1.  Seat Belts
2.  Drowsy Driving
3.  Distracted Driving
4.  Aggressive Driving/Road Rage
5.  Motorcycle Safety
6.  Impaired Driving
7.  Novice Drivers
8.  School Bus Safety
9.  Airbags
10.  Railway Safety
11.  Trucks
12.  Motor Vehicles
  1. AAA Aggressive Driving Tips
  2. Aggressive Driving in Young Drivers
  3. Alabama Researchers Study Aggressive Driving
  4. Canadian Safety Council Finds High Levels of Aggressive Driving
  5. Drivers ignore school speed zones, increase risk for children
  6. Individuals of All Types in a Hurry, Run Red Lights
  7. Institute finds Arizona tops list for Red-Light Running Crashes
  8. Motorists are aware of Aggressive Driving, but still drive dangerously
  9. NAGHSR finds States are Fighting against Aggressive Driving
  10. Road Rage the Newest Road Hazard
  11. Sobering Facts About Impaired Pedestrians

AAA Aggressive Driving Tips

With "road rage" incidents making daily headlines and aggressive driving rated as the number one traffic safety concern in AAA surveys, AAA offers the following tips on how to avoid aggressive drivers:

  • Don't change lanes without signaling or "cut off" other drivers. If you inadvertently do cut someone off, apologize -- immediately.
  • Don't block the passing lane. Move to the right for any vehicle overtaking you. While this is simple common courtesy, it is unfortunately the law in only 20 states.
  • Don't tailgate, period.
  • No obscene gestures, which have gotten people shot, stabbed, or beaten.
  • Use your horn sparingly. Scores of incidents, including shootings, began with a driver honking the horn.
  • Don't allow your door to strike an adjacent parked vehicle. Dings can enrage some people.
  • Don't use your high beams to "punish" other drivers.
  • Don't allow your car phone to distract you.
  • If you have an anti-theft alarm, know how to turn it off quickly.
  • Finally, and probably most importantly, avoid eye contact with an angry aggressive driver; keep it impersonal an give the angry "Road Warrior" a wide berth. If he escalates the dispute, get out of there! Back off and seek help, such as at a police station, if you know where to find one quickly.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Alabama Researchers Study Aggressive Driving

A recent study by researchers from the University of Montevallo examined the road rage perceptions and driving practices of drivers in Alabama. This study closely followed a Nov. 8, 1999, incident in Alabaster, Ala., in which a female driver was fatally shot in the face by another female driver.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in 1990-96, there were 10,037 reported incidents of road rage in the United States, and only 4 percent involved females.

In the Alabaster case, both investigators and witnesses reported that the two women were seen darting in and out of traffic and following one another closely when they took the same exit at 5 p.m. The victim reportedly got out of her car and approached the accused. Words were exchanged, and the victim was shot.

Road Rage: A Prevalent Problem

Study participants indicated that road rage is an important issue. Almost all participants stated that they had witnessed road rage on Alabama's roadways. However, most said that they had not been a victim of road rage.

Most male and female participants felt they were frequently aggravated and put at risk by other drivers' actions. Only the 16-24 age group indicated that they do drive aggressively; other age groups responded affirmatively when surveyed about their driving practices and encounters with aggressive drivers.

When participants said that they did drive aggressively, they claimed they did so for good reason. Fifty percent of the surveyed females in the 75-year-old and up age group felt that any means to defend themselves in a road rage incident is acceptable.

The causes of road rage remain debatable, but some possible explanations are summer heat, traffic congestion, faster pace of life, and general lack of common courtesy. Other possible causes are job stress, the driving practices of sport-utility drivers, and the use of cell phones.

In each age group, the participants favored strong enforcement of traffic laws to reduce road rage. Most felt aggressive driving goes unpunished.

The Alabaster incident has sparked discussion about who is most often the aggressor and who is most likely to be targeted in road rage incidents.

According to the study, most people were undecided who they believe is most often targeted by aggressive male and female drivers. However, there was little support that males targeted females and females targeted males with their aggression. A slightly higher number felt that females targeted other females.

Alabama ranks third in the nation in the number of deaths per mile traveled at 13.7n deaths per 100,000 miles. Violent behavior is often a result of a particular mindset: not wanting to waste time, blocking the competition, and punishing the other driver. The latter often leads to road rage.

Aggressive Driving on Alabama Roadways appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of The Chronicle, published by the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.

For more information, contact the association, (724) 357-4051; fax (724) 357-7595.

This document was last updated on May 21, 2000.

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Canadian Safety Council Finds High Levels of Aggressive Driving

Canadians believe aggressive driving is a serious safety problem, according to a recent study commissioned by the Steel Alliance and the Canada Safety Council. Respondents rated aggressive driving as the number two cause of motor vehicle crashes, following driver inattention as number one

Despite knowing that aggressive driving is a problem, 84 percent admitted to at least one act of aggressive driving over the past year. Over 65 percent attributed stress and the pace of life for this type of behavior.

