A mere two blocks from the Beverly Hills Police Station, Road Rage reared its ugly head. “It was ridiculous,” college junior ‘Matt,’ told me.
One minute Matt was behind the wheel of his Prius waiting for the light to turn green. The next minute, the truck driver in the next car tossed a Skittles candy wrapper out the window. Matt honked at the litterbug and shook his head ‘no.’ In response, the guy deliberately threw a plastic bag out the window. Matt honked again and gave the litterbug a dirty look. The guy flipped him The Bird.
At this point, Matt blew the guy a few kisses.
“Why’d you do that?” I asked.
“Just to freak him out,” he laughed.
When the light turned green, though, this otherwise rational young man decided to teach the litterbug a lesson. He tailgated the truck driver for several minutes through the side streets of Beverly Hills. At some point, the other driver decided to hightail it. Thankfully, the confrontation ended without anyone getting hurt.
A few months ago, however, a case of Road Rage took a more ominous turn. The driver of a white BMW deliberately slammed into a cyclist. A rolling camera behind someone’s home recorded a shocking scene.
Though Matt never physically hurt anyone, what he did was stupid and dangerous. It’s also illegal.
California law 13210 specifically addresses road rage.
A person driving in an aggressive manner can be charged with reckless driving. A conviction can result in a fine up to $1000 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days.
An aggressive driving case can also lead to charges of assault with a deadly weapon. A car can be considered a deadly weapon and a conviction can be a jail sentence up to one year.
Felony Criminal Charges
Under California Penal code Section 245, a conviction of dangerous and aggressive driving can result in a prison sentence ranging between 2 and 4 years.
In addition to criminal penalties, drivers guilty of road rage through overly aggressive driving or physical assault can also be subject to civil lawsuits by those harmed by angry drivers.
My sons are drivers who, from time to time, get frustrated by all the distracted driving and constant traffic around them. When I preach patience, they don’t have to listen just because I’m their mom. It’s either that or risk losing their license and killing time behind bars.