Road rage incidents are on the rise in America. Gun violence and aggressive driving behaviors caused by road rage wound or kill hundreds of people every year.
The Alarming Facts about Road Rage
Since 2013, over 300 people in the United States have died from road rage. In the last five years, violent road rage incidents have jumped from 247 to 620. Most fatalities were caused by a person/persons in one vehicle firing a gun at a driver and/or passengers in another vehicle. Between 2014 and 2016, road rage incidents involving gun violence more than doubled on U.S. roads and highways. In 2006, there were only 80 fatal car crashes related to road rage in America. Between 2006 and 2015, fatal road rage injuries and deaths increased by 500 percent, an alarming statistic.
Between 2014 and 2017, The Trace, a national news organization, did a study on road rage and gun violence in the United States. Data was compiled from the Gun Violence Archive, a catalog of gun violence road rage incidents reported by law enforcement officers and national news reports. The study shows 1,319 road rage incidents involving firearms where 136 people were killed and another 354 people were wounded.
The Trace study became wide-spread news after Joe McKnight, a former N.F.L. player was shot and killed in a 2017 Louisiana road-rage incident. An investigation confirmed that McKnight and another driver, Ronald Gasser, cut each other off a number of times on a local roadway. Gasser told police that he became outraged and confronted McKnight at a red light stop where a verbal confrontation escalated. Gasser then pulled a handgun from his car console and shot McKnight multiple times.
According to The Trace report, relaxed gun laws have contributed to a rise in road rage car accidents. States with large numbers of concealed-carry permit holders like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee have higher numbers of gun violence road rage incidents. Reports suggest that aggressive drivers who carry guns in their cars are more likely to engage in gun violence when encountering problems on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that road rage and aggressive driving are not the same things. Road rage is charged as a criminal offense because it involves violent intent to harm another driver, while aggressive driving is usually charged as a traffic offense. In addition to gun violence, road rage often involves cases of drivers intentionally hitting another vehicle, tailgating behind another vehicle for long distances, and braking suddenly in front of a vehicle to cause injuries.