HOUSTON - Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced earlier this week that Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers will be sent to Houston to help crackdown on road rage.
According to Governor Abbott, the troopers will work with the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office in “hot spots” to fight against violent road incidents.
So far, officials haven’t made clear where these “hot spots” are located.
"The State of Texas is working closely with HPD to provide the necessary resources that will effectively combat violence in the Houston community," said Abbott. "The support that DPS is providing to HPD will protect Houstonians and crack down on illegal and violent activity, including road rage-related shootings, within the city."
According to the Houston Police Department, there have been roughly 200 road rage incidents reported in 2020, compared to about 150 at this point last year. In addition, at least six people have been killed by apparent road rage this year.
Some officials believe the increase of violence on city streets could be related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Be mindful of the road rage,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Don’t get into an argument with people who are driving.”
Turner says DPS troopers will only be used to help stop road rage incidents. They’re not being deployed to prevent any other sort of crimes.
“We handle incidents on the roadways all of the time,” said Assistant DPS Director Taylor. “This is right in our wheelhouse.”
In an interview on Thursday, FOX 26 spoke with insurance agent Nicole Beck from The Zebra about road rage.
“People are in a lot of stress in general because of COVID-19,” said Beck. “We also know there are certain triggers. If people see somebody texting and driving, or if they’re getting tailgated, those are two of the top reasons people get enraged.”
According to a recent study by The Zebra, 87% of Texas drivers admit to road rage/aggressive driving over the past year. In comparison, the national average is 82%.
“People are driving less obviously because of COVID, but they’re driving more dangerously,” said Beck. “In many places, there are more accidents on the road, even though there are less people on the road.”
AAA provided the below tips to avoid road rage:
- Avoid conflict. It is best to assume that other drivers’ mistakes are not personal.
- Never attempt to take the right of way. It must give given to you by other drivers.
- When using high-beam headlights, return to low-beam headlights as soon as you detect an oncoming vehicle.
- Do not drive behind another vehicle with your high-beam headlights on.
- Be as polite on the road as you would be in any other social situation. You cannot control traffic, but you can control your responses to it.