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North Jersey Drivers: More Aggressive Than Ever

If you're a skilled and experienced North Jersey driver suspecting that courtesy on the roadways is not what it was in the past and that motor vehicle accidents are on the rise, your instincts are as sharp as your motor skills.

 "Civility and courtesy have left our roadways," says August "Chip" Greiner, deputy director of the Bergen County Police Office of Highway Safety. "More people are using a car as a weapon."

Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox echoes that sentiment. He states that his department is "seeing aggressive driving complaints being reported at an unprecedented level."

Aggression on the road is obviously serious business, and state lawmakers are strongly focused on it. New Jersey law does not currently have a specific charge for aggressive driving, which makes it hard to identify and punish repeat offenders. A new bill, though, seeks to lump several types of driving actions together in a manner than cumulatively rises to the level of aggressive driving. Its sponsor, Assemblyman Jon M. Brammick, states that, "If you do all of these things, you're an aggressive driver. You should be punished more significantly."

Why the rise in road rage? Opinions vary somewhat, but coalesce around a common theme that stresses anger and frustration arising from people feeling harried and hurried in society. Spending a considerable amount of time in traffic, as most people do, "tends to aggravate" their frustration and result in aggressive driving behavior, says Pam Fischer, director the New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

That is all too often a proven recipe for disaster. Statistics from AAA report that nearly 60 percent of fatal accidents between 2003 and 2007 nationwide involved aggressive driving behavior.

Careful and considerate drivers need to exercise constant vigilance to keep safe and at a distance from the dangerous maneuverings of others. That is admittedly not easy. As Paramus Deputy Police Chief James Sheehan notes, "There is a tremendous amount of volume out there and I think a lot of people are stressed."

Related Resource: "Road rage: Cops, lawmakers try to slam brakes on aggressive drivers" August 10, 2010

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