“Help! I’ve been a victim of road rage.”
Don’t wait to contact an attorney if you’ve been involved in a crash with an aggressive driver.
Gwinnett-based attorney Charles Scholle and his legal team at Scholle Law know that when you’re the victim of a road rage accident, or if you have suffered injuries in a road rage crash, you need expert legal representation. Scholle Law has represented dozens of road rage victims in Atlanta and surrounding areas.
Our experienced injury and accident lawyers have the compassion and dedication to help you through your recovery. We will help you navigate your case from start to finish with professionalism, courtesy and skill.
In Georgia, especially in a large city like Atlanta, road rage is a nearly everyday occurrence. It seems like a fact of life these days, but it wasn’t always so common. There was a time when Georgia residents prided themselves on their gracious and courteous driving. But for many, that time has passed. Road rage auto accidents have risen in the past few decades, both in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Road rage-induced car crashes are another part of modern life and drivers seem to be more impatient than ever in sharing the road graciously.
Regardless of the cause, the data on road rage-induced crashes and encounters suggests they are becoming more and more frequent with each passing year. In one survey, 82 percent of drivers in the U.S. admitted to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the past year. Some road rage behaviors such as honking, yelling and cursing don’t always lead to a crash, but more aggressive actions can become dangerous and even deadly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was about 1 deadly accident related to road rage per day in 2016. Over 66 percent of all traffic fatalities are blamed on aggressive driving, and 37 percent of those cases involve a gun or other firearm. Atlanta drivers, in particular, routinely rank as some of the most aggressive drivers in the country.
If you or your family have been on the receiving end of a road rager, it’s time to get justice. Scholle Law can help. We have the tenacity and skill to seek all the financial recovery to which you might be entitled, such as medical expenses, property damage and potentially even punitive damages to compensate you for the malicious conduct of the other driver or passengers after a road rage car accident.
According to the NHTSA, road rage is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle or precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”
The difference between aggressive driving and road rage is that aggressive driving is a traffic offense and doesn’t involve intent, whereas road rage is considered a criminal offense and is intentional.
Road rage is like an extreme version of aggressive driving.
Georgia road rage laws, penalties & damages
Georgia law doesn’t specifically mention “road rage,” but law enforcement generally charges this offense under the state’s reckless and aggressive driving laws. Injured victims can also bring a civil action (personal injury lawsuit) against the at-fault party or parties who committed road rage and caused them harm.
Georgia motor vehicle code 40-6-397 (a) states that “a person commits the offense of aggressive driving when he or she operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.”
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (section 51-12-5.1) states that punitive damages (also known as “vindictive” or “exemplary” damages) constitute an additional damage award when aggravating circumstances occur that would warrant the defendant to be penalized, punished or deterred from the acts that caused the injury in the first instance.
Road rage is an aggravating circumstance that the punitive damages statute specifically targets.
These damages may be awarded under O.C.G.A. section 51-12-5.1 (b), which provides that punitive damages may be awarded when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a “defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.”
In other words: If you are found to have been a victim of road rage, you may be entitled to additional monetary compensation. If you’re a road rage offender, you could be fined and even jailed.
Further evidence that Georgia lawmakers are trying to crack down on the problem of road rage incidents can be found in Georgia state law section 40-6-397 (b), which states that “any person convicted of aggressive driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.”
Yes! If convicted of road rage, you could be imprisoned for up to 12 months and you could face a fine of up to $5,000. Plus, you might get 6 points added to your driver’s license.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
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Common types of road rage behaviors
Examples of road rage and aggressive driving include intentionally engaging in the following behaviors in order to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person:
- Illegally overtaking or passing another vehicle
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Violating traffic signals, lane markings, slowing or stopping laws
- Disrupting the flow of traffic or blocking cars trying to pass
- Reckless driving
- Excessive speeding
- Cutting off another driver
- Cursing, and rude or obscene gestures
- Throwing objects
- Ramming a vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist
- Forcing another driver off the road
- Waving or using a deadly weapon
It’s worth noting that a person’s vehicle doesn’t have to make contact with another vehicle or person in order for it to be considered road rage. If an angry driver forces another vehicle off the road without contact, they can still be held liable for reckless driving and charged with an aggressive driving offense.
Road rage prevention: tips to avoid an aggressive driving car accident
Road rage is often a frightening experience. When road rage escalates, it can be absolutely terrifying and extremely harmful in both a mental and physical sense. While you can’t control another person’s actions, there are some simple steps you can take to help de-escalate a road rage situation or prevent it from happening in the first place.
Following the rules of the road can go a long way towards avoiding a road rage scenario. To avoid being the target of an aggressive driver, the Georgia Department of Public Safety recommends the following best practices:
- Don’t switch lanes without signaling.
- Avoid blocking the right-hand turn lane.
- Don’t take more than 1 parking space.
- If you are not disabled, don’t park in a disabled space.
- Don’t allow your door to hit the car parked next to you.
- Use your horn sparingly.
- Avoid unnecessary use of high-beam headlights.
- Don’t tailgate.
- If you travel slowly, pull over and allow traffic to pass.
- Don’t blast loud music near neighboring cars.
- Don’t stop on the road to talk with a pedestrian or other driver.
- Don’t make obscene gestures.
- Avoid eye contact with angry drivers.
- Don’t respond to aggression with aggression.
- Drive to a public place (such as a police station, hospital or fire station) if you feel threatened.
- If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible.
- Call 911 if you believe you’re in danger.
What to do if you were hurt in a road rage auto accident
No one is immune from a road rage car accident. These dangerous behaviors can involve big rig trucks with drivers who are under pressure to deliver goods, passenger cars driven by impatient drivers or even 2 drivers vying for a parking spot. Road rage often involves the intentional use of a vehicle as a weapon or a genuine weapon by one driver upon another.
Even passengers can participate in road rage by lashing out at another driver or passenger. Road rage can involve a high-speed chase with an enraged driver following another driver, or a purposeful collision. Sometimes, an enraged driver will leave their vehicle to assault the other driver and cause injury or damage.
When a driver becomes enraged behind the wheel of their car or truck, this can constitute a conscious indifference to consequences as their vehicle becomes a dangerous instrument that can cause severe injury and wrongful death. Victims must evaluate their rights to file a civil action for their property damage and personal injuries, even if there is a criminal action proceeding by law enforcement against the offending driver. Such a criminal action might include a reckless driving charge.
Scholle Law has successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured in road rage auto accidents. We provide a FREE consultation to evaluate your situation and we don’t get paid until we get financial recovery for you. This evaluation is free of charge and you’re not obligated to make a decision. We’ll simply provide you with answers.