Left turn

Is Road Rage a Crime if It Results in a Car Crash?

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle crash caused by another driver’s road rage or reckless driving, you may wonder – is their aggressive driving considered a crime if it results in a wreck?

It’s a complex question. Working with an experienced personal bodily injury lawyer can help assault victims understand how the law applies. We’ll examine definitions, stats, and advice if you’re hurt by a raging driver of a motor vehicle.

What Is Considered Road Rage?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says aggressive driving happens when a driver commits traffic offenses in a vehicle that endanger others.

Road rage cases refer to aggressive or violent behavior exhibited by drivers on the road, typically in response to traffic-related frustrations, conflicts, or perceived provocations. It often involves aggressive driving maneuvers of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, verbal insults, gestures, failure to obey traffic laws, or even physical altercations between drivers.

Key Differences Between Aggression and Rage:

  • An aggressive driving offense violates traffic laws.
  • Yelling or rude gestures alone aren’t road rage. True rage involves violence, directed at a specific vehicle driver.
  • Rage is a criminal offense. Aggression leads to traffic citations.

Road Rage Statistics

aggressive driving

In Indiana, aggressive driving incidents occur approximately every 8.5 minutes, highlighting the severity of this issue on the state’s roads. Statistics reveal that around 25 fatal road rage incidents occur annually in Indiana, contributing to the concerning trend of violence stemming from traffic disputes. Studies indicate that drivers with heightened levels of anger are twice as likely to experience reckless driving and crashes in simulated driving scenarios, underscoring the serious consequences of aggressive behavior road rage leads to behind the wheel.

Moreover, approximately 45% of drivers in Indiana admit to overreacting to mistakes made by others on the road, increasing the risk of collisions and confrontations. Shockingly, data suggests that up to 25% of all traffic accidents in Indiana involve road rage behaviors such as speeding and tailgating, emphasizing the significant impact of aggressive driving on road safety.

Recent surveys conducted in 2022 reveal that 72% of Indiana residents have been angry and experienced or exhibited road rage in a motor vehicle within the past year, indicating a troubling prevalence of aggressive behavior among motorists. Fatal crashes attributed to road rage incidents have surged by 400% in Indiana from 2006 to 2015, highlighting the escalating severity of this issue.

Furthermore, an alarming 60% to 70% of traffic fatalities in Indiana are linked to road rage and aggressive driving behaviors, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address road rage and enhance road protection of motorists. Research consistently indicates that young males in Indiana are particularly susceptible to road rage incidents, underscoring the importance of targeted interventions and education programs aimed at mitigating aggressive driving tendencies among this demographic.

Common Road Rage Behaviors

The Office of Highway Safety in Indiana warns of these road rage signs that can lead to danger of life and property:

indiana drivers
  • Running red lights, stop signs, or other traffic signals
  • Driving above the posted speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Tailgating or following too closely
  • Erratic lane changes while speeding
  • Driving on shoulders or medians outside of travel lanes
  • Disobeying officers or directional signs
  • Making threats or rude gestures to the other driver
  • An attempt to force others off the road
  • Using a weapon
  • Crashing into others intentionally and damaging property

Any driver exhibiting road rage and endangering other drivers should face penalties like fines and license suspension.

Does Road Rage Cause Accidents?

In Indiana and most states, aggressive driving does lead to a significant portion of traffic incidents, with approximately 28% of crashes involving elements of aggressive behavior behind the wheel.

Tragically, road rage incidents in Indiana by other drivers have resulted in severe and sometimes fatal outcomes:

road rage incident
  • In July 2021, an Indianapolis road rage incident escalated into a violent altercation, leaving one driver critically injured after being assaulted with a deadly weapon.
  • In September 2020, a road rage incident on I-70 near Terre Haute led to a shooting, resulting in injuries to both drivers involved.
  • In May 2019, a road rage offense in Evansville turned deadly when a driver shot and killed another motorist during a dispute on the highway.

These examples underscore the grave risks associated with aggressive driving behaviors, as conflicts on the road can quickly escalate into assault, violence, and tragedy, especially considering a car is considered a deadly weapon. Drivers in Indiana must prioritize safety, exercise patience, and refrain from engaging in aggressive behaviors to prevent further incidents and penalties and protect human life on the roadways.

What To Do If Someone Rages Against You

You don’t want to face fines and charges if you are a victim. If an aggressive driver targets you while driving in Indiana:

  • Don’t escalate. Don’t try to “get even.”
  • Let them pass. Keep your distance.
  • Don’t speed up or hold your lane if challenged.
  • Report them to a police officer with details like license plate and location.
  • Drive to a police/fire station if followed. Don’t go home!
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Stay in the right lanes when possible. This reduces congestion and anger.

Since the offense of aggression and road rage are common, you may get hurt by an impulsive, angry driver. If so, get an experienced personal injury attorney, especially if the driver hired a criminal defense attorney for their first offense.

What Penalties Do Aggressive Drivers Face?

Road rage laws allow criminal charges and penalties for reckless driving, even on the first criminal offense.

Legal consequences depend on the criminal offenses and include:

  • Fines
  • Charges of reckless driving, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, simple assault, vehicular manslaughter, and more
  • Jail time
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Harsher penalties for serious crimes

Beyond this list, other crimes committed simultaneously during the road rage incident can bring additional penalties, fines, another criminal charge, and more jail time. Guilty parties often hire a criminal defense attorney to argue their road rage charges.

What To Do If You Are Injured By a Raging Driver

road rage and aggressive driving

If you’ve been injured by an aggressive driver in Indiana, it’s crucial to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and losses in a criminal case.

While criminal charges, including assault, may be brought against the other driver or other drivers, including driver’s license suspension, they may not fully address the extent of your suffering or cover your medical bills and other expenses from the road rage incident. Also, the at-fault party’s insurance company may attempt to say that you were partially at fault for the incident.

Under Indiana law, you have the right to pursue injury compensation regardless of whether the aggressive driver faces criminal charges for simple assault, is given hefty fines, or charged with another related criminal offense. Consulting with an experienced law office specializing in personal bodily injury cases can help you understand your legal options and navigate the complexities of the legal process. A conviction is not required to file your case.

It’s important to note that Indiana has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, typically two years from the date of the vehicle accident. Waiting for a criminal conviction before seeking legal counsel could jeopardize your ability to pursue compensation within the required timeframe.

With or without a criminal conviction, don’t delay in seeking assistance from a qualified attorney who can advocate for your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Contacting a legal professional promptly can ensure that your case is handled effectively and that you have the best possible chance of securing a favorable outcome for your circumstances after the road rage incident.

Trust Your Case with Crossen Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been injured in a road rage crime due to someone’s wanton disregard for public safety, the experienced attorneys at our firm can help. After your free consultation, we will conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence to prove your losses, identify all liable parties, handle legal paperwork, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if needed. Our goal is to access the maximum compensation you deserve. Don’t wait to explore your legal options – contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation with an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer. We will work closely with you and fight tirelessly on your behalf so you can focus on healing.

Discussing your case with an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer can help you during this trying time. Don’t attempt to face this alone. At Crossen Law, our team will fight tirelessly on your behalf to help you get what you are owed, and you will not owe us anything unless we win your case.

Make the right call. Call Crossen Law Firm at (317) 401-8626 or contact our firm online for your initial consultation.