Data shows road rage incidents on the rise in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tailgating, excessive honking, and brake checking are just some of the examples of road rage seen on Florida roads daily.


Now, data shows drivers are getting even more aggressive.

Every 18 hours, someone is injured or killed in an act of road rage in the United States.

Florida has been ranked one of the most dangerous states for road rage, according to gun violence tracking group Everytown Research and Policy.

Read: Judge sets bond for Orlando road rage murder suspect

It was just this January that an Orlando driver was arrested after he confessed to fatally shooting 30-year-old Alex Sligh, a young father on the way to the first day of a new job.

“He was creating a legacy that he would have been proud of, and that and that Seeley would be proud of,” said David Bouton, Alex’s uncle.

David and Debbie Bouton say their nephew Alex was turning his life around. His motivation was his 1-year-old son.

Read: ‘He lost his life’: Documents reveal what led up to a road-rage shooting in Orlando

“He actually had a list of his goals that he had taped to his mirror. And it was simple things he wanted to get done like tinting for his windows on his car. He wanted to save $1,000. He wanted to spend more time with his son,” Debbie Bouton said, speaking of a list of goals Alex left in his bedroom.

“And then in 52 seconds, it was taken away. 52 seconds,” David Bouton said.

The encounter between Alex Sligh and suspect Nicholas Carrasquillo lasted less than a minute.

Read: Brevard County man involved in earlier road rage case charged for trying to run vehicle off road

Carrasquillo, who has pled not guilty to second degree murder, told investigators Alex cut him off at a red light so he reacted by honking his horn and flashing his lights.

But Alex didn’t move when the light turned green. Carrasquillo claims Alex didn’t move his car when he demanded so Carrasquillo pulled out a gun and fired six times.

“I have run over 52 seconds in my head. I have timed it on my watch. My smoke detector blinks every 52 seconds,” David Bouton said. “It is not a lot of time for him to make that decision for him to decide that I’m going to end a life that I’m going to take it all away.”

Alex’s is one of twelve people killed or injured in Florida from January to February this year. It’s already half of what the state saw all of last year.

And, the violence hasn’t stopped. In March, a truck driver was arrested for shooting at another truck driver near Ocala. In Tampa, a driver followed a car into a gas station, shooting into the backseat, injuring a four-year-old.

Florida is now tied for third for the most road rage shootings in the country. Everytown Research and Policy points to gun access.

“We found that states that didn’t require a permit had nearly triple the rate of road rage shooting victimizations than those states that had the most protective standards. Florida repealed its permitting law and went permit less in 2023,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, senior director of research at Everytown.

Researchers have connected road rage to factors like displaced anger and high stress.

Florida’s 100 page driving manual dedicates just half a page to educating new drivers about road rage. It advises against making eye contact with an aggressive driver and to create as much distance as possible.

Alex’s family wants more education on how to avoid and de-escalate road rage. They also are encouraging Florida drivers to have more empathy towards everyone-- including aggressive drivers.

“They may have a valid reason for trying to get by. Just change the way you view other people. Don’t get angry, it’s just not gonna be worth it,” David Bouton said.

As for the murder charge against Carrasquillo, he’s claiming self-defense.

He did, however, say to investigators that had he not honked his horn or flashed his lights, Alex Sligh would have most likely driven off.

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