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Road rage incidents are becoming alarmingly common

Government crash data and the results of several studies suggest that drivers in Wyoming and around the country are becoming increasingly angry and aggressive. The number of deadly motor vehicle accidents caused by enraged motorists has increased exponentially according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and researchers from the nonprofit advocacy group Trace found that incidents involving drivers brandishing guns or firing into other vehicles increased by 373 to a worrying 620 between 2014 and 2016.

A poll of Americans conducted by the American Automobile Association reveals that the surge in road rage cannot be blamed on a small group of unstable drivers. Almost eight out of 10 of the motorists polled told the AAA that they had succumbed to extreme behind-the-wheel anger at least once during the preceding 12 months, and more than half admitted to driving aggressively to encourage other road users to speed up. Other common forms of dangerous behavior included cutting vehicles off intentionally and aggressively preventing other drivers from changing lanes or merging onto highways.

Experts believe the problem has many causes, but they put most of the blame on the pressures of modern life and the hectic schedules many Americans subject themselves to. Other factors that could be provoking anger on the roads include powerful prescription medications, drug and alcohol abuse, and the growing number of motorists who drive slowly or unpredictably because they are distracted by cellphones.

Drivers who cause accidents and injuries or deaths while enraged may be held accountable in criminal as well as civil courts. Individuals convicted of vehicular assault or homicide may be fined thousands of dollars and sent to prison for many years, but that does not mean that their victims are unable to seek compensation. In such a situation, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate a car accident lawsuit against the incarcerated driver or their auto insurance company.

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