Analysis Shows, 44 People per Month Have Been Shot and Killed or Wounded in Road Rage Shootings in 2021 – Highest Levels in Six Years
New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin and Tennessee Had Highest Rates of People Shot in Road Rage Incidents in 2021
NEW YORK — On Monday, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released new data and analysis on road rage shootings in the U.S. in 2021. In the past year, road rage shootings have soared to unprecedented numbers. In fact, in 2021, a person was shot and either wounded or killed in a road rage incident every 17 hours. Texas tied for the second highest rate of people shot in road rage incidents in the country which resulted in 133 injuries and deaths – among the worst in the country.
As road rage shootings in Texas have continued to climb, lawmakers at the statehouse have yet to take meaningful action to strengthen the state’s gun laws. To make Texans safer when the legislative session resumes, legislators should prioritize gun safety by requiring background checks on all gun sales, reinstating the handgun carry permit requirement, and repealing the state’s deadly Shoot First law.
“Driving gets heated in plenty of other countries, but only in the U.S. is someone shot and injured or killed every 17 hours in a road rage incident,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, director of research for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “The difference is clear: easy access to guns can turn these incidents deadly. We’ve seen a national increase in shootings during the pandemic, and this increase has played out on our streets and highways, too.”
“This new data makes it clear that seatbelts and airbags aren’t enough to keep Americans safe on the road — we need to stop NRA allies in the statehouses from passing permitless carry legislation, which will lead to more untrained and unvetted people carrying guns in cars,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Drivers have enough to worry about — the last thing they should have to fear is that every traffic misunderstanding could end with shots being fired.”
“Given the recent spike in gun sales in the United States, combined with the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda, it’s no surprise we’re seeing crisis levels of road rage involving guns,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We will not accept a new normal in which the retaliation for a honked horn is gunfire. Our lawmakers must take action to pass gun safety laws proven to save lives.”
Additional key findings on road rage in 2021, based on analysis of data from Gun Violence Archive:
- States with the highest rates of people shot in road rage incidents include New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
- Nearly two-thirds of road rage incidents resulted in injury or death – which is up from one-third between 2016-2019.
- The monthly average number of people shot and killed or wounded in road rage incidents involving a gun has doubled from 22 deaths and injuries per month prior to the pandemic to 44 in 2021.
- In 2016 thru 2019, under 300 people each of these years were shot and wounded or killed in a road rage incident, but in 2021, there were over 500 people shot and wounded or killed, which is the highest level in six years.
The new analysis comes as statehouses across the country are working to gut permitting and training requirements for carrying a concealed, loaded gun in public at the objection of law enforcement leaders. Permitless carry legislation is designed to increase the number of people who have guns in public places, including in their cars, by removing basic public safety protections like background checks and firearm safety training. This policy won’t make us safer and has been shown to increase gun violence in states. As lawmakers look to reduce gun violence, including road rage shootings, stopping dangerous permitless carry bills must be a part of their work.
Although research is still not clear on what is causing the increase in road rage shootings, the pandemic brought new stressors into people’s lives and exacerbated underlying ones. These stressors, combined with record increases in gun sales and a national increase in shootings, suggest that these changes have played out in road rage incidents as well.
To speak with a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action about their work to prevent gun violence in the state, please don’t hesitate to reach out.