Aggressive driving can be seen every day somewhere in Virginia, but few of us call it aggressive driving. We might call it dangerous, stupid, reckless, or childish. The colloquial designation is “road rage.”
Under Virginia Law, aggressive driving is distinguished from reckless driving. The basis of the distinction is the intention of the driver’s actions. Aggressive driving is any behavior that is intended to “harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct” other drivers. The same behavior may be considered reckless driving without this intent.
Twelve driving behaviors are identified in the law (Virginia Code § 46.2 – 868.1):
- Driving on the wrong side of a highway.
- Failure to observe lanes marked for traffic.
- Following too closely (tailgating).
- Failure to stop or yield the right-of-way before entering certain highways.
- Evasion of traffic control devices.
- Passing when overtaking a vehicle.
- When overtaking vehicle may pass on the right.
- Driver failing to yield to overtaking vehicles.
- Driver failing to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on a divided highway.
- Failure to observe limitations on overtaking and passing.
- Any provision of Article 8 of Chapter 8 of Title 46.2 (speed), or stopping on highways.
- And that driver is a hazard to another person or commits an offense with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person.
Aggressive driving is to be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor for punishment. Aggressive driving with the intention of injuring another person is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor. “In addition to these penalties, the court may require successful completion of an aggressive driving program.” If no one is injured and the offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, the penalty is jail time of not more than six months and/or a fine of no more than $1,000. If there is intent to injure, the Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable with no more than 12 months in jail and/or a fine of no more than $2,500.
To convict a driver of aggressive driving, the prosecution must prove two things: (1) that the driver violated one or more of the offenses listed in the Virginia Code and ( 2) that the driver was a hazard to another person or must commit one of the offenses with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.
If someone is injured by a reckless or aggressive driver, a civil personal injury lawsuit may ensue.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a reckless or aggressive driver, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C. for an evaluation of your injuries and the accident. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been representing those harmed by the negligence or wrongdoing of others (and through no fault of their own) for more than 30 years. When you are trying to rebuild your life after an auto accident tragedy, they understand that it’s about the money.