Road rage shootings grip US as incidents soar
DALLAS (NewsNation) — Paola Nunez Linares was 37 years old when her life was cut short by violence on the road.
Her husband, Zane Jones, said while commuting on their way to work, he provoked a driver who he believes put them in danger. In response, investigators said the driver opened fire, striking Linares in the head.
The stepmother of four had recently moved to North Texas from Guatemala.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better person. The world is less because she’s gone,” Jones said. “She was mugged at gunpoint five times, and I told her this place would be safer.”
Police are still searching for the suspect. However, their story is the latest in a spate of suspected road rage incidents across the country.
In Ohio, authorities are investigating a fatal shooting triggered by an argument between a driver and a pizza delivery worker. A 6-year-old and her father are recovering in Las Vegas after being struck by gunfire following a crash. And in Pennsylvania, a suspect was apprehended over a month after authorities said he allegedly fired shots at a driver on a state highway.
On average, someone fell victim to a suspected road rage incident every 16 hours in 2022, according to data from Everytown Research and Policy data. Incidents of road rage shootings have more than doubled from 70 to more than 140 between 2021 and 2022.
The underlying causes of the surge remain unknown. Yet, some researchers suggest that stressors stemming from the pandemic or inflation may contribute, as well as the accessibility of firearms.
“Most people may not realize that the most dangerous thing you do every day is getting in a car,” said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University professor. “About 40,000 Americans die on the road every year, and most people think it’s because they are texting or drunk or inclement weather. All those factors are important, but the leading factor by far is aggressive driving, which accounts for over half of motor vehicle deaths.”
Jones, in an effort to spare others from this unimaginable pain, pleads with drivers to refrain from carrying guns if they have a temper.
“When you fire a weapon, you are responsible for whatever that round hits. You can’t say, “Oh, I was just trying to scare them,'” Jones said. “My wife is dead. My wife is dead, and I watched her die.”
AAA recommends refraining from tailgating, cutting off drivers or engaging in confrontations on the road if you’re upset. Instead, they advise to remain calm, seek alternate routes if necessary and seek help when needed.