NC bill has tougher penalties for road rage assaults

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some state lawmakers want to strengthen penalties for committing an assault involving road rage.

North Carolina drivers agree, there are plenty of people doing dangerous things on the state’s roads.

“I see a lot of morons that don’t deserve to drive,” said Rod Talsma of Onslow County.

“(There are) people trying to run you over while you’re actually following the rules,” said Nicki Darnell of Vance County.

When disagreements about the rules and etiquette of the road turn violent, Rep. Garland Pierce (D-Scotland County) wants to see increased punishments.

“What kind of a person would actually get out of a car and shoot into somebody’s car because somebody’s not moving fast enough?” Pierce asked. “I think that’s ridiculous.”

But it does happen.

A three-year-old boy shot and killed in Arkansas while riding in a car with his grandmother on a shopping trip. In Raleigh, a driver was shot in the leg in January near a Capital Boulevard McDonalds.

“These are very dangerous situations,” Pierce said.

Road rage incidents in are increasing nationwide. In a 2016 study funded by AAA, nearly 80 percent of drivers admitted to at least one instance of aggressive driving within a year.

In 2016, there were 620 gun-involved road rage incidents, more than double the number reported in 2014.

Pierce’s bill would allow road rage as an aggravating factor when it’s time to sentence someone convicted of assault.

The State Highway Patrol recommends that if someone is riding very close behind a driver, that driver move over and not jam on the brakes. If the behavior continues, troopers say drivers should call 911 or *HP.

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