Road Rage And Predatory Driving
It is an offence to drive a vehicle at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to the public. The test is not an absolute one and the driver must be shown to have been at fault. The test is not on the result and it is sufficient for the prosecution to prove that a member of the public is placed in a position of potential danger.
The NSW Government recently introduced a measure with the intention of dealing with ‘road rage’.
The recently introduced Section 51A of the Crimes Act 1900 makes it an offence where the driver of a vehicle while, in the pursuit of or travelling near another vehicle:
- Engages in a course of conduct that causes or threatens an impact involving another vehicle; and
- Intends by that course of conduct to cause a person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm.
This may include conduct such as aggressive driving, tailgating and road rage.
The causation of actual bodily harm is not necessary in order to prove this offence. The Police may be able to prove this offence by showing the Court that the driver intended for such course of conduct, by the conduct of the driver.
Furthermore, the definition of the word “impact” is loosely defined and may include circumstances where:
- The vehicle has an impact with any other vehicle or a person or an object; or
- The vehicle overturns or leaves the road.
This offence carries an imprisonment sentence of five (5) years or a fine of $100,000.00 or both.