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Menacing and Predatory Driving – Road Rage


Road rage is a great concern on NSW roads. Driving in Sydney’s peak hour traffic is at the best of times a stressful ordeal. Cars suddenly changing lanes and beeping horns are a regular occurrence. At times this can cause great frustration but for some, it triggers what is commonly referred to as “road rage”.

Road rage encompasses many aspects of anger, such as verbal abuse and abusive gestures. It is not illegal in itself, but when the threat of physical harm becomes real, that is when there is the potential for it to become a criminal act.

A recent incident that occurred on the M4 Motorway is an example of when road rage can cross this line and become a criminal act. A truck driver, who was travelling along the motorway, cut in front of a car forcing it into a concrete barrier. It is alleged that the truck, with a trailer in tow, was driving parallel to another vehicle when the truck driver leaned out of the window and threw an object at the other vehicle.

In NSW, these actions would fall within the offence of “menacing driving”, which is encompassed in section 118 of the Road Transport Act 2013. In the above incident, the fact that the truck driver was driving close to the other vehicle, followed by throwing an object at that vehicle, is an example of there being a clear intent to menace the other driver.

However, the truck driver did not stop at just menacing the other driver. He then changed lanes in front of the other vehicle and his trailer collided with the car, which was then forced into a concrete dividing barrier in the center of the road. By making contact with the other vehicle in this way, the truck driver could be charged with “predatory driving”, which is set out in section 51A of the Crimes Act 1900. It is evident through the truck driver’s actions that he intended to cause harm to the other driver by engaging in this dangerous course of conduct that could have been fatal.

Due to the truck driver’s actions of colliding with the other driver, the most likely charge is predatory driving, though menacing driving may also be available.. Regardless of the charge the police choose to lay, they both carry a term of imprisonment.

So, if someone cuts you off and you’re about to have a moment of road rage, make sure that you think about the consequences that can stem from your actions. Not only is road rage extremely dangerous, it could result in a substantial period in custody.

Image Credit – Iakov Filimonov © 123RF.com

Written by John Sutton on September 15, 2017

John is the National Director of Criminal Law at Armstrong Legal. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with. View John's profile


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