New Law Toughens Penalty For Aggressive Driving

Posted August 17, 2004 5:23 a.m. EDT

— State law is now on the side of area motorists who are tired of speeders, tailgaters and rapid lane changers.

A bill signed into law Tuesday will make aggressive driving one of the most serious driving offenses in North Carolina.

Starting Dec. 1, aggressive driving will become a five-point violation. That is just as serious as passing a stopped school bus.

"It should be five points," driver Matthew Pokusa said. "I mean, it's dangerous to be driving like that. And if you're driving like that, you should be getting points like that."

Under the new law, aggressive driving will be defined as speeding with at least two of the following violations:

  • Running a red light.
  • Running a stop sign.
  • Illegal passing.
  • Failing to yield.
  • Tailgating.
  • Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Chapel Hill, sponsored the legislation.

    "I have eyes to see, as do other citizens of North Carolina," Hackney said. "There's a lot of aggressive driving out there, and it's extremely dangerous."

    Hackney said the goal is to make even the busiest roads -- like Interstate 40 -- safer. People who drive I-40 every day have lots of aggressive-driving tales to tell.

    "There were two tractor-trailer trucks, and I know I had to pull off the road because no one would let me in," driver Diana Brower said. "And when they did let me in, I was in between, and they were rushing to get through, and there was nowhere to go, because if you hit that wall, you're gone."

    The intent of stronger laws and stronger penalties is to save lives. The threat of five points against a driver's license may convince more people to calm down behind the wheel.