Road construction, distracted drivers and pedestrians and enraged drivers are all a part of the hazards that motorists face every day. In Houston, road rage is contributing to a large number of car accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Crash statistics suggest that road rage played a role in more than 900 car accidents in the last five years. The Texas DOT says that these accidents collectively resulted in hundreds of injuries and five fatalities.
But these fatalities are not simply a result of a high-speed crash or rollover accident; in fact, several of them were a direct result of murder. For example, one such incident involved the death of a 49-year-old man. Video footage reveals that the 49-year-old driver honked after a black Chevrolet pickup truck cut him off near where the Southwest Freeway meets Beltway 8. The driver of the black pickup truck then proceeded to pursue the 49 year old for several miles, shooting at him 8 times. One of the bullets struck the driver in the head, causing him to run into an SUV and then smash into an apartment complex.
Data released by the state DOT shows a pattern among these road-rage car accidents: more than a quarter occur during the afternoon rush hour, when traffic is at its peak; most involve male drivers in pickup trucks.
According to the Houston Police Department, there has been a decrease in the number of road-rage incidents since the HPD started using stealth vehicles to target aggressive drivers. But many of the drivers in Houston do not necessarily think that is the case. And law enforcement authorities in Harris County say that they continue to get 911 calls about enraged drivers on a daily basis – they had logged more than 40 calls halfway thru the month.
While shooting at someone and causing a car accident is a crime – the driver of the Chevrolet was arrested and has been charged with murder – there are often civil implications as well, such as filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Hundreds of accidents blamed on Houston road rage,” 7/20/12.