Road Rage: An Epidemic That Causes Too Many Car Crashes
October 1st, 2015 by Patrick Hogan
Most people could never imagine themselves being sent to prison for assault, manslaughter, or homicide. They don’t consider themselves as violent criminals or a danger to society. They’re just people who work hard to earn a living and desire to get the most from life. However, a car is a powerful machine that does everything it’s directed to do. It can just as easily get you to work on time as it can maim or kill someone. People don’t have a full appreciation of this or of the fact that driving such a dangerous machine is a big responsibility.
Instead, over-familiarity with cars and driving causes motorists to behave as if the car is an extension of themselves. When someone on the road offends them, they express their anger with their cars. Once this becomes a habit, the stage is set for acts of assault, manslaughter, or homicide. This is because expressing anger with a 300 horsepower machine isn’t the same as a shouting match or even a fist fight. On top of this, driving is already a dangerous activity that takes tens of thousands of lives every year. Angry driving only makes a dangerous situation worse.
The national highway traffic safety administration defines road rage as:
“An assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”
An assault occurs when one is threatened with bodily harm with an apparent means of carrying it out. Violently cutting a car off or hitting the brakes hard to teach a tailgater a lesson, could both be interpreted as acts of assault because a weapon (the car) is used to threaten bodily harm (by causing the motorist to lose control). If the angry motorist miscalculates and causes the other car to crash, then it’s assault and battery. If the motorist dies, then charges of manslaughter, or homicide are possible. Assault can result in either criminal or civil liability.
This is how any person who uses the car to express anger can be sent to prison for assault, manslaughter, or homicide. Everyone gets angry. However, driving is far too dangerous an activity to be freely expressing this anger.
If you were the victim of road rage, you have a right to fair compensation for the damages and the injuries that you have suffered. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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