"Canadians clearly recognize the characteristics and seriousness of aggressive driving," said Emile Therien, president of the Canada Safety Council. "However, the number of drivers who admit to it is amazing, especially when you consider that they link car crashes to this behavior."

These common acts of aggressive driving were admitted to by a large percentage of respondents: tailgating (93 percent), passing on the shoulder of the road (88 percent), making rude gestures (86 percent), pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for (80 percent), and changing lanes with signaling (75 percent).

The safety council has advice for motorists to protect themselves from aggressive drivers:

  • Plan ahead before taking trips.
  • Consider alternative routes to avoid traffic congestion.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Be courteous to other drivers.
  • Ensure the car is comfortable on the inside b playing relaxing music and setting the air conditioning or heat to a comfortable temperature.

For additional information about aggressive driving or the survey, call Therien, (613) 739-1535.

This document was last updated on October 6, 1999.

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Individuals of All Types in a Hurry, Run Red Lights

The Stop Red Light Running partnership recently revealed that 98 percent of Americans agree that red-light running is dangerous, yet over 50 percent admit deliberately running red lights because they are in a hurry.

The partnership is composed of the Federal Highway Administration, the America Trauma Society (ATS), and DaimlerChrysler Corp. The survey provides new evidence that red-light runners do not comprise a specific demographic. They consist of professionals, blue-collar workers, the unemployed, homemakers, parents, and young adults.

Drivers who run red lights account for 89,000 crashes a year, causing more than 80,000 injuries and almost 1,000 deaths, according to the Department of Transportation. In 1992-98, the number of fatal crashes at intersections increased 16 percent, while all other types of fatal crashes increased by only 5 percent.

"We've got to do a better job of 'consciousness raising'-of making people aware that running red lights simply is not acceptable," said ATS executive director Harry Teter.

In the survey, social scientists speculated that frustration and road rage would be the reason most people perceived as the cause of red-light running, but that was not the case. Only 15.8 percent cited those reasons, while almost 50 percent admitted to being prompted by being in a hurry.

The survey focused on what drivers reported to be their red-light running behaviors. Overall, 55.8 percent admitted running red lights. A majority of drivers (80.5) were more frustrated with discourtesy on the roads than they were with any other traffic problem, including congestion.

The Stop Red Light Running program helps those interested in promoting highway safety with step-by-step guides for program development and grants for local implementation. For more information, call (877) STOP-555, or visit the website www.fhwa.dot.govstoprir.

This document was last updated on January 3, 2000.

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Institute Finds Arizona Tops List For Red-Light Running Crashes

Annually, more than 800 people die and 200,000 people are injured in crashes related to red-light running, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Arizona has the highest rate of fatal red-light running crashes. Three of the four cities with the highest rates of fatal red-light running crashes are in Arizona. Rates in Nevada, Michigan, Texas, Alabama, and New Mexico are also high.

During 1992-98, almost 6,000 deaths and 1.5 million injuries resulted from these crashes. More than half were pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who were hit by red-light runners. Another 2,799 deaths occurred in vehicles that ran red lights. In the same time period, fatal crashes at traffic signals increased 18 percent, more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes during 1992-98.

In response to the problem, IIHS has been researching the effectiveness of red light camera programs, which are being used in approximately 40 communities in the United States. The cameras photograph drivers who deliberately run red lights. In turn, violators are ticketed by mail. IIHS research has shown that these types of programs reduce red-light running by about 40 percent.

The Camera Controversy

Some parties oppose the cameras because of privacy concerns. But institute president Brian O'Neill disagrees: "This should be a nonissue. Red-light runners have no right to jeopardize others and then hide their violations behind privacy claims. Public officials should be concerned with protecting innocent people from being killed or injured by red-light runners rather than protecting the privacy of people who break the law."

Because Arizona has the highest rate of fatal red-light running crashes, the state has begun camera enforcement in several cities.

For more information, contact the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, (703) 247-1500; e-mail iihs@highwaysafety.org; website www.highwaysafety.org.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Drivers Ignore School Speed Zones, Increase Risk for Children

Nearly two-thirds of drivers exceed the speed limit in school zones, according to a new survey by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Speeding around schools where safety measures exist suggests that drivers are more neglectful in residential areas, the campaign warns.

Motor vehicle crashes account for about 80 percent of all child pedestrian deaths, with those aged 5 to 9 most at risk. Pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 5 to 14 years old.

Children are particularly vulnerable to pedestrian death because they face traffic threats "that exceed their cognitive, developmental, behavioral, physical, and sensory abilities," according to the campaign. Speed also plays a critical role in pedestrian injury.

