Ten states -- Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia -- have enacted laws making "aggressive driving" a specific offense. The District has no such statute.
Maryland law says aggressive driving occurs when a motorist commits at least three of these traffic offenses in close proximity: speeding, disregarding a traffic sign or light, passing another vehicle unsafely, passing another vehicle on the right, driving improperly on a laned road, following another vehicle too closely, failing to yield the right of way. Penalty: $355 fine.
Virginia says aggressive driving occurs when a motorist commits any of these offenses with the intent to harass or obstruct another person: speeding, stopping on a highway, failing to drive on the right side of the road, failing to drive in marked lanes, following another vehicle too closely, failing to yield the right of way, disregarding a traffic sign or light, passing another vehicle on the right.
Penalty: Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Aggressive driving with intent to injure another person is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
SOURCES: National Conference of State Legislatures; Maryland and Virginia highway officials
Rage by the Numbers
A 1997 study done for AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety found at least 10,037 incidents nationwide from 1990 to 1996 in which an angry or impatient motorist or passenger intentionally injured or killed, or tried to injure or kill, another person as a result of a traffic dispute.
In those incidents:
* 218 people died.
* 12,610 people were injured.
* at least 90 percent of the attackers were male.