Road rage and aggressive driving are becoming an increasing problem at BYU-Idaho as the student population grows and becomes denser, said Garth Gunderson the director of university Security and Safety.
“It seems that in the past 10-15 years, people are in a bigger hurry, they’re less patient, and people are more likely to drive aggressively,” Gunderson said.
According to enrollment statistics on www.byui.edu, enrollment at BYU-I has jumped from 11,144 full-time students in 2005 to 15,584 full-time students in fall 2013. According to the Facts About BYU-Idaho Web page, the school has over 40 major buildings on 400 acres of land.
Nicole Emmett, a sophomore studying animal science, said that with the increased number of students there have been more negative interactions among drivers, bikers and pedestrians while students and faculty are traveling to campus.
“Both walkers and drivers can be pretty rude at times,” Emmett said. “The walkers take forever to cross the street, but the drivers are impatient and can get road rage.”
Reports of violent traffic incidents have increased nearly 7 percent per year since 1990, according to a study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“A lot of times when I’ve been walking in a crosswalk, drivers will get impatient and annoyed, and they’ll drive really fast through the crosswalk, and I’ve almost been hit several times,” said Zackery Pass, a senior studying business. “I’m not sure if they’re necessarily mad, but they’re definitely impatient.”
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers should keep their eyes on the road, stay calm, not react to provocation and avoid drivers who are behaving erratically.
“When driving, you do have to drive defensively, be patient and pay attention. You can’t just be jamming out to Jay-Z,” said Jared Scrimsher, a sophomore studying marriage and family studies. “Walkers also need to walk defensively and be sure to check before they cross a street.”
Gunderson said vehicles can be dangerous; there’s a lot of potential for accidents. If someone hits another person with their vehicle, that person can be charge with felony assault.
Cars are considered as deadly weapons, and if they’re used that way, they can be as deadly as a gun, Gunderson said.
Emmett said he thinks if the walkers weren’t so pushy to get across the road, it might make the drivers less prone to be aggressive.
“We need to understand the laws better. We need to teach more about being courteous,” Gunderson said. “We need to be a little more forgiving, and we need to be more patient … If we do these things we will see road rage melt away.”