Aggressive driving is a major factor in U.S. traffic accidents, playing a role not just in well-publicized incidents of road rage, but in a large number of fatal highway collisions each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) defines aggressive driving as occurring when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."
While aggressive driving is difficult to quantify, a 2009 study by the American Automobile Association attempted to identify behaviors associated with aggressive driving, based on data tracked by NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Report System (FARS). It found that aggressive driving played a role in 56 percent of fatal crashes from 2003 through 2007, with excessive speed being the number one factor. The following driver-related contributing factors in FARS were taken as indications that crashes may have involved aggressive driving:
For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. The NHTSA provide guides, planners and information to law enforcement professionals and prosecutors to assist in the reduction of aggressive driving on its website). Speeding is at the top of the list of related factors for drivers involved in fatal crashes. In 2017, 8,856 drivers who were involved in fatal crashes (or almost 17 percent) were speeding. In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that rising state speed limits over the past 25 years have cost nearly 37,000 lives, including more than 1,900 in 2017 alone. By 2019, 42 states had maximum speed limits of 70 mph or higher: on some portion of their roads, 22 states had maximum speed limits of 70 mph, and 11 states had maximum speed limits of 75 mph. Eight states had 80 mph limits, and drivers in Texas can legally drive 85 mph on one road, according to the IIHS.