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Road Rage: Nevada Top Five for Most Deadly Road Rage Shootings Per Capita

Driving can be frustrating for many, especially when we have places to be and we seem to be hitting all the red lights or stuck in traffic that hasn’t moved for minutes. While frustration can often manifest into aggressive or even violent behaviors, it is important to keep our cool while behind the wheel. Road Rage incidents are on the rise across the country, and Nevada is no different. In 2017, the Nevada State Police reported 9,456 road rage calls in the state.  The Gun Violence Archive has reported nearly double the injuries and deaths because of road rage between 2018 and 2022. [1]

Nevada Makes the Top Five List

A report earlier this year from a company, Jerry, a car insurance aggregator, found that Nevada ranked as the second most deadly state for road rage shootings per capita, behind only New Mexico. The study utilized data between 2017 and 2021 and found that during this time there were 522 incidents nationally, with 131 deaths as a result. The study also found that North Dakota and Wyoming were the only two states with no reported road rage shootings within that period. [2]

The COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdown have seemed to only exacerbate this issue. The Jerry study found that thirty-one percent of Americans believed that driving has become more dangerous since the early onset of the pandemic, and Henry Hoeing, one of the co-authors of the study stated that “It’s not just about the fear of collisions anymore. Americans are expressing concern over threats to their personal safety on the road. Since the pandemic, driving behavior has become more volatile, and the overwhelming majority have seen some type of aggressive behavior.”  Even more concerning, it was reported that fifteen percent of American drivers saw or were involved in some road rage incident involving some sort of weapon, including a gun.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor of psychology, Stephen Benning, also had his thoughts on this increase in road rage in Nevada, as well as its correlation with the pandemic. Benning stated that the social isolation and empty roads during the pandemic resulted in more individualistic, and a “my way or the highway” mindset. [1] Benning encourages Nevadans to take a deep breaths and realize that road rage is not worth it in the long run.

Recent Incidents in Nevada

Recently, in August 2023, Akira Mays was arrested in Las Vegas for stabbing another driver during a road rage incident. Police reported that Mays stabbed a man who would not let her merge, and the other driver suffered three stab wounds to the stomach and arm during the incident. [1]

On September 13th, four men were arrested in Northern Nevada in connection to a road rage incident that occurred in Reno in late August. Police reported that a fight broke out, resulting in the victim sustaining life-threatening injuries, including a severe head injury. The victim is now in stable condition. [3]

Nevada Laws Regarding Road Rage

If you express road rage in Nevada by driving in an unsafe manner and do not cause injury to others, you may be charged with reckless driving. Nevada law states that it is a crime to “drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property” [4]. However, if your reckless driving results in substantial body harm or even death, you can be charged with a Class B Felony, and a felony reckless driving charge in Nevada involves hefty fines as well as state prison time.

If you are committing a combination of offenses such as driving above the speed limit, creating a hazard, or committing other specific driving offenses, you can also be charged with “aggressive driving” [5]. Charges and penalties related to aggressive driving closely reflect reckless driving in Nevada.

Lastly, you can be charged with assault in road rage related incidents when you manifest your anger through threats to attempt or hurt another driver, or intentionally make someone feel that they may be physically harmed. If you commit assault with a deadly weapon, you can be charged with a category B felony. Deadly weapons include things like guns, knives, but to be more specific is defined by state law as “Any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death.” [6]







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