Aggressive driving—a term coined in the 1990s—consists of several potentially dangerous behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling and running red lights and stop signs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that excessive speed was a factor in 27% of all fatal crashes in 2015, with a cost of $40 billion annually. Additionally, if speed increases by 50%, the energy released in a crash more than doubles.
Aggressive driving can escalate to “road rage,” a more extreme version of aggressive driving, typified by cursing, obscene gestures, ramming, sideswiping or running other vehicles off the road. It’s important to distinguish between aggressive driving—a traffic violation—and road rage—a criminal offense. Data compiled in 2019 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicated that almost 80% of drivers exhibit aggression, road rage or significant anger while behind the wheel.
“Aggressive drivers hurt their fleets,” said Belinda Rueffer, vice president of marketing at GPS Insight, Scottsdale, Ariz. In addition to the obvious safety concern, aggressive driving can increase fuel costs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that aggressive driving can decrease gas mileage by 15%–30% on highways and 10%–40% in cities. This can have a cumulative impact on a fleet’s budget.
To counteract the negative effects of aggressive driving, fleet manager can use telematics and smart dash cams to collect data on each of their driver’s behaviors and implement driver coaching. These measures can help fleet managers end aggressive driving, cut expenses, improve efficiency and protect drivers.
“Using telematics and dashcams can help reduce aggressive driving by revealing each driver’s behavior,” Rueffer said. “Telematics can monitor a driver’s speeding, harsh braking and other bad habits, identifying coaching—and discipline—opportunities.”
Telematics combined with dashcams can also protect drivers by determining if a behavior was warranted in the context of their driving conditions, thereby boosting safety and reducing accidents.
Rueffer observed that even experienced, conscientious drivers can lose control when furious or agitated. “On-time delivery or service demands and long hours on the road can make fleet drivers hostile,” she said. “Putting an end to aggressive driving is in the best interest of everyone on the road.”
About The Author
Lori Lovely is an award-winning writer and editor in central Indiana. She writes on technical topics, heavy equipment, automotive, motorsports, energy, water and wastewater, animals, real estate, home improvement, gardening and more. Reach her at: [email protected]