Articles Posted in Aggressive Driving

In a tragic incident on a Tuesday morning, a head-on collision claimed the life of one driver and left another seriously injured. The accident occurred on Route 23 at Morse Road in the Jarrettsville area. According to a local news report, the accident involved two vehicles, a Hyundai Accent, and a Nissan work van. Maryland State Police stated that the Hyundai was traveling east on Route 23, attempting to pass multiple vehicles within a designated passing zone. Meanwhile, the Nissan van was heading west, ultimately leading to a devastating head-on collision. The exact cause of the accident remains under investigation, though it appears that an unsafe attempt to pass other cars may have played a role in the accident.

The Importance of Safe Passing in Maryland

Passing zones are designated areas on the road where it is legally permitted to pass slower-moving vehicles. These zones are marked with road signs and dotted or solid lane markings to ensure safe overtaking. While passing zones allow faster-moving vehicles to overtake slower ones, it is essential to exercise caution and adhere to safety rules. Passing zones are typically created on straightaways or sections of the road with good visibility. They are intended to minimize the risk of head-on collisions and should be used judiciously. Drivers should not attempt to overtake other vehicles in no-passing zones, curves, or intersections.

There are times when the details of a car crash sound like the details are coming from a script from a movie. Cars crashing into homes, cars plunging into the water, cars launching and spinning mid-air, etc. However, sometimes these accidents occur in real life and are dangerous for everyone involved.

According to a recent report, a driver survived a shocking car crash in Chillum, Maryland. An SUV was launched, spinning into the air and landed upside-down in the wall of a house. The vehicle’s back wheels were almost touching the partially-collapsed ceiling of the home. As a result, part of the wall of the home collapsed, and a part of the staircase was visible from the outside. After the crash, the driver of the vehicle was able to exit the car himself. According to initial reports, the driver was traveling up a hill, ended up spinning in the air, and landing on the inside of the house. Luckily, neither the driver nor anyone in the home was injured.

[sc_fs_faq html=”true” headline=”h3″ img=”” question=” What Are Single-Vehicle Accidents?

When a Maryland car accident occurs, one of the first questions everyone has is “what happened?” Did a car malfunction? Did a tire suddenly blow out, were some taillights not working, or did the emergency brakes fail to work? Perhaps there was debris in the road or an animal that caused one vehicle to swerve. Or, there may have been a driver error—a distracted or intoxicated driver, for instance. There are many possible causes of Maryland car accidents. But one that often is not thought of is road rage—when drivers act aggressively and perhaps recklessly while on the road.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage may take a few different forms. A driver may actually yell at others, make angry gestures, or honk repeatedly when they feel frustrated on the road. They may start tailgating other cars, aggressively trying to get them to drive faster. Cutting off other cars and trying to block them from changing lanes are both road rage behaviors, and in some intense situations, an angry driver may even hit another car on purpose. Understandably, road rage can lead to serious Maryland car accidents, injuring or even killing others.

For example, a recent Maryland crash is thought to have possibly been caused by road rage. And, unfortunately, it led to the death of a 21-year-old girl. According to a news report covering this accident, the crash occurred around 1 AM one morning over Easter weekend on I-95 North near exit 52 for Russell Street. Three cars were involved in the crash. The victim was driving a red Honda Civic, and there was also a white truck and a white car. Officials believe that road rage may have caused the crash—they think that something happened between the victim’s car and the white truck, which caused her to spin out onto the highway. Since she was then sideways in her Honda Civic on the highway, the white car hit her directly in the driver’s door. Unfortunately, she did not survive this accident. Her family is of course grieving this tragic loss.

Voluntarily risking one’s own safety to rescue another person or retrieve another person’s property is commendable. But if the rescuer is injured in the process, are they able to recover compensation from negligent parties? In Maryland, the defense of assumption of the risk generally holds that where a person assumes a certain risk, the person cannot later recover because they were injured because of a danger inherent in that risk. In cases of a voluntary rescue under Maryland law, there is an exception to the defense of assumption of the risk, referred to often as the rescue doctrine.

Under the rescue doctrine, a rescuer may be able to recover damages in emergency situations involving imminent peril, where the rescuer acts to save the life or property of another. But whether a rescuer is able to recover generally depends on the particular facts of the case, taking into consideration the exigency and harm involved. The rescuer’s actions must be reasonable under the circumstances, such that a rescuer may not be able to recover who engages in dangerous conduct that is not proportionate to the benefit or where there is a reasonably safe alternative.

In a recent case, the court found the rescue doctrine to be applicable, allowing the injured plaintiff to recover for their injuries. In that case, a taxi driver picked up an intoxicated passenger and his friend. The taxi driver drove to the destination and told the passenger the fare. The intoxicated passenger argued with the driver and grabbed and punched the driver from behind. The plaintiff, who had called a taxi from a nearby home and believed the taxi might have arrived to pick him up walked towards the taxi, heard the driver yelling for help and went to help. The passenger then started punching the plaintiff, causing him to fall down. The intoxicated passenger then got into the taxi, from which the driver had escaped, and hit the plaintiff twice with the car.

Few experiences behind the wheel are more terrifying than being on the wrong end of another driver’s road rage. While road rage may not be listed as a primary cause of Maryland car accidents, aggressive driving is more common than most motorists believe. For example, in 2015, there were approximately 3,300 Maryland car accidents caused by aggressive driving. Of those, someone was injured in over 1,200 of the crashes.

