Violent Road Rage Incidents On The Rise

Posted at 8:23 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-10 23:48:07-04

Violent road rage incidents are on the rise nationwide. That's according to a new study from non-profit The Trace that studies gun issues. 

The study outlines 620 gun-involved road rage incidents last year, a number the non-profit says has more than doubled over the past two years.  

And eight of those incidents happened here in Middle Tennessee.

Nashville-based AAA Public Affairs Specialist Megan Osborne says drivers can tell the difference in the attitude on the roads these days.

"Nearly 2 in 3 people find that aggressive driving is worse today than it was three years ago," Osborne told Traffic Anchor Rebecca Schleicher Monday.

AAA gets information from drivers for their Safety Culture Index every year. Aggressive driving is one of the main categories they discuss. Osborne says 80 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to some sort of road rage last year.

"More alarming, " Osborne said, "around 8 million drivers have expressed types of extreme road rage (which means) intentionally ramming a car or actually getting out of their vehicle to confront somebody."

Some of the local incidents mentioned in the Trace study are described by Metro Police as drive-bys.

But at least two people died in separate incidents in Nashville after deadly shootings between strangers, angry on the road.

"They said it was painless and that apparently they got him right in the heart," said a tearful Jason Sparks, whose brother Chris Sparks was killed after arguing with someone in a grey sedan before that person fired out the driver's side door.

That gunman is still at large.

"I miss that guy I miss him so much," his brother said.

And Graeme Whinery died from a gunshot Christmas day during a fight with a delivery driver who in-turn claimed self defense.

AAA says for your own safety, stay far from aggressive drivers on the road.

"The best advice we can give is to never exit your vehicle," said Osborne "you're a lot safer inside your vehicle than outside."

Because with 8 out of 10 drivers reporting some sort of road rage, the dangers on your drive reach far beyond crashes.

"You never know how they're going to react and if you do respond to something they do, things could escalate," she said.

NewsChannel 5 is debuting a new campaign that, given the recent rise in road rage incidents, couldn't come at a better time. It's called Road Rants.

While we can't make traffic disappear, we can give you a place to vent about it in a safe way.

Shoot a video of your rant whether you're talking about a pet peeve or a story that happened that day and upload it to our Road Rants landing page. Your video could be played on the air!

Just please don't rant and drive.