What is Road Rage? Road Rage is an extreme form of aggressive driving that is often characterized by rude gestures, verbal insults, unsafe driving and threats. Road Rage is an alarmingly dangerous problem that seems to be growing on our highways.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are an average of 1,200 incidents of “Road Rage” in the United States annually, many of which result in serious injury traffic collisions and death. Some additional statics are quite disturbing:
- 37% of all reported Road Rage incidents involved the use of a firearm.
- 50% of drivers who feel that they have been offended by another driver will respond aggressively.
- 2% of drivers who have been offended by another driver have tried to run the other car off the road.
- 7% of the American population suffers with a mental disorder known as “Intermittent Explosive Disorder,” known as IED. The slightest provocation can cause a person with IED to react explosively and Road Rage is likely. This means that there are about 16 million drivers on the road each day that have a preponderance for violent driving.
- AAA estimates that as a result of increasingly heaving traffic and longer wait times, instances of road rage are likely to increase by 7% per year.
- It is estimated that as many as 1,500 people lose their lives each year from incidents directly related to Road Rage.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines Road Rage as:
An incident where an individual commits a combination of traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; 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 caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway.
What are the Penalties for Road Rage? In most jurisdictions throughout the United States, Road Rage is prosecuted as reckless driving. In more aggressive cases, a driver may be prosecuted for assault, battery, or assault with a deadly weapon. In the ugliest cases, a driver may find themselves charged with attempted murder, manslaughter, or even murder. In California, one of the most common penalties suffered by an offending driver is the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege.
If a law enforcement officer encounters a situation involving road rage, they will often refer the driver to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a re-evaluation of their ability to safely drive. Once the DMV receives the law enforcement referral, they generally have two options for proceeding against the accused driver:
- The DMV may send the driver an “Order of Suspension” and determine that he or she Lacks the Skill to drive. Known as the DMV’s Re-Examination process, the accused driver is entitled to schedule an administrative hearing to rebut the allegation and demonstrate that they do possess the skill to drive. This type of hearing must be handled correctly, because if lost, the driver must suffer a minimum of 94 days of suspension before they can ask to re-open the matter.
- The DMV may also opt to send the driver an “Order of Suspension” by naming the person as a Negligent Operator. Here again, the accused driver in entitled to a hearing to demonstrate why the driving privilege should not be suspended or revoked. This type of hearing also must be handled correctly because if lost the DMV will suspend or revoke the driver license for an indeterminate period time. The Vehicle Code does not specify just how long a suspension or revocation will run, but it has been the DMV’s practice to not grant a “Reinstatement Interview” for a minimum of 12 months.
If the DMV is acting to suspend or Revoke your driver license for Road Rage, call us, we can help. If the DMV is seeking to suspend your driver license for an allegation of Road Rage, don’t despair. You are entitled to be represented by a DMV Defense Expert with the knowledge and experience to bring out the truth. Whether you were the instigator in a Road Rage incident, or if you were the victim, you are entitled to fight for yourself.
Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates. We understand how these incidents can occur and we know that good people get caught in bad situations every day. Let our team of experts guide you through the process and work to prevent the suspension of your driver license.