Aggressive driving accidents are an all too common occurrence in Delaware. In fact, from 2015 through 2017, more than 10,300 people were injured—and 116 were killed—in accidents caused by aggressive driving, according to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS). Additionally, in 2017, 37 percent of the state's fatal motor vehicle crashes were attributed to aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding or making unsafe lane changes.
The state of Delaware has strict laws prohibiting aggressive driving and motorists who violate these laws may be subject to fines and other penalties. Aggressive drivers who cause accidents may be liable for the property damages, injuries, and other losses that result.
If you suffered significant injuries or losses in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you may be entitled to compensation.
About Aggressive Driving in Delaware
The Delaware General Assembly passed the state's first-ever aggressive driving law on June 30th, 1999. According to the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the purpose of the law is to make it possible to identify aggressive drivers, encourage them to change their high-risk driving habits, and above all, prevent aggressive driving accidents.
So what exactly is aggressive driving? Even if they are unfamiliar with the term, most people recognize common aggressive driving behaviors. In fact, many drivers may be guilty of engaging in such behaviors themselves. Delaware law defines aggressive driving as a series of three or more of the following Title 21 violations:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Unsafe lane changes
- Disregard of a traffic control device (such as running stop signs or red lights)
- Failure to stop for a police officer
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Passing on a shoulder
- Failure to use turn signals
- Overtaking a stopped school bus
Penalties for Aggressive Driving in Delaware
Under Delaware law, motorists who commit three or more aggressive driving offenses in a single incident can be charged with an aggressive driving violation. Motorists charged with aggressive driving may face fines of $100 up to $300 or 10 to 30 days in jail. Aggressive drivers must also complete a $100 behavior modification class or attitudinal-driving course within 90 days of their aggressive driving conviction or risk a suspension of their license. Additionally, if a motorist is convicted of a second aggressive driving offense within three years of the first, he may have his driver's license suspended for 30 days.
Dealing With Aggressive Drivers
It is an unfortunate fact that Delaware motorists have to share the road with aggressive drivers on a daily basis. However, while motorists cannot control how other drivers behave behind the wheel, they can control their response to aggressive driving behaviors. Following these simple tips when confronted by aggressive drivers may help motorists stay safer on the road:
- Make every attempt to get out of the aggressive driver's way.
- Don't take the aggressive driver's behavior personally or attempt to challenge him by also engaging in aggressive driving behaviors.
- Avoid making eye contact with the aggressive driver.
- Ignore rude taunts or gestures, and don't return them.
- Wear a seat belt; the protection provided by a seat belt will prove invaluable if an aggressive driver's behavior necessitates an abrupt driving maneuver.
- Call 911 as soon as possible and provide the police dispatcher with a description of the vehicle (including make, model, color, size, and number of doors), as well as the license plate number and direction of travel.
- After witnessing aggressive driving behavior that results in a crash, stop a safe distance away and report the aggressive driving to the police.
Do You Need an Experienced Wilmington, DE Car Accident Attorney?
If you were injured in an aggressive driving accident in Delaware, the skilled car accident attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand and explore your legal options. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.