May 14, 2024 - News

Houston leads the country in road rage

Line chart showing the rate of road rage shooting incidents in Texas and the U.S. from 2013 to 2023. Nationally, road rage shootings have increased from 0.3 to 1.4 incidents per million people. In Texas, that number has increased from 0.6 to 2.6 per million people.
Data: The Trace via Gun Violence Archive; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Houston led the nation in road rage shootings and incidents by a significant margin from 2014 to 2023, according to an analysis of Gun Violence Archive (GVA) data by gun violence newsroom The Trace.

The big picture: Road rage shooting incidents skyrocketed over the past decade, increasing from 83 nationally in 2014 to 456 in 2023 ā€” a nearly 450% jump. And one in four road rage victims, or 777 individuals over the decade, were killed.

By the numbers: Houston had 215 recorded road rage incidents from 2014 to 2023, with 192 resulting in shootings and 207 victims being shot. The city led all U.S. cities in all three categories.

  • San Antonio and Memphis were tied for second for most road rage incidents, with 107 each. Milwaukee, which ranked fourth with 105 incidents, had the second-highest number of people shot during those altercations with 104.

In January, the Houston Police Department announced its "safe roadways" initiative, which the department claims will help eliminate aggressive driving, speeding and road rage.

  • Per the initiative, officers have been patrolling major freeways in marked and unmarked vehicles during peak traffic times and have been looking for aggressive driving behavior.
  • HPD, along with the Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff's Office, had made 24,000 traffic stops and 1,100 arrests and seized 38 firearms as of early March, per ABC 13.

In the last few years, Houston has seen several road rage incidents in which children were killed or severely injured, including when 17-year-old Louise Wilson was killed near downtown in December and when 9-year-old Ashanti Grant was shot in the head in southwest Houston in 2022.

Zoom out: New Mexico had the most per capita shootings, with 2.65 average shooting incidents per million people between 2014-2023. Texas had 1.81.

Flashback: In 2021, Texas passed a law allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit. But drivers in Texas have been able to carry a handgun in vehicles they own without a permit since 2007 after the passage of the Texas Motorist Protection Act.

Between the lines: The number of guns in circulation continues growing, and many states are relaxing their gun control laws.

Just two states ā€” North Dakota and South Dakota ā€” recorded no road rage shootings between 2014 and 2023; however, both of these states recorded other road rage incidents involving guns.

Caveat: The GVA is a private nonprofit that produces a range of gun violence estimates based on police reports, government data, news stories and more.

  • Some incidents go unreported, so not every relevant episode is captured.
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