Road rage is a phenomenon that occurs often and is very dangerous. Drivers, often set off by a minor inconvenience or error, can fly off the handle, causing them to drive in ways that endanger themselves, their target, and everyone else on the road. In Georgia, the legal term for road rage is “aggressive driving,” and it is a major problem for Georgia drivers. 

According to GDOT data from 2022, an average of about five people die every day on Georgia roads. More shockingly, according to the AJC, “Aggressive driving was a factor in one of every five of the fatalities.” Since aggressive driving is such a problem on our roads, let’s look at the relevant laws regarding this issue. 

Georgia distinguishes aggressive driving from reckless driving, and the former carries much more severe consequences. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-397 (2022) states: “A person commits the offense of aggressive driving when he or she operates any motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person” This can include behaviors such as speeding, changing lanes unsafely, passing when not permitted to do so, tailgating, failing to signal a turn or lane change, a brake checking, among others. Because the nature of ‘aggressive driving’ is so broad, it is impossible to define all possible behaviors that could be included in this act. This means it is up to a police officer to make such a determination on the spot based on the situation at hand and his or her understanding of the facts. 

O.C.G.A. labels aggressive driving as a “misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature,” which can carry a fine of up to $5,000, up to 12 months in Jail, or both. This is distinguished from reckless driving, considered a regular misdemeanor with lesser punishments. The distinction here exists because aggressive driving is done with the intent to obstruct or harm another driver. An aggressive driving conviction will also add six points to one’s driver’s license. Once fifteen points are reached during a two-year period, one’s license will be suspended. More points also come with the possibility of higher insurance premiums. Additionally, an aggressive driver can be held liable for damages in personal injury suits. 

Remember that the law can’t cover all kinds of aggression while driving. Because of this, it’s important to practice defensive driving to ensure your own safety on the road. Make sure to maintain distance from other vehicles, avoid speeding, and always report suspicious activity. Always remain calm when behind the wheel, and avoid driving during times of high emotion. If you encounter an aggressive driver, avoid interacting. Remember:

It’s better to arrive alive than escalate a minor traffic incident. For more information on aggressive driving, visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website.

If you’ve been injured by an aggressive driver, you may be entitled to receive damages. We know this can be a challenging experience, both because of physical and emotional trauma and because of the complexities of seeking redress. Our experienced auto accident attorneys in Atlanta can help you navigate the legal aftermath of your incident and get you the compensation you deserve.

Call us at (404) 888-0500 today for a free consultation.