Is Road Rage Considered A Criminal Offense – Texas Road Rage Law

houston road rage

Ever lose your temper? Many of us have. But, an infuriated driver behind the wheel of a car puts themselves and those around them in danger. Often called “road rage” (a term born from newscasts and TV programming from Los Angeles in the 1980’s) is now a widely used lingo that is indicative of a very dangerous offense.

Need a Houston, TX Road Rage Accident Lawyer? Call (832) 463-1003.

Texas Road Rage Law

Although “Road Rage”, itself, is commonly witnessed within various degrees, Texas law does not directly name “Road Rage” as an actual offense.

Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Texas Law does, however, consider aggressive driving actions as moving violations and physical attacks to be assault and battery (with or without the vehicle).

Vehicular Homicide in Houston

Vehicular homicide is covered for a death occurring during incidences on the road. “Reckless Driving”, a possible effect of road rage, is defined as “A Willful disregard for the safety of persons or property” by the state’s Transportation Code (a misdemeanor offense that can result in jailtime up to 30 days or a $200 fine).

Officers cay use the term “road rage” as a generalization when describing aggressive driving (tailgating, extreme honking of horns, abusive language or gestures, etc.). Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) defines the behavior of road rage as:

  1. Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
  2. Inappropriate physical or facial gestures
  3. Speeding, weaving, or tailgating
  4. Passing other drivers on the right side of a vehicle

National Definition of Road Rage

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association explains road rage in a more dangerous form – “An Assault with a motor vehicle or dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of another motor vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway”. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association distinguishes between aggressive driving and road rage, considering the latter to be a criminal offense, but the state laws still apply.

Road Rage Statistics

Statistics highlighting road rage and dangerous aggressive driving have resulted in some disturbing news that over 1,500 people are injured or killed by aggressive driving each year according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. They also found that 80% of aggressive driving is rated the danger as “serious” or “extremely serious”. Incidences noted to be increasing since 1990 according to the Texas DPS reports, albeit the statistics only point to actual collisions and do not take aggressive driving behavior that did not result in an accident into account.

Dallas Fort Worth Road Rage

The Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey from 2009 found that DFW was the second worst road rage metro area following New York City.

Houston Road Rage

An additional survey found Houston to have the most discourteous drivers in all of America in 2014, up from their #8 spot back in 2009, while DFW dropped to #13.

No San Antonio Road Rage

San Antonio was ranked #12 MOST COURTIEST city to drive in (Oregon coming in the #1 slot). These rankings were determined by independent research, a company hired by AutoVantage to conduct research from rush-hour commuters in major American cities. They looked at anything from tailgating, cutting people off, speeding, aggressive gestures/verbal comments, and running lights all the way to cell phone usage.

What Causes Road Rage?

Causes of road rage often start with the individual driver that may tend to lose their temper or have what psychologists have determined as “intermittent explosive disorder”. Tempers ignited from various acts on the road, resulting in the perception of incompetency or overtly rude drivers. Slow moving traffic when someone is in a hurry, even during traffic jams caused by situations out of drivers’ control, among others can result in driver aggravations. Most times it is impatience that fuels the fires of road rage.

How to Avoid

Avoiding road rage incidences can be as simple as first controlling emotions behind the wheel, avoid driving acts that provoke other drivers’ rage, and being alert to, and avoiding, such drivers. Those who want to avoid provoking the road rage in other drivers should avoid cutting off other cars, avoid tailgating, allow other cars to pass and/or move out of the left lane for other drivers that want to go faster.

Other road rage tips include:

  1. Remember that driving is not a race or contest. It is not about winning. Tailgating and speeding do not save much time and are not worth the risk of accident or injury.
  2. Driving is not personal. You do not know why others drive the way they do, so do not let slights on the road become a personal vendetta.
  3. Remain calm, stay positive by saying positive things to yourself, and keep cool. Losing control of emotions can be dangerous.
  4. If need be, get assistance from an anger management professional.

If you feel there is a need to report road rage incidences for public safety reasons, you can call 911 or your local police about erratic and/or dangerous drivers.

Victims of road rage have legal rights and may be entitled to payments to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost wages. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of road rage and were injured by another driver due to road rage or reckless driving, you have legal rights to protect yourself and your family from losses.


  1. File a police report.
  2. Police Chase Injuries
  3. Rear End Auto Accidents

Road Rage FAQ

Is road rage illegal in Texas?

Texas law considers aggressive driving actions, directed at an individual, to be assault and battery with a vehicle, which is illegal in Texas.

How do I press charges for road rage?

If you have the offender’s identifying information (name, license plate, vehicle description, etc.) then you can report the incident to your local police with a simple phone call.

What is the definition of road rage?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association defines road rage as: “An Assault with a motor vehicle or dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of another motor vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”

Can I sue someone for road rage?

Yes, if their negligent, reckless, or intentional actions caused you some injury. Contact a Texas personal injury lawyer for a case evaluation.