Child Pedestrians at Risk in America: 4 National Survey on Speeding in School Zones was based on a September analysis of vehicles traveling in 63 school zones in 29 cities. SAFE KIDS coalitions and local law enforcement observed vehicles using speed-measuring devices during 30-minute time periods before and after school (the busiest traffic times for children who walk to school). Over 16,000 vehicle speeds were recorded.

The findings reveal that the majority of drivers speed in areas where children most frequently walk: 65 percent (10,912) of drivers traveled over the speed limit, 25 percent (3,843) of drivers traveled at least 10 mph above the speed limit, and 5 percent (879) of drivers traveled at least 20 mph above the speed limit. Many cars also traveled at speeds that could be lethal to children: one-third (5,468) went 30 mph or faster, and 7 percent (1,105) traveled at 40 mph. A child's risk of being killed when hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph is about 40 percent, and this increases to 80 percent when a child is hit by a car traveling 40 mph.

To combat this issue, FedEx Express and SAFE KIDS have launched a pedestrian safety initiative to help educate children, parents, and motorists about the importance of pedestrian safety. The program will include task forces that will identify key improvements vital to child pedestrian safety, create relationships with city and county officials to participate in the task forces, and promote the enactment of recommendations.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Motorists Are Aware of Aggressive Driving, But Still Drive Dangerously

Although more than 50 percent of Canadians feel safer driving in the summer, motor vehicle fatalities are significantly higher during the summer months. Many crashes are due to aggressive driving, according to the Canada Safety Council (CSC).

A survey by CSC and the Steel Alliance indicates that 85 percent of respondents admitted to one act of aggressive driving over the past year. Over 70 percent of those surveyed believe aggressive driving is on the rise.

When people drive to vacation destinations, traffic delays can trigger aggressive behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, and unsafe passing, according to safety council president Emile Therien.

"This survey shows that people recognize the danger of aggressive driving," Therien said. "Yet they continue to behave dangerously behind the wheel and are aware of it!"

Aggressive driving came in as the second main perceived cause of motor vehicle collisions, following driver inattention. Stress continues to be cited as the main reason people drive aggressively.

CSC has several suggestions for people to protect themselves from aggressive drivers: allow enough time to travel, consider taking a route that avoids busier roads, and be courteous at all times. Be late if necessary. Also, drive a vehicle designed with optimum safety features. Critical auto components can help prevent collisions and minimize injury in the event of a crash.

This document was last updated on June 19, 2000.

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NAGHSR Finds States Are Fighting Against Aggressive Driving

States are actively responding to aggressive driving, according to a new report by the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR). Officials are addressing the problem through legislative action, greater enforcement of current laws, and public information and education campaigns.

Aggressive driving is identified with red-light running, failing to yield, following too closely, and unsafe lane changing. Usually, aggressive driving occurs when two or more of these behaviors occur during a single, continuous driving period.

Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, and Rhode Island have laws specifically targeting aggressive drivers, while other states have legislation pending. Since the majority of states don't have specific aggressive driving laws, most target the problem with laws already passed, such as reckless driving, negligent driving, or vehicular manslaughter.

Since an aggressive driver commits a series of these acts together, many states are charging the driver with each of the observed offenses. This "makes a strong statement that this dangerous behavior will not be tolerated," said John Moffat, NAGHSR chairman.

One way of holding drivers accountable is enforcement of traffic laws. "Frequent and well-publicized enforcement of these laws has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of reducing the problem," Moffat noted.

Thirty-one states indicated that they have some type of special aggressive driving enforcement effort, but methods vary significantly from state to state, according to NAGHSR.

Unmarked vehicles regularly patrol for aggressive driving in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington. South Carolina and Washington also use -special enforcement teams on targeted roadways to concentrate on aggressive behavior.

Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia use aircraft or helicopters for enforcement.

Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., use technology in enforcement efforts. This includes signs that display the driver's speed and upcoming road conditions, helicopters that electronically download images to squad cars, laser devices that photograph an offending driver's license plate, and automated enforcement at intersections to prevent red-light running.

Education Campaigns in Nearly Half the States

Twenty-four states have public education campaigns that focus on the dangers of aggressive driving and provide safety tips. These initiatives usually publicize enforcement efforts or promote phone numbers for reporting unsafe driving behavior. States have communicated their message through brochures, posters, movie ticket holders, billboards, and television and radio announcements.

"State highway safety agencies believe that aggressive driving is a serious problem and most are devoting resources to finding a solution," Moffat said. "I'm confident that through legislation, enforcement, and education, instances of aggressive driving will be reduced."

Copies of State of the States: Aggressive Driving are available from NAGHSR for $5. For additional information, contact NAHGSR, (202) 789-0942; e-mail jadkins@naghsr.org.

This document was last updated on March 23, 2001.

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