The Effects of Road Rageby Olivea ShureUpdated October 25, 2017
Drivers who engage in road rage tend to vent their stress or frustration on other motorists who share the road. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that, "An average of at least 1,500 men, women, and children are injured or killed each year in the United States as a result of aggressive driving." Examples of effects of road rage are: death and injury, damage to buildings, attacking police officers, use of firearms or weapons, and punishment by law.
Death and Injury
Road rage gives impatient or aggressive drivers an avenue to vent their frustrations and anger on other drivers who share the road. Unfortunately, innocent passengers, bystanders and pedestrians get caught up in the mix. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that at least 218 men, women, and children are known to have been murdered and 12,610 people injured as a result 10,037 road rage incidents it examined. "The 12,610 injuries included scores of cases in which people suffered paralysis, brain damage, amputation, and other seriously disabling injuries," the report says. Victims are usually considered accidental deaths, and find themselves unable to avoid the onslaught of an aggressive driver.
Damage to Buildings
Road rage can lead to an angry motorist driving into a building to seek revenge on the establishment or its owners. Some drivers may wish to wage a vendetta against the owner of the property or attempt to gain attention through the act. Drivers use their vehicles as weapons to cause damage to properties such as government buildings, schools or a place of residence.
Attacking Law Enforcement Officers
Some drivers become aggressive when stopped by the police and will use their vehicles to attack police officers or their vehicles.
Use of Firearms or Weapons
If a firearm is stored within the vehicle, road rage can lead an aggressive driver to use the weapon against another motorist. Drivers will use other objects as a weapon such as a knife, golf club, fist, feet, or even their own vehicle to cause harm to another motorist or vehicle. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that, "Without question the most popular weapons used by aggressive drivers are firearms and motor vehicles." Objects like tire irons and jack handles that are readily available in most vehicles are also weapons. Drivers also use miscellaneous objects as weapons like eggs, soda cans, baseball bats and defensive sprays.
For minor offenses, courts will require an aggressive driver to attend anger management courses or receive psychiatric attention. Other punishment can be temporary imprisonment, a large fine or both. For major offenses like manslaughter or wounding with intent, drivers can receive life in prison.
Based in New York City, Olivea Shure has been writing since 2007, with experience writing for wellness and public-relations companies. She has worked as an editor and researcher, serving as the New York Zone bureau chief for the "World Tribune," a newspaper with Soka Gakkai International. Shure holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts and humanities from Soka University of America.