Crime

Road Rage Incidents Have Skyrocketed, and Dallas Hasn't Been Spared

Local law enforcement said drivers can expect to see an increased police presence on North Texas roads as they try to catch aggressive drivers.
Local law enforcement said drivers can expect to see an increased police presence on North Texas roads as they try to catch aggressive drivers. Jacob Vaughn
The Dallas Police Department has teamed up with several other law enforcement agencies to tackle road rage. Road rage incidents, many deadly, have continued to increase over the last few years in the North Texas area.

So, police departments in Dallas, Irving, Mesquite and Grand Prairie, as well as the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Safety created the North Texas Road Rage Task Force.

“We’re always working at ways to make our roads safer for those who travel them, and this task force aims to do just that,” DPD Assistant Chief Michael Igo said at a press conference. He said Dallas-Fort Worth is not the only area dealing with an increase in road rage incidents and aggressive driving.

“Over the last several years, police departments across the country have seen an increase in the number of road rage incidents,” Igo said. “Here in Dallas, it’s happening not only on our freeways but also on the streets that connect directly to the roads where people live and work. Unfortunately, aggressive driving has become commonplace, and that driving is leading to aggressive acts.”

Active since January, the task force has issued some 333 tickets. Part of the plan is to increase patrols and use new vehicles that blend in with others on the road. Through this, cops hope to catch aggressive drivers in the act and cite or arrest them before things escalate.

The month before the task force was formed, DPD and the Department of Public Safety ran an operation throughout the city targeting aggressive drivers and those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In marked and unmarked cars officers covered areas along U.S. 75, Interstate 45, I-20, I-635 and the Dallas North Tollway.

When the operation was done, officers had issued 139 citations, arrested four people for speeding and two others for DWI, investigated five accidents and dished out 32 warnings. More cameras have also been set up throughout the city to catch aggressive drivers in the act.

Over the last seven years, more than 200 murders and 12,000 injuries in Dallas have been attributed to road rage. This means about 15% of murders in the city since 2015 have stemmed from road rage incidents. A little more than a year ago, Christopher Murzin, a father of three, was gunned down as he drove through Dallas one afternoon. Murzin was involved in a road rage incident along westbound I-20/L.B.J. Freeway. The other person involved pulled up to Murzin’s driver-side window and opened fire.

Road rage fatalities increased by nearly 500% between 2006 and 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Dallas police Maj. Mark Villarreal said at the press conference that highways in the area are becoming increasingly congested, people are driving faster and more incidents of road rage are being reported. Villarreal gave some tips for people who may encounter aggressive drivers.

“First, always allow an aggressive driver to pass," he said. "Second, do not follow an aggressive driver. Third, do not fight verbally or physically with an aggressive driver. Just contact your local authorities.”
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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