Aggressive driving is a major problem. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), more than half of all fatal truck accidents are caused by aggressive driving behaviors. Aggressive driving accidents can cause expensive property damage, serious injuries, and even death.
As defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is any combination of moving traffic violations that puts other motorists at risk for injuries. This includes but is not limited to the following actions:
- Excessive speeding.
- Cutting off other drivers.
- Following a driver to their destination.
- Repetitive braking and accelerating.
- Making obscene gestures.
- Changing lanes abruptly and without signaling.
- Intentionally sideswiping or bumping into another vehicle.
Due to the enormous size and weight of commercial trucks, truckers that drive aggressively are a danger to others on the road around them. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This type of vehicle is unwieldy and difficult to maneuver. Braking takes much longer than a passenger vehicle, so if an aggressive truck driver is speeding excessively, the results can be disastrous. When a truck driver acts aggressively on the road, other drivers have little to no time to react to their behavior. Aggressive driving can easily cause a truck accident and catastrophic injuries.
Campaign Against Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is a real concern to those regulating the trucking industry. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) program, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), seeks to raise public awareness about the problem of aggressive driving. The program also aims to make commercial truck drivers aware of the consequences of risky driving behaviors. Through education and targeted enforcement, the program intends to lower the number of large truck crashes and the injuries and fatalities associated with them.
Sometimes, truck drivers are under tremendous pressure to deliver goods on time. If their employer sets unreasonable deadlines and they encounter delays due to weather or traffic, an inexperienced or fatigued driver may be overwhelmed by frustration. They may resort to aggressive driving tactics, like swerving into another lane or failing to yield the right-of-way, to get to the destination faster. Trucking companies have a responsibility to schedule their drivers in a safe way that gives them ample time to deliver their cargo.
How Can I Stay Safe if I See an Aggressive Truck Driver?
It can be frightening when driving near an aggressive truck driver. It is important to stay cool and try as much as possible to not react, as this could be dangerous. Natural reactions, like honking the horn, yelling, gesturing, and braking, could escalate the situation and cause real harm. Even making eye contact with an aggressive driver could trigger a road rage incident.
When you are near an aggressive truck driver, you should keep as much distance as possible by changing lanes or pulling over to let the truck pass. Try to note as much identifying information about the truck as possible. When it is safe to do so, pull over and call 911. Helpful information includes the make and model of the truck, the color, and other identifying markings, like a logo or company name. Location and direction of travel are also important for the authorities to be able to locate and stop the aggressive truck driver.
Additionally, if it is possible to note the reporting number on the truck, you can call the company. This way, you can report the negligent truck driver.
Anyone in a situation where the truck driver exits the cab to start a confrontation should never get out of their vehicle. Stay inside, lock the doors, and keep the windows up. Report the truck driver to the authorities, and do not get out until they arrive.
What Should I Do if I am Involved in an Aggressive Driving Truck Accident?
If the accident was caused by a truck driver’s aggressive driving, the consequences can be much more than physical injuries and damage to your vehicle. This type of incident can also be psychologically traumatizing. The combination of emotional trauma plus serious injuries can be debilitating, and it can affect your ability to earn a living. The truck driver and possibly the trucking company should be held accountable for any injuries and losses caused by aggressive driving.
What Evidence Should Be Collected?
Evidence should be gathered at the scene of the accident if it is safe to do so and there are no serious injuries. Photographs of the weather conditions, position of your vehicle, skid marks on the road, and damage to your car can all help show if a truck driver was negligent. Trucks carry data recording devices similar to the black box in an airplane. The truck’s black box contains a wealth of information, such as:
- How fast the truck was traveling at the time of the crash.
- Records of quick stops, sudden acceleration and deceleration, and hard braking.
- Position of the brakes.
- Position of the crank.
- Position of the clutch pedal.
- Records of any stability control events.
- Records of the last stop.
- Trip reports.
- Diagnostic trouble code snapshots.
This information can provide a look at what was happening just before the truck crashed, however, it may require a court order to obtain access to the black box data. For this reason, it is wise to retain experienced legal counsel if you are ever involved in an aggressive driving truck accident. The truck driver will likely have the advantage of legal teams provided by the trucking company to avoid liability.
Those involved in an aggressive driving truck accident should also know that this type of collision is much more complicated than an accident between passenger vehicles. There can be many parties in addition to the driver, including the trucking company, the owner of the truck or trailer, the company that loaded the truck, the freight broker, and the manufacturer of defective parts.
In Virginia, the party filing a claim for damages must prove that the other driver was 100 percent at fault for the accident. If even one percent of the blame is shared, that party cannot recover any compensation for their injuries. A knowledgeable lawyer will obtain records showing if the truck driver has any history of arrests for drug or alcohol abuse, hours of service violations, how many hours of training or driving experience they have under their belt, and if they have other traffic violations on their record. A lawyer can help you prove that aggressive driving caused your accident and injuries.
Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You if You Have Been injured in an Aggressive Driving Truck Accident
Aggressive driving is a real threat on American roads. Aggressive truck drivers endanger the lives of other motorists, and they should be held accountable for resulting injuries. If you have been injured by a negligent truck driver, contact our Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we put our clients’ needs first, and we will help you build the strongest case possible. Call us at 757-352-2237 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.