AUSTIN, Texas - Austin police say they see road rage every day in our city.
"I see it on an everyday basis, people are just in a hurry, they are not driving friendly, they're just driving aggressively and there is no reason for it," said Detective Oborski with the highway enforcement command at APD.
Aggressive driving is a variety of things, "someone honking their horn, or giving you the finger or it can become more aggressive like if someone pulls a gun,” Oborski said.
And it's when those behaviors get out of hand like ramming the other car, sideswiping, or forcing another driver off the road, is when Austin police say it can become quite dangerous. "There is no law against road rage, just within road rage you can have people driving aggressively or committing crimes like aggravated assault or using deadly weapons or things like that,” said Oborski.
Here in Travis County, according to TxDOT, there has been 1 fatal, 1 serious, and 12 non-incapacitating injuries for crashes involving road rage since the beginning of the year.
Austin police say they think those numbers are on the low end. "I would say I think that is under-represented," Oborski said. "I think there are a lot more crashes from road rage and people driving aggressively, people aren’t just reporting it that way.”
Last Wednesday, a man was shot in a road rage incident in southeast Austin.
Austin Travis County EMS transported him to an area hospital, where medical staff says the gunshot wound was life-threatening. The man remains in critical condition. Witnesses told investigators multiple shots were fired at the victim's vehicle.
Now, APD has video surveillance of the vehicle. You can watch the footage on their YouTube page.
Before that, an off-duty Austin police officer brake-checked a car following him, and when the car rear-ended him, officer Thomas Tuminelli got out of his car, gun already drawn on the other driver.
In the memo put out by APD, it states that Tuminelli broke many laws including reckless driving, brake checking, tailgating, and said he was speeding, trying to get to work on time. It later said he pulled his gun because he was "unsure of the other driver’s actions"
He is on temporary suspension until the beginning of next year.
Road rage related crashes have risen statewide 17% from 2018 to 2019, according to AAA. They say that doesn’t include data from this year. "And so that certainly is a cause for concern," said Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas. "And you know, we don't have the numbers for 2020. But certainly, as I said, it's been a very difficult year.
Saying drivers need to remember to stay patient, especially as we enter the holiday season. "That's a time that can be stressful as well," Armbruster said. "So certainly, just practicing keeping your cool. And keeping your emotions in check when you're behind the will are very important.”
AAA saying the majority of the times you see or experience road rage while driving, it’s not intentional.
“That's the thing is, you might have a situation where someone is accidentally cutting someone off. And then that other driver thinks that they did it on purpose, they take it personal, and then they're gonna honk their horn or use the gesture. And that's usually when we see these types of situations escalate," said Armbruster.