Road rage is skyrocketing in Houston
Within recent years, roughly 80 percent of U.S. drivers expressed anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel, according to a survey by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Locally, Houston authorities say road rage is up 30% this year.
No matter where you drive in Houston or the Lone Star State, you’re bound to experience traffic jams filled with impatient drivers who swerve in and out of lanes, cut other drivers off and worst of all, brake check.
Sometimes, aggressive driving habits and road rage such as brake checking lead to car accidents, resulting in severe injuries, acts of violence such as assaults, or even death.
In a 2020 article with KHOU News 11, Houston’s Police Department (HPD) Chief Art Acevedo states more than 200 road rage incidents have been reported this year and at least six ended up being fatal.
These alarming rates prompted Governor Abbot to mobilize the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to deploy resources to HPD to combat road rage in Houston.
What is brake checking?
Brake checking is slang for brake test.
Brake checking can be identified when a driver abruptly slams on their brakes, causing the car that was following them to brake, swerve, or react quickly to avoid a rear-end auto collision, motorcycle crash, or truck accident.
This type of behavior takes road rage to new heights as the aggressive driver’s sole intent is retaliation against the following driver by wrecking the car or making the other driver uncomfortable.
At this point, the aggressive driver does not care if his actions result in a rear-end collision.
If you are the victim of an accident involving brake checking, it is important to take steps to protect rights and pursue justice with the assistance of a Houston personal injury attorney who offers a proven track record of success.
Is there a penalty for brake checking in Texas?
Although Texas does not have a specific law in place to address brake checking, since this behavior is a form of reckless driving, a driver can be penalized for it under the Texas Transportation Code, which states:
- Reckless driving offense: A person makes an offense if he/she drives a vehicle with disregard for the safety of others. Texas Transportation Code 545.401.
- Following distance: A driver must maintain clear distance between vehicles to ensure their vehicle can stop without crashing into the vehicle in front of them. Texas Transportation Code 545.062.
This means if a driver intentionally brake-checks another driver and causes an accident, the driver who committed the offense can receive a citation from the police.
The penalties for reckless driving in Texas includes a fine of $200, jail time for up to 30 days, or both.
Who pays for a car accident caused by brake checking?
Vehicle incidents involving brake checking are hard to prove. Brake-checking is a common defense used in a rear-end motor vehicle accident, and it’s possible for the driver who performed the bad act of brake-checking to skip out on liability by proving the other driver is to blame.
To determine responsibility, physical forms of evidence can help build a strong injury claim case like witness statements and or dash cam video footage. Indeed, dash cams can make a big difference in a car accident. This type of video evidence can stand alone to prove the aggressive driver responsible for the car accident.
Sometimes both drivers may share the blame for the accident. With the comparative negligence laws in Texas, a plaintiff (you) in a personal injury claim may recover damages even if you share up to 50% of fault for the accident.
That’s why it’s important to have a Houston personal injury attorney at your side for accidents involving brake checking. Brake-checking accidents are complex situations that require the expertise of a knowledgeable injury lawyer.
Easy ways to avoid aggressive driving and brake checking
At the end of the day, drivers hold the key to avoiding aggressive driving and brake checking.
With the five quick tips we’ve provided below, you can avoid being a victim of road rage on Houston’s highways and byways:
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you.
- Remain calm.
- Don’t offend and don’t engage the other driver.
- Don’t be afraid to call 911 and report signs of road rage to the police.
*For more detailed tips, check out AAA’s brochure, Road Rage: How to Avoid Aggressive Driving.
Contact aggressive Houston personal injury attorneys to fight by your side
The only aggression you want is in your attorney. Our tough and experienced injury lawyers will fight hard to recover the damages you suffered from an aggressive driver. Were you injured in a car accident due to brake checking or other forms of road rage in Houston or the State of Texas? Contact the Houston personal injury attorneys of Johnson Garcia LLP for a free consultation and speak to a top-rated injury lawyer about your rights.