Washington state does not collect 'road-rage' data

BOTHELL, Wash. — Bridget Johns and her brothers own the Defensive Driving School based in Kirkland. So she spends her days teaching others how to drive. But even she couldn't avoid a speeding, aggressive driver.

"There was a car behind me, a sports car, that was on my tail," she said. "Really, really pressing me to go faster. But there really wasn't any place for me to go."

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​Then along came a second speeding car.

"The flashing lights (were) going," she said. "He was a trooper in an unmarked car; pulled over the first one."

And perhaps that trooper spared another from what happened to Abel Loreda.

"I want to make this noticeable," said Loreda. "So I'll put this here."

Loreda removed his prosthetic leg in a Pierce County Courtroom today. He wanted to show it to the man who sheared off his left foot in a fit of rage on I-5 in 2016.

Then just last night, a Pierce County man was shot dead by a motorcycle rider following a road-rage incident near Milton in what may be a case of self-defense.

The state has been trying to cut off road rage for decades.  A video was produced by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in the late 1990s. Officers described the aggressive driving they were seeing on the highway.

"Oh, she's following that car too close," one officer said.

"There we go," said another officer, as he watched a vehicle swerve into another lane. "That's what I was waiting for right there."

Nationwide, nearly 80 percent admit to raging on the road. KIRO 7 wanted to find out how many incidents of road rage happen here in Washington state.  We called Washington State Patrol, WASH DOT, and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

And we found out something startling: Nobody tracks road rage incidents in this state.

"One of the things that we teach our students to do starting from the first driving lesson, is to notice what's going on around them," said Bridget Johns.

She says she teaches her students to leave enough space to avoid tangling with another driver.

"Have a space cushion," she said. "And so there's one in front of me. There's one in back of me. I can't really control what's going on in back of me. I can a little bit. But if someone cuts in front of me, I don't care because I have space."

So why doesn't the state collect data on road rage? Those to whom KIRO 7 spoke say they don't have a code or box to check for road rage when these incidents happen.