By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsFebruary 24, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aggressive driving, according to Maryland vehicle law, consists of at least three violations that can occur in a continuous movement. This behavior can include speeding, tailgating, frequent and unnecessary lane changes, failure to stop at a red light or stop sign, or passing on the shoulder lane.
Traffic Section Supervisor Lt. Joseph Davis of the Directorate of Emergency Services said aggressive driving, as defined above, is fairly rare at APG. He said incidents of road rage -- defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "anger and aggressive behavior by a driver who is upset by how another person is driving" -- are also uncommon.
"The last reported incident of road rage on APG occurred six months ago," Davis said. "Most motorists on this installation are very courteous. There is always an exception of someone having a bad day, and tempers will flare. Federal employees are generally very good about notifying the police when something is wrong."
Davis suggested if APG drivers see a motorist driving act dangerously, they should immediately call 911, record the offending vehicle?'s license plate number if possible, and get a description of the violator. Davis advised to remain calm and to avoid any verbal or physical contact with the violator. He cautioned that there have been road rage cases off the installation that have resulted in fatalities. According to an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, in the U.S. over 300 road rage incidents occur per year involving serious injuries and fatalities.
"If someone is bullying you behind the wheel, the best thing to do is to avoid any contact and proceed to a ?"safe haven" like the police station, Commissary, or PX (Exchange)." He said. ?"If you try to stand your ground, the situation could escalate."
Davis said the best offense to aggressive driving is to drive defensively and always be aware of one?'s surroundings.
At APG, ticketed drivers will receive a federal citation and the case will be tried by a U.S. magistrate judge. The driver's supervisor will also be notified.
"If the violation is serious enough, like driving under the influence, violators can actually have their installation driving privileges suspended or revoked," Davis said. "They could even be barred from coming to work."
Violators charged with aggressive driving could be fined at least $400 and charged with five points on their driving record.
"The judge has the leeway to take the fine up to $1,000," Davis said.
Davis said the best way to avoid falling victim to aggressive driving is to plan ahead, allowing plenty of time for a driver to reach his or her destination. He also cautioned against transporting people who are having medical emergencies.
"That is what they have emergency services for, to transport those people," he said. "If you are driving a critically ill person, you could harm the patient and yourself. You might not even reach your destination."
For more information on aggressive driving, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, http://www.nhtsa.gov/Aggressive.