Jan 5, 2022 - News

Report: Drivers spend less time on the road, but frustration grows

Data: Zebra; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Austin police are still searching for a suspect in a possible road rage shooting that took place in East Austin on New Year's Eve.

  • The shooting outside of Winn Elementary left one person with a gunshot wound.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of road rage in the area, and a new report from Austin insurance startup The Zebra, found that 1 in 5 drivers are increasingly irritated with their fellow motorists despite clocking fewer miles since the start of the pandemic.

By the numbers: The Texas Department of Transportation measures road rage only when it results in a crash — and when an officer determines it was a contributing factor.

  • Road rage was a factor in at least 288 crashes over the last three years in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties, per state data obtained by Axios — with more such crashes in 2021 than the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Of note: Road rage is not considered a crime, though it can lead to criminal activity. That makes it harder to track road rage incidents unless there are reports of assault or damage.

But some signs indicate that road rage incidents continue to rise across the country. The Trace, a nonprofit news agency funded by Everytown for Gun Safety, reported that in the first six months of 2017, nearly two gun-related, road rage incidents occurred per day, more than doubling since 2014.

The more recent study from the Zebra found that roughly 35% of nearly 1,000 online respondents say they drive less, yet are more frustrated on the road.

  • More than half of drivers said they're most frustrated on the highway. Those drivers believe others are reckless with fewer people on the road, and others mentioned that the pandemic brought an influx of residents — and drivers — into their areas, causing more traffic.
  • Plus, distracted drivers are the leading source of anger or frustration. The study noted that about 1 in 5 drivers have reported a road rage incident to the police, but most do not report them.
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