Florida's Road Rage Epidemic
One of the worst places for road rage has been the state of Florida. In fact, Florida drivers (and drivers in Miami in particular) had the dubious "honor" recently bestowed upon them in the Road Rage Survey by AutoVantage, naming south Florida the road rage capital of the United States for three consecutive years.
For drivers with short tempers, high blood pressure or little patience for "bad drivers," one of the worst places for road rage has been the state of Florida. In fact, Florida drivers (and drivers in Miami in particular) had the dubious "honor" recently bestowed upon them in the Road Rage Survey by AutoVantage, naming south Florida the road rage capital of the United States for three consecutive years.
Loosely defined, road rage is "frustration manifested in actions including tailing slower drivers, obscene gestures and other actions that may lead to an accident." While you may be annoyed at the slow driver in front of you, or the person who has cut you off, you haven't exhibited road rage ... until you try to run your opponent off the road.
Three Stories about Road Rage
Following the Daytona 500 in 2007 an incident of road rage led to a confrontation between three Jacksonville men and Eric Houck from Land O' Lakes that left Houck dead and the three others charged with second degree murder. The incident began when Houck pulled into the emergency lane to avoid another car, cutting off the three Jacksonville men, who were driving in the emergency lane to avoid traffic. The incident escalated, a gun was pulled, and Houck was shot and killed.
In 2008, a former corrections officer bringing his kids to school was involved in a shooting incident with another driver. The incident began when Louis Davis passed a slower driver, who then rammed Davis with his vehicle. After shots were fired, Davis dropped off his children and returned to seek out the other man, Victor Vilches. The two exchanged gunfire.
And just recently, Richard Waters was arrested after an incident of road rage. After being cut off by a red Dodge Ram, Waters swerved twice to hit the truck, which eventually lost control, veered into the oncoming lane and hit the car driven by Amy Krupp with her 10-year-old son in the passenger seat. Krupp and her son are both in critical condition.
Curbing the Problem of Road Rage
There has been no national consensus on exactly how to define road rage, as well as a lack of ability in determining intent. Was an accident caused by pure negligence, or was one driver acting out of anger?
One Florida law is designed to remove poor drivers from the road. The law, which went into effect in 2009, forces drivers who have been found to be at fault in three crashes over a three-year period to take a driver's education course and pass a driving test, just as they did when they first obtained a driver's license. While the law does nothing directly against road rage, it and other measures are aimed at removing triggers that could cause road rage in other drivers.
A similar bill that has been introduced in the Florida legislature for years but yet to be signed into law is one that attempts to legislate against driving in the left lane. The bill proposes to outlaw driving in the left lane except to pass and requires a driver in the left lane to merge back to the right lane if a faster driver comes behind them, regardless whether the cars are over the speed limit.
The Florida legislature has defined aggressive driving (often used synonymously with road rage) as, "At least two of the following: speeding, unsafe or improper lane change, following too closely, failure to yield right of way, improper passing, failure to obey traffic control devices." However, this is only a defining statute, not a charging statute, and as such, the state is prohibited from enforcing it.
Still, road rage is considered a felonious criminal assault (estimates show that 200 deaths per year can be attributed to road rage), and anyone who finds themselves a victim of road rage or aggressive driving should seek an experienced trial lawyer to seek justice for injuries and assault in court.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Article provided by Carman & Bevington, P.A.
At the law firm of Carman & Bevington, P.A., we help clients throughout the Tampa Bay area in Florida to recover compensation for injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents, defective product accidents and other personal injury circumstances.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.