Georgia on top 10 list of worst states for road rage shootings

(Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A recent analysis by The Trace, a nonprofit focusing on America's "gun violence crisis," reveals that someone was shot in a road rage incident every 18 hours in 2023. This is a stark contrast to 2014, when one person was shot every four days. This marks a 400% increase between 2014 and 2023. The data was provided by the Gun Violence Archive.

Between 2014 and 2023, a total of 3,095 people were shot in road rage incidents across the U.S., with 777 of those individuals losing their lives.

RELATED: Road rage shootings remain high, report says – here are the worst states

In Georgia, the number of reported road rage shootings surged from zero in 2014 to 197 in 2023, placing the state among the top 10 worst for such incidents.

Top 10 States for Road Rage Incidents involving Guns (2014-2023):

  1. Texas — 741
  2. Florida — 488
  3. California — 321
  4. Tennessee — 263
  5. Pennsylvania & Wisconsin — 201
  6. Georgia & Michigan — 197
  7. Arizona — 164
  8. Ohio — 160
  9. North Carolina — 155
  10. Missouri — 154

The states with the fewest reported road rage shootings were Wyoming (6), North Dakota (7), and South Dakota (8).

Unsurprisingly, most of these shootings in the state occurred in the City of Atlanta, often triggered by collisions, near-collisions, or other offenses that incite anger among drivers. Atlanta's notorious traffic exacerbates these situations.

Recent Incidents in Metro Atlanta:

A 2019 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that roughly 8 out of 10 drivers had experienced some form of road rage incident within the month prior to the study. Additionally, a 2017 study revealed that drivers with guns in their vehicles were more likely to drive aggressively, regardless of whether they used the gun.

Between 2014 and 2023, Atlanta saw 55 road rage incidents involving guns, with 47 of these incidents resulting in gunfire and 50 people being shot. Other cities in the Atlanta metropolitan area, including Brookhaven, College Park, Doraville, and Sandy Springs, experienced six incidents, four of which involved gunfire, resulting in five people being shot.

According to Everytown Research & Policy, Southern states tend to have more road rage shootings due to their weaker gun laws. States that do not require a permit for carrying a gun have nearly triple the rate of road rage shootings.

Experts attribute the increase in road rage to various factors, including poor impulse control among aggressive drivers and the presence of guns, which can escalate aggressive behavior.

Why is Road Rage Increasing?

Road rage is trending upward due to complex underlying issues, according to psychologist Carla Manly. These issues often stem from unresolved personal problems. Additionally, the perceived invulnerability and anonymity provided by a vehicle can lead drivers to act more aggressively, similar to how people behave on social media.

Other factors include the decline in face-to-face interactions due to technology and the internet, leading to dehumanization. The lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic and current economic struggles have also been cited as contributing factors, with increased mental health issues and financial stress since 2020.

Note: Law enforcement agencies do not release statistics on road rage shootings as a specific category of crime, and not all incidents may be reported.