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Is Brake Checking Illegal?

Posted on December 21, 2022 in

Brake checking – also known as brake testing – is when a driver abruptly slams on the brakes without cause, often as a scare tactic to let the driver behind him or her know that he or she is following too closely. It is a dangerous practice that can cause harmful rear-end collisions and other car accidents in Arizona. Brake checking is not only a reckless act by a driver; it is illegal in Arizona and can result in a Scottsdale car accident lawsuit.

What Is Brake Checking?

Following too closely, or tailgating, is a common cause of motor vehicle collisions in Arizona. This is when a driver fails to leave enough space or distance between the front of his or her car and the rear of another vehicle. Following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions and other serious accidents. However, it is not the lead driver’s legal right to deal with someone who is tailgating through an equally dangerous act known as brake checking.

Abruptly slamming on the brakes for the purpose of letting a tailgater know that he or she is too close is the illegal and dangerous act of brake checking. If this action is done with the intent to punish, scare, intimidate, reprimand or send a message to the rear driver, it is a form of aggressive driving or road rage that could lead to penalties against the brake-checking driver. 

Is Brake Checking Illegal in Arizona 

Yes, brake checking is illegal in Arizona. Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-695 prohibits aggressive driving behaviors, such as unlawful speeding, unsafe lane changes, running red lights, improper passing and tailgating. Expressing frustration against fellow motorists through acts and behaviors such as brake checking constitutes aggressive driving (a traffic violation) or could even qualify as road rage (a criminal offense). Both can get the driver into legal trouble and place liability on that driver for a related car accident.

Can You Hold a Driver Responsible for a Crash Caused By Brake Checking?

Brake checking often results in rear-end car accidents that can cause whiplash, back injuries, broken bones, concussions and other serious injuries. In fact, some people intentionally brake check to cause accidents so that they can commit insurance fraud by claiming these injuries. A multi-vehicle accident involving a chain reaction of rear-end collisions is also a possibility. In addition, brake checking could cause an accident if the rear driver tries to avoid a collision by swerving into other lanes. 

If you get into a car accident in Arizona because the driver in front of you brake-checked you or slammed on the brakes without reasonable cause, you may be able to hold him or her financially responsible for the crash and your related losses, including medical bills and property damage. In Arizona, the person or party at fault for a car accident must pay for the wreck. All drivers are required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability insurance for this purpose.

How to Prove Brake Checking Contributed to an Accident

As someone who was injured or suffered property damage due to brake checking, the burden of proof in a car accident claim rests with you. You or your personal injury attorney in Scottsdale must prove that the other driver intentionally and knowingly engaged in brake checking as a dangerous or aggressive driver behavior, and that your accident would not have occurred were it not for this act. 

Proving brake checking typically requires evidence such as video footage of the crash, statements from eyewitnesses and vehicle passengers, and a copy of the police accident report. Accident reconstruction and testimony from crash experts may also be necessary to prove that the front driver slammed on the brakes intentionally, either as an act of aggressive driving or to cause an accident for insurance fraud. 

If brake checking can be proven, the at-fault driver may face a traffic ticket or even criminal charges for causing a crash. The driver’s car insurance company will also be responsible for paying for the accident. If you need advice or legal representation after getting into a motor vehicle accident in Arizona involving brake checking, contact a car accident lawyer at Stone Rose Law for a free case consultation.