Improper Driving and Road Rage

Police report data regarding fatal crashes collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are available through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS includes crash data on driver-related factors and also indicates if speeding was a factor in a fatal crash. Multiple driver-related factors can be reported for each vehicle involved in a fatal crash.

National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of these data indicates that more than half of vehicles involved in fatal crashes had no driver-related factor reported (54.5%). The top reported factors include:

  • Speed too fast or unsafe – 18.4%
  • Careless driving – 8.8%
  • Failure to yield right-of-way – 6.9%
  • Improper lane usage – 5.7%
  • Chart
  • Data Table

Road Rage

Aggressive, sometimes violent, behavior by drivers usually stemming from stress related to driving or non-driving factors is commonly referred to as road rage. It can involve factors like speeding, illegal maneuvers, and false assumptions of other road user actions.

Most road rage instances go uncounted. Only road rage instances that involve crashes are included in the crash surveillance data, totaling only 1% of the vehicles involved in 2022 fatal crashes. Getting yelled at, flashed an obscene gesture, and being tailgated or cut off by another driver can be very upsetting, yet never result in a crash involving injury or death. In extreme instances, road rage can spill out of the vehicle and turn into assault.

Source: NSC analysis of NHTSA FARS data.