The terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” are often used interchangeably. However, there is an important legal distinction between these two actions. If someone commits road rage against you, the person can be found criminally responsible for assault. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is defined as a form of assault using a motor vehicle. The action is intentional and is often retaliatory in nature.
Aggressive driving is handled differently under the law. Drivers who commit aggressive driving violations often speed, change lanes without signaling, or pass improperly. An aggressive driver cuts off other drivers or uses the shoulder of a lane to pass. Aggressive driving, unlike road rage, is not considered a criminal act, though individuals who engage in aggressive driving behavior can be sued in civil court for property damage, personal injury, or other damage they inflict on other drivers for their actions. Aggressive driving is categorized as a “traffic offense,” while road rage incidents are handled criminally.
If you feel that you have been a victim of aggressive driving or road rage in Mesa, Arizona, an auto accident lawyer like Raymond Arenofsky Esq. may be able to assist you in making a civil claim against the person who caused you harm. Your lawyer can review your case and chart a course of legal action for you and your loved ones.
According to a recent book, there has been a long global debate about whether serious traffic offenses should be classified as criminal offenses. Criminal Liability for Serious Traffic Offenses defines drivers’ actions as either highly morally culpable or as having low moral culpability. This is the perceived responsibility we might place on a person for harming another person. For instance, a driver who kills a pedestrian for momentary inattention is not seen as highly morally culpable by most societies. (Though this may be changing with increased awareness of texting and driving concerns.) Compare the scenario of the driver who kills someone due to inattention to the driver who kills a pedestrian while trying to speed past a slower driver by driving on the shoulder. For most people, the second driver—the one who chose to recklessly speed—would be considered more morally culpable than the driver who momentarily shifted her attention to a cell phone. Yet, there is wide debate about whether aggressive driving should be criminally prosecuted.
For a person to be convicted of road rage, the courts must find that the driver willfully disregarded the safety of other drivers or pedestrians and intentionally used the vehicle for harm. In aggressive driving, the idea of “willful disregard” gets much blurrier. At the end of the day, these determinations are often left to judges and juries to decide—and probably rightfully so.
For victims of road rage or aggressive driving in Mesa, Arizona, the result is often the same: serious and devastating injuries, high medical expenses, property damage, and missed time at work. Families and victims have the right to seek compensation from negligent parties for their injuries and losses—regardless of whether the accident was classified as road rage or aggressive driving. For victims of aggressive driving or road rage, a personal injury lawyer can ensure that families and those affected by these drivers take full advantage of all protections offered by the law.
If you need to speak with an attorney in Mesa Arizona about injuries suffered in an auto accident, contact the Law Office of Raymond Arenofsky at (480) 345-0444.

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