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Aggressive Driving and Road Rage More Common Than Expected

Release Date: July 22, 2016

Aggressive driving is extremely common among United States drivers. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA Foundation) entitled Prevalence of Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Behavior: United States, 2014 found that 78 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in 2014. Previous research by the AAA Foundation found that, from 2003 to 2007, over half of fatal crashes involved at least one driver who performed a potentially aggressive action.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines ‘”aggressive driving”’ as the “operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Unlike ”road rage,”’ which is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway,” aggressive driving is a traffic offense. The aggressive driver disregards other drivers and does unlawful things, such as speeding, improper or excessive lane changing, failing to signal his/her intentions, and illegally passing (e.g., on the shoulder of the roadway).

The AAA study estimates that drivers engaged in the following behaviors during 2014:

Nearly two in three drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic, and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

“It’s completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Don’t risk escalating a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head and focus on reaching your destination safely.”

The data was collected from a national survey of 2,705 licensed drivers ages 16 and older. The research report Prevalence of Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Behavior: United States, 2014 is available on the AAA Foundation’s website at .

For additional information on aggressive driving, see Engineering and Safety Service Client Handout CH-10-32, Aggressive Driving, which addresses what aggressive driving is, what to do when faced with an aggressive driver, and how to help avoid becoming an aggressive driver.

COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.

The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.

COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.