Tailgating Accidents and Brake Checking in Texas Explained

Rear end collision

Tailgating and brake checking are two dangerous driving acts that cause rear end collisions, and serious car accident injuries. In Texas, where high-speed highways are common, the results of tailgating and brake checking often lead to fatal car accidents.

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating in driving, is when a driver follows another vehicle too closely.  Drivers are required to leave a safe distance between themselves and the vehicles ahead. When a driver follows another vehicle too closely, they reduce their available distance to brake and come to a complete stop. When traveling at higher speeds, braking distance increases exponentially.

Motorists are required to leave a safe distance between themselves and the vehicles ahead.

Additionally, because most tailgating accidents are a form of reckless driving, a driver found at fault for tailgating may be subject to punitive damages in a car accident lawsuit.

Is Tailgating Illegal in Texas?

Under Texas State Law, tailgating is illegal. Tailgating is considered an aggressive form of negligence and frequently leads to devastating rear-end accident.

Tailgating is considered an act of negligence and willful disregard.

Fault in a Rear End Collision

The person following too close is typically the liable party in a rear end collision accident. However, sometimes drivers who are being followed too closely react with the same level of recklessness.

How Many Accidents are Caused by Tailgating?

While no one knows exactly how many car accidents are caused by tailgating, according to a study by the The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), 51 percent of drivers admit to tailgating on purpose, and more than 23 percent of all traffic accidents were rear-end collisions. The TDI also reports that rear-end collisions result in approximately 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries.

According to the Insurance Information Institute in 2021 there were 2,949 where rear end collisions were the first harmful event in an accident. These collisions accounted for 7.5% of total fatal crashes.

What is Brake Checking?

“Brake checking” is a term used to describe when a driver brakes to purposely catch the tailgating driver off guard. Drivers sometimes tap their brakes as a warning to tailgaters. Others may slam on their brakes. Brake checking in any form is dangerous and can leading to severe car accident injuries.

Is Brake Checking Illegal?

There is no statute in Texas specifically prohibiting brake checking. Instead, law enforcement considers brake checking a type of reckless driving. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, you may be found to be equally responsible for the tailgating accident if you engaged in brake checking.

Understanding Your Rights After a Tailgating Accident

While every tailgating accident injury claim is different, you may qualify for various damages, including but not limited to:

  • Complete coverage of medical expenses related to the accident
  • Lost wages if you cannot work
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Possible punitive damages in cases of gross negligence

Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Dax Garza

When motorists blatantly disregard the safety of others, you need skilled legal representation to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Dax Garza has years of experience helping injured motorists. If you or a loved one have been seriously hurt by an aggressive driver following too closely, our Houston car accident lawyers can hold the responsible parties accountable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss the unique circumstances of your case.

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