A Maryland driver can lose their temper and enter a state of road rage for any number of reasons. Even the slightest perceived infraction can send an already stressed motorist over the edge. This raises the question: who can be held liable in a Maryland road rage accident?

Aside from the enraged driver who caused the accident – who is an obvious choice – other potentially liable parties may include passengers in the at-fault driver’s car or other motorists on the road who may have contributed to the accident. A recent case illustrates that it isn’t just the person behind the wheel who can be at fault for an incident of road rage.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Nebraska issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a man who was hit by a car while standing in the parking lot of the bar he had visited. In the case, Pittman v. Rivera, the plaintiff filed a premises liability case against the bar that had kicked out the patron who eventually got into his car and struck the plaintiff. However, since the court held that the bar could not have reasonably foreseen that such an injury could have resulted from its conduct in kicking out the other patron, the case was dismissed.

The Facts of the Case

Pittman was inside the defendant bar with some friends. Earlier in the night, Rivera was kicked out of the same bar for getting into an argument with his girlfriend, an employee of the bar. Initially, Rivera left with a designated driver. However, a few hours later, he returned in his own vehicle. Rivera attempted to get back into the bar, but the bouncer refused him access. Angry and likely still intoxicated, Rivera left the bar and made several U-turns in an aggressive manner, revving his engine loudly outside the bar. At some point, Rivera lost control of his vehicle and struck Pittman, who was now outside the bar talking with some friends.

Pittman filed a lawsuit against several parties, including, most notably for this opinion, the bar owner. The bar owner argued that he had no duty of care to protect Pittman because he was standing outside the bar, and even if there was a duty to protect him, that duty was not violated by disallowing Rivera to enter the bar.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of West Virginia issued an opinion in a case that arose after an incident of road rage resulted in a commercial truck driver crashing and suffering injuries. The court held that the defendant’s act of failing to disclose the fact that he had several prior traffic offenses in the pre-trial discovery process resulted in the plaintiff not being able to properly rebut his testimony, and ultimately resulted in an unfair verdict.

Phillips v. Stear: The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, a commercial truck driver, crashed after a maroon vehicle cut him off and “gave him the finger.” The driver of the maroon vehicle fled the scene, but a witness followed him and called 911, providing the license plate number to police. Police ultimately tracked the owner down and he was sued by the truck driver.

At trial, the defendant introduced evidence of his “good character,” testifying that he is not a fast or aggressive driver, and that he normally drives below the speed limit in order to conserve fuel. When asked about any prior traffic offenses, the defendant responded that, as best he could remember, the last time he was issued a speeding ticket was 2006. In response, the plaintiff asked if he had been issued a ticket in 2011, to which the defendant replied he “did not recall the incident.” While the plaintiff had proof of the 2011 citation, an evidentiary ruling kept it out of evidence.

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Earlier this month in Aberdeen, one man was killed and another injured when their vehicle was run off the road by an SUV that swerved to avoid another passing vehicle. According to one local news source, the accident occurred around 11:30 in the evening on Route 40 near the intersection with Route 715, the access road to Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Evidently, there was a Honda Civic traveling west on Route 40 in the right lane. There was a white SUV also traveling west in the adjacent lane. A black passenger car approached the SUV from the rear and attempted to pass it on the left median. As that driver began to pass the SUV, the driver of the SUV swerved to the right, into the lane occupied by the Civic. The driver of the Civic attempted to avoid a collision with the encroaching SUV and swerved off the road.

As the Civic moved out of the way and onto the shoulder, it struck a pole, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The car flipped several times before ultimately coming to a rest on its roof. The driver of the car sustained only minor injuries. However, the passenger was pronounced dead a few hours later at University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace.

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Earlier this month in Jacksonville, an accident between a passenger car and an Amtrak train left three people injured. However, miraculously no one was fatally injured in the accident that resulted in the vehicle being cut in half by the train. According to one local news source, the accident was caused by the driver of the car attempting to cross the railroad tracks while the gate arms were in the down position.

Evidently, the vehicle had three people in it at the time of the accident. Video surveillance that was retrieved from the scene shows the driver of the vehicle trying to navigate around the crossing arms, which had been down for several seconds. The video also shows the car getting sheared in half by the massive train.

Miraculously, no one was seriously injured in the accident. In fact, the video shows the driver and one of his passengers outside the car walking around before emergency responders arrived on the scene. The back-seat passenger did sustain injuries and was taken to UF Health Jacksonville. Police issued a citation to the driver of the car for negligently crossing the tracks while the gate arms were down.

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Earlier this month in Howard County, a young man was killed in an accident involving a snow plow. According to one local news report, the vehicle the young man was driving lost control around a corner and slammed into the front of a truck with a snow-plow attachment on the front.

The accident took place around nine in the morning on Route 97, near the Howard-Montgomery County line. Evidently, the young man was driving an Acura RSX and drifted out of his lane a bit while making a fairly sharp curve. As his vehicle exited his lane of travel and entered the shoulder, he encountered a patch of slush. The slush caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle, which then crossed into oncoming traffic where he collided with the snow plow.

The driver of the Acura was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. The snow plow had three passengers in it, all of whom were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police are still in the middle of conducting their investigation into the cause of the accident. However, preliminary investigations suggest that the driver of the Acura was traveling too fast when he entered the curve, causing him to leave his lane and end up on the shoulder.

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