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Aggressive Driving and California Road Rage

In essence, road rage and aggressive driving are two different actions. They can both, however, be causes of serious accidents and send the driver to jail or worse. Road rage occurs when a driver gets angry at some real or imagined slight of another driver and attempts a physical assault of the other driver. This could be out of his car or in it. He could attempt to leave his car and put hands on another driver or use his vehicle as a weapon. Aggressive driving may seem angry but doesn’t necessarily have to be. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, running stop lights and stop signs and unsafe lane changes.

More people are watchful of aggressive drivers than drunk drivers, according to a recent study. Aggressive drivers pose a high risk of both anxiety and danger to other motorists. Their behavior is due to impatience and recklessness. Aggressive drivers may throw you the middle finger and loud honk but they’ll forgo the threats, confrontations and other behavior of road rage drivers. Aggressive drivers cause accidents, injuries and property damages.

Aggressive driving is against the law and California has set up particular designations to the act. California is one of only a few states that has made aggressive driving a criminal offense. It is treated as an automobile crime in the state. Aggressive driving can be punished by criminal penalties and can permanently remain on the driver’s criminal record.

California courts consider several factors when determining aggressive driving including; speed of the driver, state of danger of other motorists, and if any dangerous maneuvers like swerving or tailgating were employed. The basis of the courts investigation is if there was a willful and wanton disregard for the personal safety and property of other people on the road. The driver in question must be proven to have purposely disregarded safe driving practices.

Being convicted of aggressive driving in California is a misdemeanor offense on the outset. Penalties range from up to 90 days in jail, up to $1000 in fines, vehicle impounding and loss of driving privileges. Depending on the severity of the charges, an increase in auto insurance may also apply. California also has charges specifically for extreme cases of aggressive driving. These auto crimes are considered very serious. Vehicles can be classified as a deadly weapon if it was used to harm a pedestrian or motorist. In those cases, the offending driver can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony charge and can result in a jail term of up to four years and fines of up to $10,000.

Aggressive driving is no laughing matter in California. The implication is for aggressive drivers to learn the road does not only belong to them but everyone else on the roadway as well. They must learn patience, courtesy and temperance as any other driver.