Road rage penalties increase


Photo courtesy Catherine Clark

Junior Catherine Clark drives through Miami over spring break. “You definitely have to be more aware of your surroundings on the road during spring or summer break because people drive so much crazier,” Clark said.

Drivers often feel the frustration of busy schedules and crowded roadways during their commutes. Although traffic safety regulations are put in place to protect citizens, they are often violated by overwhelmed drivers. The combination of traffic and a driver’s urgency to get somewhere often results in a series of bad decisions, leading to road rage. The consequences are frequently ignored until it’s too late.

The initial signs of road rage include speeding, unsafe lane changes, sudden and aggressive vehicle movements and refusing to allow others into your lane, which can quickly escalate to more aggressive behaviors. Often, road rage manifests itself through individuals’ previous frustration, now surfacing on the road. The individual who thought they were late for a meeting is now engaged in a life-threatening game of vehicle movements because of a set of circumstances they could have controlled. Junior Emily Miranda said she believes the best way to avoid a road rage incident is to, “pull over and let them pass by.” Junior Catherine Clark agrees, suggesting to, “just get out of their way. Why start unnecessary incidents on the road?”

Road rage can cause drivers to commit two or more traffic offenses in a short period of time. These offenses often include speeding, unsafe lane changing and following other cars too closely. The combination of these factors can lead to increased penalties, including fines, increases in insurance costs and possible incarceration if a serious accident is caused. Most drivers want to avoid tickets and fines, which lead to point violations at motor vehicle administration, following an increase in monthly insurance costs.

Road rage has become more common over the past several years as populations have increased, but roadways have remained the same. Accidents involving road rage are often caught on cameras and receive attention in the media. These advancements in technology should act as a deterrent against aggressive and angry driving.

However, the government through its elected leaders has increased penalties for road rage incidents. The purpose of increased penalties and fines is to discourage unsafe driving and increase insurance costs for bad drivers. According to a traffic safety article, “Zero deaths in Maryland”, “36% of all traffic fatalities involve drivers aged 20 to 29 and the majority were young men.

This statistic does not prevent women from being involved in road rage incidents. However, it does explain the skyrocketing insurance costs for young people involved in accidents. The article stated, “driving within the speed limit, you give yourself more time to react to what’s happening around you”. “Honestly I think that a road raged driver could be as bad or worse than a drunk or a distracted driver,” sophomore Duke Ampofo said.

Advancements in technology have resulted in numerous vehicles having in-car cameras. These cameras ultimately prove who was at fault. The solution to road rage involves leaving earlier, slowing down, and treating others as you wish to be treated while driving.