May 28, 2024 - News

Louisiana's drivers have anger issues

Line chart showing the rate of road rage shooting incidents in Louisiana 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 Louisiana, that number has increased from 0.4 to 1.5 per million people.
Data: The Trace via Gun Violence Archive; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Louisiana's rate of road rage-related shootings is higher than the national one, a new analysis finds.

The big picture: The findings mirror a broader increase in gun-related violence.

The big picture: Louisiana had 1.53 road rage shootings per 1 million people last year, compared with the national rate of 1.36, according to an analysis of Gun Violence Archive data by reporters at The Trace.

  • These are shootings where people in vehicles were injured or killed in response to a driving-related behavior.

Zoom in: Road rage can happen anywhere, but New Orleans police often cite anger as a cause for interstate shootings.

Yes, but: The number of shootings attributed to road rage in Louisiana is a fraction of the overall number.

  • Last year, seven shootings statewide stemmed from road rage, according to The Trace.
  • For the same period, New Orleans had 550 fatal and nonfatal shootings, according to police.
Choropleth map of U.S. states showing the average annual rate of road rage shooting incidents reported from 2014 to 2023. States in the South and Mountain West had a higher incidence rate than states in the Northeast and Great Plains. New Mexico had the highest average rate, at 2.7 incidents per million people, followed by Wisconsin and Tennessee at 1.9.
Data: The Trace via Gun Violence Archive; Map: Axios Visuals

State of play: Road rage shootings have skyrocketed over the past decade, The Trace found, increasing from 83 nationally in 2014 to 456 in 2023 — a nearly 450% jump.

  • New Mexico, Wisconsin and Tennessee are the country's road rage shooting hotspots.

What to look for: New Orleans police say these are some of the signs of road rage.

  • Speeding and tailgating.
  • Swerving in and out of heavy traffic.
  • Cutting other drivers off.
  • Prolonged sounding of the horn.

What to do: If you encounter an angry driver, here are some tips from New Orleans police and Progressive Insurance.

  • Give the aggressive driver plenty of space.
  • Don't argue or make obscene gestures.
  • Keep your windows up and doors locked.
  • Call 911 if the situation escalates and provide details about the other vehicle, such as a description, license plate number and direction of travel.
  • Go to a police station if the person follows you. Don't go home.

Go deeper: America's road rage shooting hotspots, mapped.

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