What Does the DMV Define as Road Rage?
In its continuing effort to remove irresponsible and negligent drivers from the road, The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) monitors the driving history and behavior of all California Drivers. DMV officials believe that telltale signs in a person’s driving behavior may reveal a person who either lacks the skill or knowledge to drive; or it may reveal the more dangerous person who cannot control their emotions when driving.
Operating a motor vehicle requires a person to master a complex set of skills. Driving on today’s roadways requires that a person be completely focused on the task at hand as the driving environment can change in an instant. When a person fails to control their emotions when driving, an act of Highway Violence (Road Rage) may occur. Road Rage is a problem that is seated in the emotion of an individual driver. Today’s highways are jammed with traffic and emotions can run high for a variety of reasons. Because Road Rage can easily result in severe injury or death, the California Department of Motor Vehicles considers it to be a danger to the public and will work aggressively to remove such a driver from the road.
The California DMV defines Road Rage as:
“Aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle which includes rude gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver in an effort to intimidate or release frustration.”
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that more than 1,200 incidents of Road Rage are reported each year. Clearly the actual numbers are much higher as many incidents are never reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has studied the issue and reports that 33 year old male drivers account for about 96% of all Road Rage incidents.
How Does The DMV Learn I Was Involved In Road Rage?
Information regarding a driver’s behavior will flow into the DMV on a daily basis from a variety of sources. Road Rage, however, is most often reported to the DMV through two means:
- Law Enforcement Referrals: Most commonly the DMV will learn of an act of Road Rage from law enforcement officers. Every day police officers respond to reports of Highway Violence; that we refer to as Road Rage. When a police officer contacts a driver who has engaged in Road Rage, the event may result in the arrest and prosecution of that person for a variety of crimes. In some cases, however, the actions of the driver, while dangerous, to not amount to a criminal act. In these instances, a law enforcement officer may opt to refer the matter to the DMV for a review of the driver’s privilege to drive. Anytime the DMV receives notification from law enforcement that a particular driver has been engaged in an act of Road Rage, the Department will automatically label that driver as a Negligent Operator and the suspension of that person’s driving privilege will begin.
- Private Party Referral: Any person may report an incident of Road Rage to the DMV. Either by telephone or by filling out a form that is available on-line, a person may report another driver’s dangerous driving to the DMV and the DMV will investigate. In cases like this, the reporting party may also request to remain anonymous.