HOUSTON — Houston police say they are targeting aggressive drivers as they continue to see an uptick in road rage calls and cases.
Houston police said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that they are working 100 road rage cases involving guns.
So far, they say they’ve gotten more than 1,500 road rage incident calls this year. They are now partnering with other agencies and will be looking for aggressive drivers.
Police will be looking for speeding, tailgating, changing lanes without signals and even those using offensive hand gestures and unreasonable use of their horn.
The Houston Police Department is revving up its efforts to eliminate road rage by increasing efforts with their safe roadways initiative. The department is going to increase their police presence during peak hours on Houston's busiest highways, using regional resources outside the department, and proactively looking for aggressive drivers.
Anything can happen on Houston highways, but nowadays drivers are more worried about who they might run into -- not what.
"They were chucking tools at each other on the road," said Sigi Gonzalez, a Houston resident. "People are just going crazy."
Road rage is beneath Gonzalez. He says he's above the danger driver's face daily.
"I was picking up trash and some guy pulled out a gun and started shooting at somebody," Gonzalez said. "They were exchanging gunshots and he got in the truck then he took off."
From where Gonzalez sits, he sees everything. He's a commercial garbage truck driver.
"They were cutting each other off on traffic and then when they came to a light one of the guys got off," Gonzalez said. "He punched through the windshield, through the glass, through the side window. He punched through it then he started beating that guy."
Houston police said they started this initiative last weekend and saw a 20 percent reduction in road rage calls:
- 114 traffic stops
- 6 arrest
- 270 citations
The bottom line is they are asking people to just be patient on the road.
"Don’t get drawn into it. Understand your surroundings, plan ahead because a lot of times road rage can stem just from frustration from the traffic in and out. That is part of Houston traffic jams we are going to see them," HPD Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said.
So what can you do to avoid this confrontation?
- Avoid eye contact
- Do not respond to aggression with aggression
- Be tolerant and forgiving.
- Avoid offensive hand gestures
- Call 911 if threatened
Police are warning people. They will be out on patrolling busy spots during those traffic jams.
HPD said to expect marked vehicles and undercover officers as well, not just in the city but throughout the county and surrounding areas.