Aggressive Driving Car Accidents in Washington DC

Aggressive driving can include a wide variety of unsafe behaviors behind the wheel.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses a fairly broad definition of aggressive driving, defining it as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”

Although aggressive driving encompasses numerous dangerous behaviors, some of the most common examples include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for traffic, road or weather conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Unsafe passing
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices (stop signs, traffic lights, etc.)
  • Improper lane changes.

At its worst, aggressive driving can involve road rage. As more and more vehicles crowd the nation’s roads and people become more and more stressed and hurried, we see more incidents of road rage.

Road rage refers to a situation where a driver becomes physically aggressive or threatens another motorist with violence. A driver exhibiting road rage may actually chase another vehicle, cut the vehicle off, or even intentionally crash into another vehicle.

All forms of aggressive driving and road rage can result in serious car accidents that cause significant injuries to other motorists who were not at fault in the crash. Aggressive drivers can be held responsible for the injuries they cause.

Is Aggressive Driving a Big Problem?

Aggressive driving is a serious and growing problem in Washington DC According to the AAA Foundation for Driver Safety, aggressive driving was a contributing factor in 56 percent of all fatal collisions nationwide during a four-year period from 2003 through 2007.

When asked, “What is the biggest danger on the roadways?” an equal number of respondents indicated aggressive driving and drunk driving in a recent survey. Another poll conducted by NHTSA found that 67 percent of drivers felt they had been threatened by an aggressive driver within the past year, with almost 1 in 3 feeling threatened in the past month.

Aggressive driving plays a significant role in collisions in the nation’s capital.

According to the District Department of Transportation (DDT), aggressive driving behaviors factored into collisions throughout Washington DC, in 2009 as follows:

  • Following too closely – 1,245 (4.45 percent of all car accidents, making it the third most common violation)
  • Changing lanes without caution – 1,051 (3.81 percent)
  • Speed – 815 (4.2 percent)
  • Improper passing – 376 (1.13 percent).

Holding Aggressive Drivers Accountable

Washington DC, operates under a no-fault insurance system. Under a no-fault system, your own auto insurance policy is responsible for paying for repairs to your vehicle (if covered), as well as medical bills and lost wages if your injuries were not serious. This is true regardless of who was to blame for the accident.

The no-fault system is intended to make it easier to get basic costs of an accident covered by not requiring a victim to prove negligence, or fault, in order to be entitled to compensation.

The trade-off for this, however, is that a victim cannot pursue additional compensation, including pain and suffering damages, in a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver unless any of the following apply:

  • The injury causes substantial permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • The injury causes a substantial and “medically demonstrable” impairment in performing daily activities.
  • The injury causes a “medically demonstrable” impairment that prevents the injured person from doing his or her daily activities for at least 180 days.
  • The medical costs from the injury exceed the PIP benefits available under the drivers’ no-fault policies.

Victims of aggressive driving accidents often do not know at the outset whether their injuries will qualify for compensation outside of the no-fault system, which is why victims should consult with an experienced car accident attorney.In order to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for all of your injuries, consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an aggressive driving accident.

The car accident lawyer at The Abelson Law Firm, can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve after a car accident caused by aggressive driving.

The law limits the time an accident victim has to pursue compensation. It is important to take prompt action to fully protect your legal rights after an accident. Contact The Abelson Law Firm today online to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

  • NHTSA– “Aggressive Driving”
  • AAA Foundation – “Aggressive Driving: Research Update”

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