HOUSTON – The Houston Police Department announced one of its most aggressive initiatives to combat a recent surge of road rage incidents across the City.
One of the latest cases of suspected road rage in Houston involved the death of a 17-year old who was leaving a Houston Astros game with his father last week.
A celebration of life was held at Westside High School Thursday afternoon to remember the teen who attended school there.
“This is Harris County, this is actually Fort Bend, all of our counties, all of our surrounding regions in the nation are impacted by this,” said Houston Police Dept. Asst. Chief Larry Satterwhite.
Since the beginning of 2021, Satterwhite said the Houston Police Dept. has received 1,500 calls regarding road rage. One hundred of those calls involve guns and violence.
The number of incidents is up nearly 30% from three years ago.
“This is a real serious problem, and we want to reduce that, and we want to make it feel safer,” Satterwhite said.
HPD launched what’s called the “Safe Roadways Initiative.”
The components involve education, messaging, enforcement and investigation.
The Initiative was launched last weekend.
“It’s about the response. It’s about proactive enforcement, and it’s about the investigation because just because they got away with it that day, doesn’t mean they’re going to get away with it because we’re gonna follow up on investigations, and we will file arrest warrants and we will go pick people up,” said Satterwhite.
Satterwhite says officers will be in marked and unmarked cars during peak traffic times, proactively targeting aggressive behavior.
They will be looking for drivers who are speeding, following other cars too closely, changing lanes without signaling, flashing obscene gestures, and using the horn inappropriately.
Officers are urging drivers to take the high road.
“If you find yourself getting dragged into a potentially confrontational situation, you know, it only takes one person to drive the other way and prevent something bad from happening and potentially save a life,” said Commander Reece Hardy with the Houston Police Dept.
To avoid actions that could provoke other drivers, police say to avoid tailgating, let drivers pass, use turn signals, let drivers merge and consider others in a parking lot.
Officers also recommend that you avoid eye contact, do not respond to aggression with aggression, be tolerant and forgiving, avoid offensive hand gestures and call 911 if you feel threatened.
“You know, for those that are going to be out there and acting very badly, we’re there all the time,” said Satterwhite.
Here is the full press conference regarding the new initiative from HPD: