AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following a second deadly shooting police believe stemmed from road rage in less than two weeks, KXAN wanted to ask whether police track road rage incidents.
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday says officers are seeing more cases of drivers getting angry and committing crimes recently, however he says it’s hard to actually measure accurately, because road rage isn’t technically a crime. It’s only investigated when a driver becomes violent.
“It usually leads to a criminal offense, like aggravated assault or someone pulls out a gun or shoots somebody,” Casaday said.
An Austin Police Department spokesperson says the department does track road rage incidents but couldn’t immediately say whether they’re on the rise.
The Texas Department of Transportation measures road rage only when it results in a crash. So far, that agency’s number of cases in Austin this year is on track to be about the same as the last few years.
Casaday worries the cases will increase with APD’s suspension of its DWI and Motors Units, due to staffing issues.
“They’re the ones that did most of the traffic enforcement, and you don’t see them out there as a deterrent,” Casaday said. “That’s a problem, and that leads to people doing things they shouldn’t do.”
Road rage reports increased enough in recent years that more departments started tracking it as a separate category.
Just this year, Dallas Police began to track aggravated assaults involving road rage. For the first half of this year, the department counted close to 400 cases.
Nearby, Arlington Police started tracking road rage as a separate category last year. It has already found more cases this year. Arlington even started a hotline for you to report an aggressive driver.
Houston Police started a road rage task force temporarily with CARES Act funding after a close to 30% rise in road rage cases last year.