New Report Suggests that Road Rage Incidents Are on the Rise
When people see road rate incidents reported in the news, it is tempting to assume these are anomalous events that only involve a tiny number of motorists. A recent ABC News report reveals that the issue of road rage may be much more significant than some would assume. The report cited a recent AAA study that found 10,000 incidents involving road rage during a recent seven year period. The Department of Transportation (DOT) indicates that these road rage incidents also resulted in the death of 218 people, which represents an increase of 170 percent since 2007.
The ABC report referenced two incidents in other states that occurred just this month and made national news. In the first incident, a driver pulled a gun on another driver in the middle of a road rage altercation. Another incident involved a nasty brawl in the middle of a highway. There are many types of road rage incidents that have been reported that include:
- Discharging a firearm into another vehicle
- Using one’s vehicle to run a driver off the road
- Employing a motor vehicle as a weapon to run down a pedestrian
- Pulling another motorist out of a car and committing a physical battery
- Ramming another vehicle
- Exiting one’s vehicle to charge another vehicle occupant
While road rage can result in car accidents because it often involves hazardous high risk driving behavior, injuries caused by road rage are not typical negligence cases. Because the other driver is intentionally trying to cause harm to another vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian, those who cause serious injury or death through acts of road rage may be liable for an intentional tort. In simple terms, this refers to knowingly and intentionally causing injury to another person rather than doing so because of carelessness or inadvertence.
Because road rage incidents constitute an intentional tort, punitive damages may be appropriate. Punitive damages are intended to dissuade willful misconduct that raises a presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences of one’s conduct. The goal of punitive damages is to deter and penalize such conduct. While punitive damages may be appropriate in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit based on an act of road rage, the evidentiary standard for establishing that the conduct rises to a level that justifies punitive damages is clear and convincing.
An expert in road rage advised ABC that avoiding eye contact and staying in one’s vehicle provides the best strategies to avoid being injured by an irate motorist. Our experienced Atlanta traffic accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.