Dashcam video captures a Route 17 road rage incident that ended in a tractor-trailer crash in Mahwah.
The footage “underscores the dangers of an increasing trend of road-rage incidents,” Police Chief James N. Batelli said Tuesday.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the mid-morning crash, he said.
It began when the driver of a gray colored SUV “observed what he believed to be a tractor-trailer [driver] driving in an aggressive manner and changing lanes in a reckless manner” on the northbound highway around 9:45 a.m. Aug. 9, the chief said.
The SUV driver “decided to take the matter in his own hands and slow the tractor-trailer down to prevent any type of accident,” he said
The tractor-trailer driver – who was hauling a load of candy – told police the SUV driver cut in front of him and applied his brakes, forcing him to hit his, the chief said.
He struggled to control the rig and its shifting load, but it eventually keeled onto the center median, got smashed and slid across the highway.
“Miraculously no other vehicles struck the tractor, which could have resulted in a major accident event,” Batelli said.
It’s also fortunate, the chief said, that “no one was injured in this accident and that the substance he was carrying did not contain any hazardous or combustible materials.”
The driver of another tractor-trailer traveling behind the two caught it all on a dashcam.
Police issued summonses to the tractor-trailer driver – 36 years old, from Depew, NY -- for careless driving, failure to maintain lane, and failure to signal, and to the driver of the SUV – 44 years old, from Montebello, New York was issued summonses for reckless driving, failure to maintain lanes, failure to signal and delaying traffic.
The video (above) is in two parts.
Both can also be found at:
In a 2016 study, nearly 80% of motorists expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, Batelli said.
“The most alarming findings suggest that approximately 8 million drivers engaged in extreme examples road rage including purposely ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver,” he said.
“In this latest incident the proper approach would have been for the driver of the SUV to have dialed 911 and report the tractor to law enforcement,” the chief said.
Lt. Scott Cherven, who supervises the Mahwah Police Department Traffic Bureau, said motorists “should avoid the temptation to try and retaliate, seek revenge or in any manner intimidate what they believe is a aggressive driver.
“What starts out as a motor vehicle violation can easily escalate in a very dangerous situation with the potential of very serious if not dangerous outcomes,” Cherven said.
Aggressive driving should be reported to police using 911 and providing as much information as possible to the police dispatcher.
“#77 from your cellphone is a statewide aggressive driver hotline, but 911 calls always receive priority,” the lieutenant noted. “Please know your location since not all cellphones are GPS equipped.”
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