States Fight Against Aggressive Driving


Aggressive driving is identified with red-light running, failing to yield, following too closely, and unsafe lane changing. Usually, aggressive driving occurs when two or more of these behaviors occur during a single, continuous driving period.

Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, and Rhode Island have laws specifically targeting aggressive drivers, while other states have legislation pending. Since the majority of states don't have specific aggressive driving laws, most target the problem with laws already passed, such as reckless driving, negligent driving, or vehicular manslaughter.

Since an aggressive driver commits a series of these acts together, many states are charging the driver with each of the observed offenses.

This "makes a strong statement that this dangerous behavior will not be tolerated," said John Moffat, NAGHSR chairman.


One way of holding drivers accountable is enforcement of traffic laws. "Frequent and well-publicized enforcement of these laws has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of reducing the problem," Moffat noted.

Thirty-one states indicated that they have some type of special aggressive driving enforcement effort, but methods vary significantly from state to state, according to NAGHSR.
Unmarked vehicles regularly patrol for aggressive driving in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington. South Carolina and Washington also use -special enforcement teams on targeted roadways to concentrate on aggressive behavior.

Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia use aircraft or helicopters for enforcement. Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, use technology in enforcement efforts. This includes signs that display the driver's speed and upcoming road conditions, helicopters that electronically download images to squad cars, laser devices that photograph an offending driver's license plate, and automated enforcement at intersections to prevent red-light running.

High Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic

The High Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) Program aims to reduce traffic fatalities by changing attitudes about traffic safety laws.

Objectives of the HEAT Program

To affect existing travel speeds so they more closely match the posted speed limit.
To increase driver awareness of the safety issues around aggressive driving through a multimedia education campaign
To improve efficiency and effectiveness of aggressive traffic enforcement efforts and reduce traffic speeds and aggressive traffic related crashes.