addition to criminal sanctions, the law provides civil remedies for injured victims of aggressive drivers and the families of those who are killed. Victims and their families have the right to sue the aggressive driver and recover damages for personal injury or wrongful death. In cases where an aggressive driver acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others, punitive damages may also be recoverable.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Aggressive Driving Enforcement: Strategies for Implementing Best Practices," accessed March 10, 2015

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