Road rage shootings on the rise, with Texas among the worst states in the country

The Community Alliance for Training and Safety is partnering with law enforcement agencies, city leaders, nonprofits and universities to address road rage.

TEXAS, USA — Road rage ending in gunfire is on the rise nationwide, according to Everytown research.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ranks Texas among the top 10 worst states for road rage.

This year alone, KENS 5 has covered eight incidents in San Antonio resulting in injury or death.

“We have never seen it like this before,” said Dean DeSoto, the Executive Director of the Community Alliance for Training and Safety (CATS).

DeSoto has noticed an uptick in aggressive driving and road rage in Bexar County.

Aggressive driving involves traffic violations like speeding, tailgating, and making rude gestures. Road rage is violent behavior, such as ramming another vehicle, brandishing a weapon, or physically harming another person.

People cited for those offenses often end up in a CATS classroom, under a court order. That’s where they learn how to manage their emotions behind the wheel.

“People are in a hurry [nowadays],” said Adrian Cano. “We are living in a world of instant gratification.”

Cano instructs CATS’ Aggressive Driving program. He starts with teaching compassion over reaction.

“If [someone] wants to cut you off, let them,” said Cano. “That person could be someone’s mother, sister, brother.”

DeSoto says several things are driving up street violence.

“The basis of anger is mostly fear,” said DeSoto. “There are many things that are going on right now. We have a demographic change; there are different populations coming in from different states. Methamphetamine and fentanyl use are way up. We also have higher stress levels in our society, and I have seen several domestic violence cases. I talked to the police department and they wanted me to be sure to say, ‘If you are in a domestic violence situation and are being pursued by an assailant, drive immediately to a substation and start honking.’ But basically, if violence goes on in the community, it goes in on our roadways.”

So, CATS is partnering with law enforcement agencies, city leaders, nonprofits and universities to form a statewide road rage coalition. The first thing DeSoto hopes to tackle is the lack of data. Some police departments, including the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD), don’t specifically track road rage incidents.

To make changes, DeSoto says the coalition needs to be informed. He says the group will then use education and policies to turn the tragic trend around.

“In Houston, you have the highest rate of fatalities for shootings and other sorts of mayhem,” said DeSoto. “Dallas is number two, San Antonio is number three. However, for every 1,000 drivers in Houston, there are four events of aggressive driving. Same with Dallas. In San Antonio, there are ten incidents per 1,000 drivers. Those statistics just came out of the University of Texas. That leads us to believe – in the coalition – that things will get worse before they get better.”

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