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Utah tops list of worst states for road rage

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jun 16, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has been dubbed the road rage capital of the United States, according to a recent Forbes article. With a perfect score of 100 out of 100 for road rage problems, the state takes the top spot in the nation.

The study reveals that more than three-quarters of Utah residents have experienced being honked at in frustration, the highest rate in the entire country.

Even more disturbing is the fact that over a quarter of Utahns personally know someone who has been injured in a road rage incident.

Disturbing numbers with both the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol studying what's causing the increase.

"For the most part, these are personal choices and they're the wrong decision behind the wheel," said Gleason.

Speeding and tailgating have become all too common, leading to tragic outcomes.

"Over the last few years, we've just seen an increase in aggressive driving and I don't think it's a stretch to say that things that are happening in the world in the last couple of years," Gleason added. "It's hard to turn that off sometimes when you get behind the wheel, speeding, tailgating, and these are the type of incidents that are costing people their lives."

One incident that occurred last year highlights the consequences of road rage when Chris Mortensen lost his life in a senseless act of violence.

It was a big shock for Mortensen's cousin, Brandon Merrill, who had previously devoted his life to Utah Homicide Survivors, a group that helps families of homicide victims. He had to take what he had learned by helping so many others and apply it to his own family.

"He was a teddy bear like you could not really find anybody who was kinder and nicer, and just took people at their best from the moment he met them," he said of his cousin.

State lawmakers are now discussing potential road rage actions during a special session.

"With potentially defining that in statute and what that actually means. It's a little bit of a departure from reckless driving. It takes it one step further to where now it's becoming a violent act targeted at a specific individual," said Lt. Nick Bricker with the UHP.

The bottom line is that whatever the cause of road rage, and no matter what law are passed, it's on each driver to make a decision not to commit acts of violence behind the wheel.

"Because you never know what's going on in somebody else's mind," said Gleason.

"It's very difficult for these family members to process that because now they have to be scared of a random person just anywhere you," added Merrill.