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Boorish Behavior, Speeding Infractions and Fatal Car Accidents

When Indiana passed a law aimed at aggressive driving, it became the first state to do so since 2005. It joined 10 other states in attempting to reduce fatal car accidents by punishing aggressive drivers. The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a report highlighting the dangers of speeding and aggressive driving. Roughly one out of every three deadly traffic accidents is caused by speeding. More than 10,000 people were killed in 2010 as a result of speeding. It is hoped that the report will help spur greater efforts to stop dangerous driving practices that have become commonplace.

Aggressive driving is easy to spot, but not necessarily easy to define. The Indiana law focuses on behaviors such as tailgating, unsafe stopping, failing to yield and speeding. If a driver commits three of the nine elements used to define aggressive driving during one driving session, that driver can be charged with aggressive driving.

Laws against speeding exist in all 50 states. The problem with many of those laws is that they are ineffective at preventing drivers from traveling at unsafe speeds. Only two states have upped the penalties for speeding in the last seven year. If the penalties do not prevent dangerous driving, some might question why they exist at all. The GHSA report suggested that, to overcome the indifference people have to speeding, states should focus on speeding in school and construction zones. These behaviors tend to evoke a stronger response and may serve as a gateway for showing how dangerous speeding is in any situation.

Campaigns aimed at reducing drunk driving and encouraging the use of seat belts have helped reduce the number of fatal car and truck accidents. When presented with compelling evidence that a behavior is unsafe, the public often responds. Speeding and aggressive driving are a threat to everyone on the roads. Every driver plays a part in making sure that their vehicles are operated in a safe and calm manner.

Source: The Car Connection, "Speeding, Aggressive Driving Still Cause 1/3 Of Fatal Accidents," by Richard Read, 9 March 2012

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