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Study Ranks North Carolina Seventh in Aggressive Driving Deaths

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DURHAM — A new study shows North Carolina has the seventh highest rate of aggressive driving in the country.

The Surface Transportation Policy Project's rankings are based on the number of deaths caused by aggressive driving: speeding, tailgating, failing to yield and erratic lane changes.

According to the study:
  • Drivers in High Point caused the most driving deaths per 100,000 residents in 1996.
  • Fayetteville and Durham are among the top five cities most plagued by aggressive drivers.
  • Raleigh is the only other city in our area in the top ten.
  • "People bring their problems from work, home and other places to the highway. And we shouldn't do that," says 1st Sgt. Larry Davis of theNorth Carolina Highway Patrol.

    A driver from Michigan traveling North Carolina's highways admits she does get irritated behind the wheel.

    "[Especially] when you're driving and you want to get somewhere and it seems like everybody in the other cars are against you and trying to keep you from where you're trying to go," says motorist Roberta Wagner.

    Interstate 40 in Durham has helped make Durham the fourth most aggressive place to drive in the state.

    Durham police just made a road rage arrest. Investigators say Reginald Jones got so mad, he opened fire on another car, wounding a passenger. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

    Troopers say there is a simple solution to make the roads safer.

    "Don't blow the horn and aggravate your fellow citizen," says Davis. "Be courteous, let that person in. And if we all do that, then we won't have an aggressive driving problem."

    Fayetteville, which ranked third among North Carolina cities, is stepping up patrols to slow down aggressive drivers. As many as ten officers are looking for tailgaters, speeders, intersection blockers and lane weavers around Cross Creek Mall, and on Raeford and McPherson Church Roads.

    Aggressive drivers are warned then ticketed. If they find road rage to be a growing problem, Fayetteville police say they could be eligible for federal funding for more officers.

    The best tool out on the road to help curb aggressive driving is a cell phone. But police and troopers ask that you call *HP not 911. That line should only be used to report an emergency.


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