The term ‘road rage’ was derived from a series of shootings on the highways in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It has since become synonymous with a string of aggressive driving offenses. Many road rage offenses carry a severe penalty in Texas.
The term “road rage” in Texas is used broadly by police to describe aggressive driving, speeding, cutting off drivers and tailgating. These actions may be accompanied by excessive horn honking and rude gestures or even assaults.
There are no specific offenses that mention road rage. However, aggressive driving may be a factor in.
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine of $200. The Texas Transportation Code defines the offense as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Some types of road rage could constitute deadly misconduct in Texas. This could include deliberately cutting off another driver or seeking to run a driver off the road. The road rage driver is placing the other driver in danger of serious bodily injury because his aggressive actions could cause a motor vehicle accident or collision.
The offense of deadly misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor if it involves conduct that puts person another in danger.
Assault and battery
A road rage incident will be an assault or a battery when somebody is harmed if, for example, a driver punches another motorist in an altercation.
If the victim is killed in a road crash as a result of road rage or aggressive driving, the offense is likely to be charged as vehicular manslaughter.
A manslaughter offense is a second-degree felony in Texas. The charge usually carries a sentence of two to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.
Cities that Take a Proactive Approach to Road Rage
In some cases, road rage drivers may not be charged. In January, a TV station reported how one woman said she was going to pull a gun on another in San Antonio when she mistakenly thought another car hit hers.
The incident was caught on camera. Police said charges were not filed against either woman.
You should not assume you will escape charges if you lose your cool on the road. Even threatening words can constitute an assault.
A more serious incident was reported in Dallas in the same month. Police said one man walked up to a driver in a car on North Central Expressway after an altercation and punched him.
The person who was punched then pulled out a gun and shot the other man, CBS reported.
Some cities in Texas have taken a proactive approach to road rage. In 2000, the Lubbock Police Department initiated its Halt Aggressive Driving Program. Enforcement teams, working with fully loaded, unmarked cars worked overtime at certain locations to catch aggressive drivers.
Our Texas criminal defense attorneys can help you if you have been charged with an offense. Call us at (512) 474-4445.