Las Vegas Filipinos more cautious after road rage spikes

By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 9, 2014

LAS VEGAS – Road rage and drunk driving can be fatal if anger is taken out from behind the wheel.

Some elderly kababayans in the Valley are afraid of deadly road rage after a recent rise in Sin City’s crime reports.

“Las Vegas is not like before,” said Willy Sta. Ana. “Now it’s getting crowded – those young people, they’re involved in road raging. Those old people, like, must be defensive, must be extra careful now.”

Glenn Latras, a Filipino bartender, says, “Sa trabaho, naka experience na ko ng road rage driving, lalo na yung mga lasing, kase they might get off midnight, nag paparty sila.”

In recent incidents, police reported a woman shot a man over a road rage dispute. Another incident involved a fight at a traffic light that left a dead with his two children in the back seat. Another man was stabbed to death – also ruled to be a road raged related death.

“The biggest problem I see is our motoring public,” said Richard Strader, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “A lot of them, not everyone, but not all of them, are in a hurry. They think they’re the only ones on the road way and they’re in a hurry to get to point A to point B and nobody else matters so, instead of being kind on the road and doing what they need to do – communicating with other drivers on the road way or tail gating because the other person is too slow for them – that’s where the spike and aggressive driving.”

Strader adds that the statute on aggressive driving is a criminal offense – the only other statute next to DUI where fines are stiffer and you can lose your driving privileges for a specific amount of time in the state of Nevada.

“The result of it can often times lead to a criminal offense, lead to civil infractions as well,” said Judge Bill Kephart of Justice of the Peace. “When something causes you to be enraged and often we call it road rage. Somebody cut you off or treating you bad, driving your response, the way you respond to it could lead to a criminal offense.”

“You get out of your car to address it, you battered the individual, you tried to cut off someone involving them to accident,” continues Kephart. “Your response could lead to criminal offense. Your response could lead to criminal prosecution and civil prosecution.”

Sheriff Douglas Gellispe of the Las Vegas Metro says that if you encounter such a driver, do not get out of the car. Just drive away.

“Don’t get in the confrontation. Don’t get out of your car. Drive away,” says Gellispe. “Everybody has a cell phone if the person is following you. Pull in the public place. If you see a police officer, wave them down.”

Police say that if you are in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 911 and to get the license plate number of the angry driver.

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