Aggressive driving law is nations first
It is now a crime in Gresham, Ore., to use a vehicle to harass, annoy or alarm another motorist. At its February 2nd meeting, the Gresham City Council unanimously approved a measure dubbed the Road Rage Bill by the local and national media. Road rage isnt a figment of our imagination, says Police Chief Bernie Giusto. It is a criminal act. Violation of the new ordinance is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 or six months in jail.
The law has two sections: aggressive driving and offensive physical contact. The law defines aggressive driving as operating a motor vehicle so as to intentionally harass, annoy or alarm a person who is inside another motor vehicle. That may be accomplished by intentionally or knowingly increasing or decreasing the speed of a vehicle; changing lanes; following another vehicle more closely than is reasonable; impeding or obstructing another vehicle; and operating a vehicle in any manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.
In addition, the ordinance prohibits physical contact by one driver that results in physical harm to another driver or his property. The idea for the measure emerged from the Citizens Police Advisory Committee, which advises the police chief on public safety issues. Multnomah County Assistant District Attorney Alafair Burke drafted the ordinance for the city. Full text of the ordinance, which is effective immediately, is available through the citys website at www.ci.gresham.or.us.