Aggressive driving or “road rage” is a separate and distinct traffic violation in the Nevada criminal code. That means aggressive driving is illegal. It’s similar to reckless-driving. It’s also downright dangerous and a real problem here in Las Vegas.
According to GasBuddy, Las Vegas is ranked tenth in the top 10 cities with most aggressive drivers.
If you are the victim of an accident caused by aggressive driving in the Las Vegas area, you need an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney on your side. Your attorney should be able to help you by referring competent medical care to you, proving fault, filing claims, seeking damages, and recovering the compensation award you deserve if you suffer loses arising from the actions of an aggressive driver.
Maybe you've seen the Welcome to Texas signs having what may be a proviso: Drive Friendly — The Texas Way.
If you don't drive friendly are you unwelcome to Texas?
No worries, you're not in Texas, you're in Las Vegas, The Entertainment Capital of the World.
Bonus factoid: Texas has less than ten times the population of Nevada, but more than ten times the traffic-related fatalities. The more you know!
You have an ethical and a legal duty to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly when you get behind the wheel. You are reasonable to expect that your care and attention in this matter will be reciprocated by other drivers.
Unfortunately, emotions sometimes get the better of your fellows. After all, is there anyone who hasn’t felt a surge of rage when behind the wheel? What can be the cause of this rage? Some say that fear leads to anger, but sometimes we get angry for good reasons. What’s important is to not let ourselves be overcome by our emotions like anger because it changes us. If a driver is overcome, a switch might flip, and aggressive driving may be the result. Don’t let that driver be you.
What does Nevada law spell out for aggressive driving in Las Vegas?
Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes NRS 484B.650 ”Acts constituting aggressive driving; penalties; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone or pedestrian safety zone.“, literally:
1. A driver commits an offense of aggressive driving if, during any single, continuous period of driving within the course of 1 mile, the driver does all the following, in any sequence: (a) Commits one or more acts of speeding in violation of NRS 484B.363 or 484B.600. (b) Commits two or more of the following acts, in any combination, or commits any of the following acts more than once: (1) Failing to obey an official traffic-control device in violation of NRS 484B.300. (2) Overtaking and passing another vehicle upon the right by driving off the paved portion of the highway in violation of NRS 484B.210. (3) Improper or unsafe driving upon a highway that has marked lanes for traffic in violation of NRS 484B.223. (4) Following another vehicle too closely in violation of NRS 484B.127. (5) Failing to yield the right-of-way in violation of any provision of NRS 484B.250 to 484B.267, inclusive. (c) Creates an immediate hazard, regardless of its duration, to another vehicle or to another person, whether or not the other person is riding in or upon the vehicle of the driver or any other vehicle. 2. A driver may be prosecuted and convicted of an offense of aggressive driving in violation of subsection 1 whether or not the driver is prosecuted or convicted for committing any of the acts described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection 1. 3. A driver who commits an offense of aggressive driving in violation of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and: (a) For the first offense, shall be punished: (1) By a fine of not less than $250 but not more than $1,000; or (2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months. (b) For the second offense, shall be punished: (1) By a fine of not less than $1,000 but not more than $1,500; or (2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months. (c) For the third and each subsequent offense, shall be punished: (1) By a fine of not less than $1,500 but not more than $2,000; or (2) By both fine and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months. 4. In addition to any other penalty pursuant to subsection 3: (a) For the first offense within 2 years, the court shall order the driver to attend, at the driver’s own expense, a course of traffic safety approved by the Department and may issue an order suspending the driver’s license of the driver for a period of not more than 30 days. (b) For a second or subsequent offense within 2 years, the court shall issue an order revoking the driver’s license of the driver for a period of 1 year. 5. To determine whether the provisions of paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection 4 apply to one or more offenses of aggressive driving, the court shall use the date on which each offense of aggressive driving was committed. 6. If the driver is already the subject of any other order suspending or revoking his or her driver’s license, the court shall order the additional period of suspension or revocation, as appropriate, to apply consecutively with the previous order. 7. If the court issues an order suspending or revoking the driver’s license of the driver pursuant to this section, the court shall require the driver to surrender to the court all driver’s licenses then held by the driver. The court shall, within 5 days after issuing the order, forward the driver’s licenses and a copy of the order to the Department. 8. If the driver successfully completes a course of traffic safety ordered pursuant to this section, the Department shall cancel three demerit points from his or her driving record in accordance with NRS 483.448 or 483.475, as appropriate, unless the driver would not otherwise be entitled to have those demerit points cancelled pursuant to the provisions of that section. 9. This section does not preclude the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license of the driver, or the suspension of the future driving privileges of a person, pursuant to any other provision of law. 10. A person who violates any provision of subsection 1 may be subject to any additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130 or 484B.135. (Added to NRS by 1999, 1385; A 2003, 1243, 3243; 2007, 2729; 2015, 1576) — (Substituted in revision for NRS 484.3765)
Definition of aggressive driving in Nevada
My interpretation is that aggressive driving requires that within one continuous mile of driving you commit three violations in any order:
- creating a hazard to another vehicle or to any person including passengers in your vehicle;
- speeding; and
- perform two or more specific reckless acts, in any combination, or one of the reckless acts more than once.
The specific reckless acts are:
- Failure to obey an official traffic-control device;
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle on the right by driving off the paved portion of the highway;
- Improper or unsafe driving on a highway that has marked lanes for traffic (failing to use turn signals for lane change);
- Following another vehicle too closely; and
- Failing to yield the right-of-way.
