Number of potential road rage incidents climbing in Arizona
PHOENIX — Alberto Gutier, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, is frightened by a recent uptick in road rage incidents this week.
Just on Wednesday, there were possible road rage shootings in Glendale and Peoria.
Thursday morning, there was another shooting after a verbal confrontation between occupants in two vehicles in Peoria. The victim in the most recent case was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials say.
“I’ve never seen three or four in a row in that kind of period, which scares me,” Gutier said. “It could be what I call copycats. It also could be just the time we live in right now. There is less traffic on the roads, supposedly, but still people are driving very fast. Everybody’s in a hurry, and those are the kind of things that lead to some kind of road rage incident.”
Four years ago, ADOT started recording possible road rage incidents, according to Gutier .
In 2018, there were 267 such situations. That number went up to 522 in 2019 and then back down to 503 last year, according to Gutier.
This year, there have been over 460 incidents, according to Gutier, which is on pace to eclipse each of the previous three years.
“I’m concerned and hope that we don’t surpass that number because that is a shame, and this could be very dangerous for citizens,” Gutier said.
Gutier advises de-escalation or walking away from a tense moment.
That entails getting off the highway or moving over to let someone else pass to avoid confrontation.
He said in serious cases people should involve police officers, but most of the time an incident can be avoided.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar and Debra Dale contributed to this report.