Texas ranks first in the nation for road rage shootings, according to a new report by Jerry, the car insurance savings app.
The number of road rage shootings has doubled in recent years, the New York Times reported in April.
In 2018, 247 road rage shootings were reported across the U.S. That number jumped to 522 shootings in 2021, the Jerry report states.
Data from Everytown for Gun Safety and the Gun Violence Archive show that Texas, Florida and California have the highest reported number of fatal road rage shootings over the past five years. Texas had nearly triple the number of shootings compared to Florida and California.
“Neither of the latter two states have permitless carry laws but they are two of the country’s three most populous states, which likely explains their rankings among the states with the highest number of fatal road rage shootings,” according to the Jerry report.
Texas is one of 35 states where it is legal to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle without a permit.
While the legal right to carry a handgun inside your vehicle has been allowed in Texas since the Texas Motorist Protection Act was passed in 2007, laws on gun ownership have become less stringent in the past year.
Known by supporters as “constitutional carry,” House Bill 1927 went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021, and allows Texans 21 and over to carry handguns — openly or concealed — without obtaining a state-issued license, so long they are not excluded from possessing a firearm by another federal or state law.
A full explainer regarding how “constitutional carry” changed gun laws in Texas can be viewed here.
“In the past five years, at least 19 states have passed permitless carry laws, which grant people the right to carry loaded handguns in public, including in their vehicles, without a license or any formal training,” the report states. “Having a gun in the car has been linked to an increase in aggressive driving, and permitless carry laws have been linked to an increase in violent crimes.”
The report references a study by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which found that motorists drive more aggressively when there is a gun in the vehicle.
While no single factor has been definitively established as the cause of the increase in road rage and related shootings, stress levels associated with the coronavirus pandemic combined with looser gun laws are being tapped as trends that could contribute to the findings.