Aggressive Driving Accidents in Philadelphia
No Room on the Road for Aggressive Drivers
Pennsylvania has the fifth highest number of licensed drivers in the country – 8.9 million. That’s a lot of people to fit on our state’s 120,000 miles of roads and highways. The number 120,000 coincidently is the same number of traffic accidents that occur annually in Pennsylvania. And of those 120,000 vehicle crashes, a startling 66 percent were caused by an aggressive driver.
What is Considered Aggressive Driving?
While the most common type of aggressive driving is road rage, there are numerous other types of behavior that legally constitute aggressive driving. Due to the increased incidence of crashes caused by aggressive driving and several high-profile road rage events, police have implemented increased training and awareness programs to address this problem. Some of the types of aggressive driving that police monitor include:
- Road Rage
- Reckless Driving
- Intimidation Maneuvers
- Cutting Off Other Drivers
- Frequently Changing Lanes
- Improper Passing
- Other aggressive behaviors.
Additionally, aggressive drivers may seek to intimidate other drivers by shouting, displaying obscene gestures or making direct threats. In general, aggressive driving refers to behavior that disregards the safety or courtesy of other drivers on the road. And while it can take many forms, the bottom-line is that hundreds are killed and thousands injured in Pennsylvania each year by aggressive driving behavior.
How Widespread is the Threat?
We’ve noted above that 66 percent of all traffic crashes can be attributed to aggressive drivers – or around 79,000 accidents in Pennsylvania each year. But the potential threat is actually much greater.
When surveyed, half of drivers who were on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior responded likewise, exhibiting aggressive driving themselves. By responding aggressively, the driver doubles their risk – not only are they potentially the victim of an aggressive driver, but they now place themselves and others at risk with their own behavior.
Studies have shown that between 20 percent and 35 percent of all drivers have exhibited one or several of the above aggressive driving behaviors. So how widespread is the problem of aggressive driving in Pennsylvania? This figure would suggest that over 3 million drivers in Pennsylvania have operated on our roads in an aggressive manner.
A Closer Look at Road Rage in Philly
Road rage is a more extreme type of aggressive driving and involves criminal intimidation and violence. Incidents of road rage can occur inside or outside the vehicle and may involve using the vehicle as a weapon – for example, intentionally ramming another occupied vehicle. The most common theme that differentiates “road rage” from other forms of aggressive driving is the intent to harm.
Drivers in Philadelphia may need reminding that we are known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” Upper Merion Police Sgt. Al Elverson was recently interviewed by CBS Philly: “It’s just unbelievable how everybody’s in such a hurry to get to where they’re going, they’re willing to get out of a car and fight with somebody because they weren’t going fast enough. It just makes no sense to get out of your car for any reason over a traffic dispute,” Sgt. Elverson said. We couldn’t agree more.
The deadly incidents of road rage on Philadelphia roads results in both heartbreak and indignation. Each one of these Philadelphia road-rage fatalities could have been prevented:
- A motorcyclist traveling on 5th Street and Roosevelt Blvd. in Feltonville opened fire on a vehicle after being cut-off. A 43-year-old man died of gunshot wounds and a 31-year-old woman was shot twice.
- A driver, angry that an arguing couple was blocking traffic, got out of his vehicle on the 2800 block of North 5th Street and opened fire, shooting the husband in the torso and head. The victim died at the scene.
- After exchanging words with a pedestrian in Northeast Philadelphia, the driver got out of his vehicle and initiated a physical altercation that resulted in the death of the pedestrian after his head was hit against the pavement.
What Is Pennsylvania Doing About Aggressive Drivers?
The Pennsylvania House has passed a resolution to encourage drivers to drive courteously and not aggressively, resolving to support further measures to promote safe driving. For its part, PennDOT partners with state and local police in enforcement actions. In the last ten years, over 580 roadways have seen increased aggressive driving enforcement measures.
In one three-hour enforcement action last fall, the Philadelphia Police Department handed out 60 tickets for aggressive driving… in three hours!
In addition to stepped-up enforcement activity, and support from the Pennsylvania legislature, PennDOT has also increased their educational efforts to improve awareness and encourage safety.
For our part, the accident attorneys of Wapner Newman focus on holding aggressive drivers accountable for the damage they cause. Civil suits are often filed in cases of aggressive driving and road rage. Insurance companies usually refuse to cover damages from road-rage incidents, making it even more important that those injured by aggressive drivers consult a Philadelphia accident lawyer.
Our Pennsylvania Accident Lawyers
Regardless of the type of vehicle they drive, operators owe a duty of care to others. Unfortunately, some people don’t take that duty seriously and their careless actions cause others serious harm.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you’ll need a Philadelphia vehicle accident lawyer to protect your rights. For almost 40 years, the Philadelphia vehicle accident attorneys at Wapner Newman have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 1-800-LAW-6600 or filling out a free case evaluation form.