Penalties for aggressive driving in Nevada
Nevada traffic law makes aggressive driving an offense in and of itself. This means that you could be prosecuted for aggressive driving independently of the other offenses that together enable the aggressive driving violation.
In other words, you could get three or more tickets at once, one ticket for each enabling violation and one ticket for aggressive driving.
This is a complex law and you have to commit several violations within a short distance (one continuous mile of driving).
How will it be proved that you committed these violations within one mile, and not 1.5 miles? In many cases the traffic officer will charge you with reckless driving, or one or more of the enabling violations upon which the aggressive driving charge would have been based.
- You will have to pay a fine of at least $250 and up to $1,000 — or — You will have to pay a fine and be sentenced to county jail for a period of up to six months.
- You will also have to attend a traffic school approved by the court at your expense, and the court may suspend your license for a period of up to 30 days.
- You will have to pay a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $1,500 — or — You will have to pay the fine and be sentenced to county jail for a period of up to six months.
- The court will also issue an order revoking the driver’s license of the driver for a period of one year.
Third and Subsequent Offenses
- You will have to pay a fine of at least $1,500 and up to $2,000 — or — You will have to pay the fine and be sentenced to county jail for a period of up to six months.
- The court will also issue an order revoking the driver’s license of the driver for a period of one year.
If you are already the subject of any other order suspending or revoking your drivers license, the court will order the additional period of suspension or revocation to apply consecutively with the previous order.
What is aggressive driving?
You may have heard it called “road rage.” It has certainly been popularized using that term. By whatever name you call it, the Insurance Information Institute (III) finds that “aggressive driving is a major factor in U.S. traffic accidents, playing a role not just in well-publicized incidents of road rage, but in a large number of fatal highway collisions each year.”
The American Automobile Association (AAA) provides examples of aggressive driving behaviors including:
- speeding in heavy traffic;
- cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down;
- running red lights;
- weaving in and out of traffic;
- changing lanes without signaling;
- blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes; and
- using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers.
You may have already experienced other drivers exhibiting these behaviors. You would not be alone. One problem is that we may never know how many accidents are caused by road rage and not just simple negligence because an unknown portion of these behaviors is caused by human error, rather than conscious decisions to take risks and drive aggressively.
Nevertheless, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey in which nearly 9 in 10 respondents said that they believed aggressive drivers were a threat to their personal safety.
Speeding is a required enabling violation for a charge of aggressive driving in Nevada for good reason. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding killed 9,717 people in the year 2017, accounting for 26 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. Even if you do not cause injury, speeding is also bad for fuel economy and the environment.
How does this happen on our roadways?
First we must understand that not all instances of the behaviors that are categorized as aggressive driving are volitional.
For example, errors in judgement can result in right-of-way violations; driver inattention can result in failures to obey traffic signals and signs; and while it may be a violation, driving in excess of a speed limit does not always endanger persons or property, nor does it necessarily involve an aggressive intent. Several factors can contribute to a single example of aggressive driving.
Excluding human error, NHTSA theorizes that the following six factors contribute to aggressive driving:
- traffic delays;
- disregard for the law;
- habitual or clinical behavior;
- disregard for others; and
- running late.
You can see that aggressive driving or road rage appears to be a social problem, that is, it appears to be a symptom of a structural defect in our society. As we become more isolated in an increasingly “connected” world, our worldview is compromised and we may find our fellow drivers to be more like hindrances than the human beings full of potential that they are.
Whatever the cause, the incidence of aggressive driving is increasing worldwide such that NHTSA, law enforcement, and other agencies now participate in coordinated programs to reduce it. For example, the North Las Vegas Police Department conducted recently a special operation targeting aggressive drivers in the Las Vegas area.
What injuries are caused by aggressive driving auto accidents?
There is a good reason to be wary of aggressive driving because it can produce all types of accidents from fender-benders to head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, rollovers, serious rear-end crashes, sideswipe collisions, and serial crashes or major accidents involving many vehicles. With all types of accidents possible, aggressive driving can cause bodily injuries including:
- head injuries;
- traumatic brain injuries;
- internal injuries;
- bone fracture injuries;
- soft tissue injuries;
- psychological trauma; and
Who is liable for an accident caused by aggressive driving?
It can be difficult to determine who is to blame when an accident occurs. In many cases, an investigation will need to be conducted in order to discover what went wrong and who, or what, was responsible.
In all cases, if a driver neglects his or her duty of care to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonably safe and careful manner, and if this act of negligence causes the car accident, then this driver can be held liable for any damages that result.
This means that if you have been involved in an accident caused by a driver guilty of any of the actions above, you can seek damages directly from this driver to compensate you for your losses, including:
- your medical bills;
- pain and suffering (diminution in quality of life related to injuries from the accident);
- lost wages; and
- property damage.
I have more information about building the case for compensation.
How to start the claims process after an aggressive driver hits you
You have three options for recovering damages if you are involved in an accident with an aggressive driver:
- you may file a claim with the insurance of the at-fault driver;
- file a claim with your own insurance (which you may do if you have collision coverage, Med Pay coverage, or uninsured motorist / under-insured motorist coverage); or
- file a lawsuit directly against the negligent driver.
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after your crash to report the accident and to begin the claims process. However, if the insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, you should refrain from doing so until you have spoken with an attorney.