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Tennessee Traffic Safety: Are Your Aggressive Driving Habits Increasing Your Risk for an Accident?

Are you an aggressive driver?

Most would answer “no” to that question. And yet the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates more than half of all accidents are caused by some form of aggressive driving. An experienced Knoxville injury lawyer can thoroughly review the facts and circumstances of your accident.

We recently reported on our Tennessee Injury Attorney Blog about the importance of conducting a through investigation into the facts and circumstances of a trucking accident. Doing so for a serious auto accident is no less important. Motorists should take pictures at the scene, and collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. Inspecting the damaged vehicles may also be important. In some instances evidence uncovered may include cell phone use, or that a driver was eating, applying makeup or otherwise distracted.

When we discuss aggressive driving, most people think of road rage, or other instances of assault or near assault. Those may even result in criminal charges. But aggressive driving has evolved to include a wide range of behaviors that show disregard for the safety of other motorists on the road. More than 90 percent of motorists view it as a serious threat to traffic safety.

They just do it anyway. Driving behaviors that may characterize dangerous or aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Red light running
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to use signal
  • Failure to yield
  • Failure to make a complete stop
  • Failure to obey traffic control device

All of these behaviors go toward proving negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Few “accidents” are truly “accidental.” Modifying driver behavior is the only thing that will significantly reduce accident rates. Start with your behavior. As we reported in December, the number of fatal Tennessee car accidents has increased as the economy has continued to improve.

And, while an increasing number of states are putting emphasis on passing distracted-driving laws, enforcement is another matter entirely.

Tennessee now has one of the most comprehensive text-message bans in the nation, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Primary enforcement permits law enforcement to stop a motorist caught text messaging, even if the driver is not committing another moving violation.

However, hand-held phone use remains legal behind the wheel. This makes enforcement of the law a challenge because officers often will not attempt to differentiate between a motorist dialing a phone (legal) and one sending a text messaging (illegal).

But whether an activity is legal and whether it is safe are different matters entirely. A healthy dose of common sense can go a long way toward keeping you out of an accident. Something as simple as allowing yourself extra time in bad weather, can make a real difference. When we are in a hurry, we are quickly impatient and are at increased risks of causing an accident. In fact, driving too fast for conditions is the leading cause of weather-related crashes.

As we close out January, take a minute to make a resolution to be a better driver in 2012.

If you or a family member has been involved in a Tennessee traffic accident, call (865) 524-5657 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources

Hand-held Cell Phone Ban Could Reduce Risk of Tennessee Trucking Accidents, Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C., December 31, 2010.

Winter Weather Contributing to Numerous Car Accidents on Tennessee Interstates, Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C., Jan. 4, 2012.

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