Is Brake Checking Illegal In Oregon?

When you are driving, there are undoubtedly times when someone follows you a bit too closely for comfort. Conversely, there may be times when you are in a hurry and end up following somebody else too closely. On the roadways, it is never a good idea to tailgate another vehicle. Tailgating can lead to serious accidents. However, there are also times when a driver may “brake check” another vehicle behind them because they are not happy about being tailgated. This type of aggressive driving is illegal, and we want to discuss the consequences of brake checking here.

What is brake checking?

Brake checking, also commonly referred to as “break testing,” occurs when a driver deliberately slams their brakes in front of another driver following closely behind them. This action can cause the rear driver to swerve or otherwise react quickly to avoid an accident.

In most cases, when a driver is being tailgated, they will simply change lanes and let the vehicle behind them pass. However, some drivers may get angry at the driver following them too closely. Regardless of whether or not a driver feels justified in slamming on their brakes, brake checking is illegal. This is usually going to be a retaliatory action that can have severe consequences. In a brake checking incident, the rear driver could:

  • Swerve to avoid striking the vehicle but end up striking other vehicles on the roadway.
  • Slam into the rear of the vehicle that brake checked them.
  • Swerve off the roadway entirely.

Any of these scenarios could lead to a significant crash and severe injuries for drivers and passengers. The unintended consequences of brake checking significantly outweigh any benefits.

Oregon has several laws in place to deter careless or negligent driving. This includes the following:

  • ORS 811.140 – Reckless driving
  • ORS 811.135 – Careless driving
  • ORS 163.195 – Recklessly endangering another person
  • ORS 163.190 – Menacing

Brake checking can certainly be considered careless and reckless, and if done purposely, could be considered recklessly endangering someone else’s life.

How does brake checking affect an accident claim?

There is a common misconception that a rear-end accident is always going to be blamed on the rear driver. That is not always the case. The reality is that either driver could be at fault in these instances, particularly if brake checking has occurred. Brake checking is a form of road rage, a type of reckless driving that is illegal in the state of Oregon. In most cases, a driver who operated their vehicle recklessly will be the at-fault party in an accident.

However, proving these cases is not always easy. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident in which you were the victim of brake checking, you may need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can:

  • Speak to any eyewitnesses who saw the brake checking incident
  • Obtain any video or photo surveillance that shows the brake checking
  • Analyze accident reports or police reports

To reiterate, brake checking in Oregon is illegal. Any driver who purposely slams on their brakes to deter vehicle from following them too closely could be held liable in the event an accident and injuries occur.

If you have been injured, call our Portland car accident attorneys today.