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Utah man wants road rage to be made a felony after assault on highway

Posted at 9:12 PM, Jul 19, 2023

MIDVALE, Utah — David Drake was driving South on I-15 near Roy last Thursday when he saw a car tailgating him, maybe three feet away from his bumper.

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“I rolled down my window here and I went like this, back off," he said, reenacting his hand motion. "And the next thing I knew, the guy came up and bumped my car and moved it.”

The man cut in front of him at an angle, basically forcing him off the road and onto the shoulder, said Drake.

“He jumps out of his car and just comes running back at me, just absolutely enraged," he said. "He takes his fist, and he just slugs it, right there to this window, as hard as he can.”

Utah man wants road rage to be made a felony after assault on highway
Courtesy David Drake

If it weren’t for the double-paned window, the glass might have shattered and Drake could’ve been blinded, he said.

“I was sitting there thinking, I'm going to die," he said. "That's really what I thought. I'm going to die.”

Mark Pierce, Owner of Pierce Driving School, says road rage has really only become a problem in Utah in recent years, and instructors are still figuring out how to prepare students for what's out there.

“We try to teach the kids that it's not worth it if somebody cuts in front of you or whatever, you just try to let that person go, because maybe they're in a hurry," he said. "But we haven't gotten to the point yet where the curriculum might change in driver's ed to what we got to do now for the future of road rage.”

The root of the problem is distracted driving, and technology is specifically to blame, said Pierce.

“Most of the people that aren't starting when the light turns green, didn't start maybe right off the bat, maybe they're drifting, and you go by and they're on their cell phones, and then that's kind of where road rage really begins," he said.

Road rage could be classified as a Class B Misdemeanor; as an attorney, Drake believes if Utah’s legislators made it a felony, then people would think twice before unleashing their rage on the road.

“What I went through should have been an aggravated assault," he said. “I never thought I'd say I had PTSD, because I thought I'm tough," he said. "But it's affected me. It's really affected me.”