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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Traffic-Heavy Britain Plagued by 'Road Rage'


LONDON -- Millions of British motorists are victims of "road rage," violence stemming from frustration on crowded highways, according to a new report.

The study, released Tuesday, says that 250,000 people were attacked by other drivers last year, and the same number had their cars deliberately damaged by others.

Two million people -- one driver in six -- were forced to pull over or off the road by aggressive fellow-drivers last year.

"Almost three-quarters of drivers have been the victim of road rage at some time," vehicle leaser and retailer Lex Services Plc said in its annual Report on Motoring which was based on interviews with 1,229 drivers.

In one recent incident, car dealer Kevin Hart, 26, was a passenger in a car driven by his wife when the car ahead, driven by 48-year-old Ronald Haycock, braked because a bus pulled out in front of it.

After an exchange of rude gestures, Haycock drove on until he had to stop at a traffic light.

"Hart got out of his car, ran up to Mr. Haycock's car, and he proceeded to smash his front driver's side window,'' said prosecuting lawyer Crispian Cartwright at Snaresbrook Crown Court where Hart was sentenced to two years in jail Wednesday.

The next thing Haycock saw was the defendant's fist striking him full in the face, Cartwright said.

"He tried to shield his face with his hand, but he was punched by this defendant, probably about half a dozen times."

According to the report, road rage is at its worst on the congested streets of London and its suburbs where traffic jams create stress. People under pressure to get somewhere on time directed their frustration at other road users.

One-fifth of all drivers, most of them men, admitted to persistently exceeding speed limits. A third of men under 35 said "they speed most times they drive,"

the study added.

Despite the connection between congestion and violence, most drivers told Lex that congestion would have to get much worse before they would change their travel patterns. ()