We’ve seen it for years, the effects of aggressive driving and the toll it can take on victims involved in altercations on the highways and surface streets. The sad fact is, aggressive driving is probably one of the more “preventable” causes of traffic wrecks here in Maryland. As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, we believe that innocent victims of negligent acts, such as road rage, deserve they day in court, if only to recover the costs of medical and financial loss due to another driver’s actions.
More than one person has been put in the hospital with a serious or life-threatening medical condition due at least in part to an incident of aggressive driving that escalated into a fit of road rage. With the number of people on Maryland’s public roadways, it is no surprise that every year dozens upon dozens of people are killed or maimed in car, truck and motorcycle crashes. This number could likely be reduced by quelling the epidemic of road rage, or driving while angry.
As injury lawyers representing those hurt in car and commercial trucking collisions, both here in Maryland as well as over in the District, we understand the ease with which a driver and his or her passengers can become embroiled in someone else’s “bad day.” This is really nothing new. Since the early days of the automobile, there surely were instances of one driver becoming annoyed with another motorist. Honking horns, cutting another car off, or intentionally trying to inconvenience another person in retribution of some assumed slight; these are all versions of what people refer to as road rage.
The difference these days is that more and more police departments are taking aggressive driving very seriously, especially in light of the speed and ease with which an aggressive driver can sometimes become belligerent behind the wheel and even try to harm another individual. Adults and children have been hurt in accidents caused by aggressive drivers, so this kind of carnage should be stopped if at all possible.
This all comes to mind upon reading a news article from last May. According to reports, the Prince George’s County Assistant Police Chief announced on the first of that month that his officers take 30 minutes out of each shift — every day — to observe and reign in aggressive drivers. The initiative, entitled “Take 30 For Traffic,” was put into place in a select number of communities, including Calverton, Forestville, Hillcrest Heights, Lanham and seven others. The county police department cited those areas as having some of the highest rates of fatal car and pedestrian accidents, as well as other factors.
As part of this ongoing effort, Take 30 will target speeders and outwardly aggressive drivers, as well as those motor vehicles that fail to yield to other vehicles or pedestrians who have the right of way. Based on statements from county officials, the program has been modeled after one the Baltimore County Police Department has been following, essentially using a data-driven approach to improving traffic safety.
As part of the Prince George’s program, patrolmen will focus their attention on entire areas, not just a particular intersection or stretch of roadway. One figure that may indicate the ends to which the police will go to see the Take 30 initiative succeed is the potential for a 50-percent reduction in fatal vehicle deaths over time, rather than leading the state in deadly crashes. With its record high of 141 traffic deaths in 2002 and a low of 92, the county apparently has nothing to brag about when it comes to roadway safety, hence the latest effort. Time, as usual, will tell. We can only ask that everyone use commonsense and keep a cool head, even under stressful traffic situations. Drive defensively and get home alive.
Prince George’s County Police will ‘Take 30 for Traffic’; Gazette.net, May 10, 2012