What is aggressive driving?

Aggressive driving occurs when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that endangers other people or property. Aggressive driving behaviors include a variety of dangerous driving maneuvers:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Running red light and stop signs
  • Improper passing
  • Weaving

Research shows that aggressive driving is equally divided between car, SUV and motorcycle owners.

Aggressive driving plays a large part in crashes, injuries and fatalities. Itís projected that aggressive driving behaviors may contribute to more than 1,000 deaths a year to the four-jurisdiction region in which Smooth Operator is conducted. Thatís about three highway deaths per day across Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. AAA Mid-Atlantic and other public safety organizations consider aggressive driving an epidemic in the region.

Motorists in the Washington area rated aggressive driving as the number one threat to highway safety, according to the AAA Mid-Atlantic Transportation Poll 2005. About 44 percent of drivers are more concerned about tailgating, speeding, rage while driving, and reckless driving maneuvers more than any other danger. In fact, nearly eight out of 10 motorists say aggressive drivers are a greater danger than terrorists.

How to Report an Aggressive Driving Incident that Occurred in Maryland:

Maryland law defines aggressive driving as committing at the same time or during a continuous driving period, three or more of the following offenses:

  • traffic signal violation
  • improper passing
  • failure to drive in a single or proper lane
  • following too closely
  • failure to stop/yield right of way
  • exceeding the speed limit

As a matter of general information, please be aware that you have two options for 'officially' reporting an aggressive driver to law enforcement in Maryland. You can report an aggressive driver when the action is occurring, or you may file a report with the appropriate law enforcement agency after the fact. Or, as you know, to report a driver when he/she is exhibiting the aggressive driving behavior you should dial #77 on your cell phone, or dial 911 to report the driver. #77 is designed to help drivers report a driver in distress or exhibiting unsafe behavior, but understandably may not always be a viable option for motorists.

According to the Maryland State Police, a report can also be filed, and a citation written, by an officer without having witnessed the offense as long as the caller can identify the operator of the vehicle and provide a tag number, car make and model and is willing to serve as a witness. That situation is however, uncommon and not a requirement for reporting the behavior to the appropriate law enforcement agency. To call within Maryland and be directed to the appropriate State Police Barrack call 800-525-5555. If you prefer to contact a local agency you will need to know in which jurisdiction the violations occurred.

Additional information to keep in mind is to stay calm when encountering an aggressive driver, keep your distance from that driver, do not return gestures and remember not to take it personally. These tips and other information about aggressive driving, as well as the programs we have in place to combat it, can be obtained from the Maryland Highway Safety Office, or by visiting

The Smooth Operator program specifically is a regional effort to combat aggressive driving in the mid-Atlantic region. Our media ads and collateral materials are intended to educate the public about the dangers of aggressive driving as well as to support the concentrated enforcement efforts during the campaign. This program is fully supported by law enforcement across the state, and over sixty agencies in Maryland alone, including every barrack of the Maryland State Police, actively participate in the Smooth Operator enforcement waves.