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Questions About Road Rage Arise After Woman's Death

The killing of Tammy Meyers, a mother of four, sparked heated debate in Las Vegas and across the country about road rage.

Meyers was shot and killed after allegedly confronting a driver who cut her off while she gave her daughter driving lessons.

But almost all of us have been driving when someone else does something stupid, or we do something stupid, that flares tempers.

Capt. Chris Tomaino with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told KNPR’s State of Nevada that road rage is a problem in the valley, but not any more than any other big city.

“You have a city of 2 million. A city that is planned out in kind of a sprawling manner, similar to L.A. and as a result people spend a lot of time in their vehicles,” Tomaino said. “You’ve got people who experience a lot of anonymity that is provided by that cocoon.”

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson said they get road rage calls daily and he believes the number of road rage reports has gone up.

“As time has gone on we have definitely seen more” Hixson said.

However, since there is a not a specific law against road rage, it is difficult for police to track the exact numbers.

Cynthia Harris with AAA said her company does track those numbers and they are going up around the country.

“Two-thirds of the population have participated in some kind of type of aggressive driving or road rage,” Harris said.

She said that someone who can be soft spoken and polite when talking to people, often change when they get behind the wheel.

Deborah Hersman, the president of the National Safety Council, said speeding is one of the most prevalent aggressive driving issues and across the country 28 people a day are killed because of it.

She says there are simple things drivers can do to not annoy fellow drivers, which can lead to aggressive driving and road rage.

“Stay alert," Hersman said. "Don’t use your phone or get distracted by anything when you’re driving. These are common sense safety thing but it’s also something that can make other people upset.”

Hersman said the most aggressive drivers are usually young male drivers. She said stopping the behavior can start with parents showing a better example of a polite driver.

Trooper Hixson agreed that young drivers mimic their parents.

“We’re aren’t raising kids, we’re creating adults,” Hixson said, “And everything we do, they’re going to mimic at one time or another.”

Both Hixson and Tomaino said people should call police if they find themselves in a confrontation with another driver.

Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit

Cynthia Harris, AAA; Deborah Hersman, president, National Safety Council; Chris Tomaino, captain, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Rick Velotta, the Road Warrior, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Loy Hixson, trooper, Nevada Highway Patrol

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)