May 13, 2024 - News

Analysis: 5 killed in road rage incidents involving firearms

a freeway in utah

Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images

Five people have been killed in road rage incidents involving firearms in Utah between 2014 and 2023, according to a recent analysis.

The big picture: Road rage shooting incidents nationally have skyrocketed over the past decade, increasing from 83 in 2014 to 456 in 2023 — a nearly 450% jump, according ​to Gun Violence Archive (GVA) data by gun violence newsroom The Trace.

By the numbers: During that time frame, Utah saw 47 road rage incidents that included a firearm, per The Trace. Of those, 43% resulted in victims wounded or killed.

The latest: The Utah Legislature passed a measure this year to deter road rage behaviors.

  • Under HB 30, which takes effect July 1, road rage is defined as a criminal offense by a driver "with the intent to endanger or intimidate an individual in another vehicle" following an incident on the road.
  • Minimum penalties range between $750 to $1,000 depending on the severity of the offense and can also include license suspension and revocation or jail time in more extreme cases.
  • "The sad reality is that we've seen dispatch reports and aggressive driving rates dramatically increase," the bill's co-sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross) said on the Senate floor in March.
  • The measure came after a series of high-profile road rage incidents — both with or without a gun — on Utah roads occurred, with some resulting in deaths.

Catch up quick: Last December, three road rage incidents involving firearms occurred over 24 hours, per KUTV.

  • In one case, authorities accused an American Fork man of pointing a gun at a motorcyclist at a stop light in Highland before attempting to hit the rider with his SUV, reported.
  • The motorcyclist said he was forced to drive on the sidewalk to avoid a crash.

Stunning stat: "The number of road rage shootings tracked by GVA increased by an average of 23 percent each year over the past decade," The Trace reports.

  • New Mexico, Wisconsin and Tennessee are the country's road rage shooting hotspots, ranging from an average of 1.9 to 2.65 firearm incidents during road rage events per million people between 2014–2023.

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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