Memphis ranks 1st for road rage, guns

Road rage crashes on the rise in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shots were fired on the interstate Wednesday morning.

Memphis Police Department reported shots were fired in the area of I-240 and I-40 before 7 a.m.

It is believe the shots were fired as part of a road rage incident.

No injuries were reported.

The suspect was last seen in a black sedan heading westbound on I-240 toward Covington Pike.

Road rage crashes on the rise in Shelby County

Statistics we obtained from the State of Tennessee show road rage rising dramatically from a decade ago.

Police said some of those shootings stemmed from road rage, something Memphis drivers said concerns them.

"It's an everyday thing, and some people just get so sick of it and fed up with it,” said driver Johniqua Booker. “People just need to learn how to control themselves."

Statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security show that’s not what people are doing. The number of crashes involving aggressive road rage in Shelby County rose dramatically in the last ten years from just one case in 2008 to 361 last year.

"The main thing is that people are impatient on the roadways,” said Captain Jimmie Johnson with Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Capt. Johnson said any driver who encounters road rage should get the license plate number and call police.

"The one thing that you don’t need to do is go back and forth with the person, and statistics have shown you do not want to make eye contact if you can help it,” Capt. Johnson said.

Police have responded to four shootings that injured five people along the interstates since Tuesday, Oct. 9, and those shootings are part of a larger problem.

Shots fired on interstate in apparent road rage

“Here locally we have seen an increase in weapons being used in road rage incidents,” Capt. Johnson said.

In fact, according to analysis by The Trace, a nonprofit news organization focused on gun violence, Memphis ranks first among all U.S. cities for road rage incidents involving guns.

“There’s more weapons in cars now,” Capt. Johnson said. “That’s a fact.”

Capt. Johnson said that’s because state gun laws allow drivers to carry guns in their car.

But he sees something else as the main problem.

“I just think people are impatient and not giving themselves enough time to get where they’re going,” Capt. Johnson said.

That, combined with obstacles like rush hour and construction, is a recipe for disaster.

“They get impatient and a person cuts them off or blows their horn and it escalates,” Capt. Johnson said.

He said the best thing drivers who encounter road rage can do is call police.

We asked Memphis police how many road rage incidents have happened this year but did not hear back.

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