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What is Brake Checking and is it illegal?

What is Brake Checking?

Brake checking refers to the act of intentionally hitting the brakes suddenly and unexpectedly, usually in response to another driver following closely behind or engaging in aggressive driving behaviour. The purpose of brake checking is often to startle or intimidate the tailgating driver, creating a situation that requires them to react quickly to avoid a collision.

Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Brake checking is very illegal and can be classed as dangerous driving. Dangerous driving can carry an unlimited fine as well as a two-year prison sentence. If someone were to die because of being brake checked, then the maximum sentence is up to 14 years in prison. Brake checking is illegal because of the following reasons:

  1. Reckless Driving: Brake checking is widely considered a form of reckless driving in many jurisdictions. Reckless driving involves intentionally disregarding the safety of others on the road, potentially resulting in harm or property damage. By suddenly and unexpectedly braking, the driver engaging in brake checking endangers the tailgating driver and risks causing a rear-end collision.
  2. Negligence: Brake checking can also be viewed as a negligent act. Negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise reasonable care, thereby causing harm or injury to others. In the case of brake checking, deliberately causing a dangerous situation on the road by abruptly slowing down can be seen as a breach of the duty of care owed to other drivers.
  3. Provoking Road Rage: Engaging in brake checking often leads to escalated tensions and road rage incidents. While road rage itself may not be explicitly defined as a separate offense, aggressive and confrontational behaviours that result from brake checking can lead to charges such as assault, reckless endangerment, or disorderly conduct. Road rage incidents can have severe legal consequences and carry penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

Consequences of Brake Checking:

Engaging in brake checking can have various consequences, both legal and non-legal, for all parties involved. These consequences may include:

  1. Legal Consequences: If the act of brake checking is deemed illegal in a specific jurisdiction, drivers who initiate such behaviour can face penalties such as fines, points on their driving record, licence suspension, or even criminal charges, depending on the severity of the incident and resulting consequences.
  2. Liability for Accidents: In situations where a collision occurs because of brake checking, liability for the accident may be shared or assigned to the driver who initiated the brake check. The legal system will assess the circumstances and evidence to determine fault and the resulting liability for damages.
  3. Escalation of Road Rage: Brake checking can escalate tensions on the road and increase the likelihood of road rage incidents. This aggressive behaviour can provoke anger and retaliation from other drivers, potentially leading to further dangerous situations.

While brake checking is often seen as a dangerous and potentially illegal driving behaviour, the legal implications can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances of the incident. Engaging in brake checking may result in legal consequences, including fines, license suspension, and liability for accidents. Additionally, the act can escalate road rage incidents and put the safety of all drivers at risk.

It is essential to prioritise responsible driving, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and avoid engaging in aggressive behaviour on the road. By doing so, we can contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone.