Did you suffer injuries in a crash caused by an aggressive driver in South Carolina? Local news sources recently reported an alarming surge in aggressive driving statewide, with increased numbers of drivers exceeding 100 miles per hour, tailgating, driving under the influence, and experiencing road rage. These actions are extremely hazardous and frequently cause serious car accidents.
Many aggressive drivers travel at high speeds, follow too closely, and make abrupt maneuvers that can increase the severity of any subsequent collision. Victims of aggressive driving accidents suffer debilitating injuries that require costly medical care, time away from work, and other personal and financial sacrifices.
If a negligent driver in South Carolina injured you, you might be entitled to money for your losses. An aggressive driving lawyer from Joye Law Firm can pursue compensation to help you pay your medical bills, make up for lost wages, and plan for your future.
Our personal injury law firm demands fair compensation for accident victims throughout South Carolina. We fight to deliver results that count. Find out what we can do for you in a free consultation. Call or contact us now.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Certain states have laws against aggressive driving. South Carolina isn’t one of them. Instead, aggressive driving refers to various driving behaviors that endanger other people or property. In many cases, drivers must engage in multiple unsafe or hostile driving behaviors before their driving is labeled aggressive.
One analysis by the American Automobile Association suggests that aggressive driving is a factor in as many as 56 percent of fatal crashes nationwide. Driving too fast for road conditions and driving under the influence were the two aggressive driving behaviors most likely to contribute to fatal wrecks.
Closer to home, recent statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety illustrate how common aggressive driving accidents are in the Palmetto State:
- Aggressive vehicle operation was a factor in 1,334 crashes in South Carolina, leading to 40 fatalities and 744 injuries.
- Driving too fast for conditions played a role in 33,967 collisions, resulting in 220 fatalities and nearly 13,000 injuries.
- Speeding resulted in 339 motor vehicle accidents, 43 fatalities, and 252 injuries.
- Following too closely contributed to 8,142 total crashes, with five fatalities and 2,306 injuries.
- Improper lane usage or lane change was a factor in 10,115 car accidents, leaving 20 people dead and 1,910 hurt.
So, what causes aggressive driving, and why is it so prevalent? For one, America is a driving culture. Nearly 90 percent of adults have a driver’s license, and most use vehicles to get around. Traffic congestion is one of the top inciting factors in aggressive driving accidents, with 64 percent of drivers admitting to road rage and more than half acknowledging that they speed in a recent survey. Nearly one-third of survey participants also admitted to failing to use turn signals.
No matter the offense, every driver’s aggressive driving behavior is a choice. And when their reckless actions cause an accident that harms another, they can and should be held accountable for their poor decisions.
What is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?
Aggressive driving and road rage are terms often used interchangeably. However, road rage is just one of many types of aggressive driving. Consider these differences.
Aggressive driving is engaging in dangerous, belligerent behaviors behind the wheel that put others at risk. Common signs of aggressive driving include:
- Improper lane changes
- Driving on shoulders, sidewalks, or medians
- Improperly passing or passing where it is prohibited
- Driving in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failing or refusing to obey traffic signs and signals
- Ignoring police officers
- Racing on public roadways
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants
- Intentionally going against the proper flow of traffic
In many aggressive driving cases, the fact that the aggressive driver puts others at risk is incidental. Many aggressive drivers are self-absorbed and not actively looking to injure anybody.
Road rage occurs when an already aggressive driver takes deliberate steps to intimidate, harass, or harm other people or property. Common signs of road rage include:
- Intentionally cutting off or brake checking other drivers
- Deliberately blocking another driver from merging
- Blaring the horn or flashing lights excessively
- Making rude gestures or shouting at other road users
- Causing or trying to cause a crash
- Deliberately attempting to run another driver off the road
- Exiting the vehicle to confront other drivers face-to-face
- Striking other vehicles or pedestrians
- Threatening or causing direct harm to other road users
No matter if they intend to harm another person or not, an aggressive driver can be held legally responsible for hurting another in South Carolina. Consult with an aggressive driving attorney to learn whether you have a case.
The Dangers of Aggressive Driving in South Carolina
Aggressive driving is inherently dangerous for both the motorists who engage in it and everyone else on the road around them. Drivers who engage in aggressive behaviors are more likely to cause severe accidents because:
- Aggressive drivers often travel at high speeds, which means they have less time to react to unexpected events or brake safely.
- Aggressive drivers commonly tailgate others, which gives them less room to avoid collisions.
- The erratic behavior of many aggressive drivers means they have less control over their vehicles, and other road users don’t know what to expect.
The dangers are even more pronounced when aggressive driving gives way to road rage. Angry drivers can cause severe or fatal injuries when they engage in deliberately harmful driving behaviors or use physical violence against others.
When Does Aggressive Driving Become a Legal Issue?
No South Carolina law designates aggressive driving as illegal, so not all aggressive drivers face legal consequences. For instance, a frustrated driver who calls another road user a rude name is aggressive, but there is nothing explicitly unlawful about their behavior.
However, many common aggressive driving behaviors involve violations of one or more traffic laws. Common examples of violations include exceeding posted speed limits, failing to yield the right of way, and driving too closely to other vehicles.
When aggressive drivers engage in illegal behaviors and cause accidents, they are likely to face traffic citations or even criminal charges, depending on the circumstances. However, you can file an injury claim against an aggressive driver whether or not they were ticketed or charged with a crime. A traffic ticket may serve as useful supporting evidence for your case, but it is not required to seek compensation.
Legal Consequences of Aggressive Driving
Drivers who get ticketed or arrested for speeding, driving under the influence, or another unlawful and aggressive driving behavior could face the following penalties:
- Traffic school – For some violations, drivers may be court-ordered to complete traffic school or defensive driving courses.
- Steep fines– An aggressive driver could incur fines of up to several hundred dollars, depending on the behavior.
- Demerit points– Violations like failing to signal and reckless driving are assigned certain numbers of demerit points, which remain on driving records for years.
- Loss of license– If a driver receives more than 12 demerit points or commits a particularly serious offense, their license may be suspended or revoked.
- Imprisonment– If an aggressive driving crash results in serious injury or death, the aggressive driver could go to prison for vehicular manslaughter or felony DUI.
Compensation After an Aggressive Driving Accident
If your injury claim against an aggressive driver in South Carolina is successful, you could recover compensation for:
- Hospital bills and accident-related medical expenses
- Incidental costs, such as mileage expenses for medical travel
- Lost wages
- Projected losses in earning capacity, if your injuries result in permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
You have the right to full and fair compensation after an accident involving an aggressive driver. However, the insurance company will work hard to deny your claim or limit your payout. Protect yourself by working with a proven aggressive driving lawyer.
Contact a South Carolina Aggressive Driving Attorney
Experience counts. If you or someone close to you is suffering from the effects of an aggressive driving accident, put Joye Law Firm to work for you. You can rely on our aggressive driving attorneys to fight for the compensation you deserve while treating you with dignity and respect. Call or contact us today for a free case review.