DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In 2016, road rage was blamed for 362 crashes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – more than a hundred more than just five years ago according to state crash records.READ MORE: 1 Injured, At Least 24 Units Destroyed After Fire At Fort Worth Apartment Complex
In the past five years, 788 people were injured and 19 people have been killed in crashes, including 14-year-old Blake Casbeer of Irving, where investigators cited road rage as a factor.
“The next time somebody cuts you off, think of (my son’s) face,” said Tim Casbeer. “Remember that this young man lost his life because somebody was an idiot.”
Tim and Crystal Casbeer said their son was a “city boy” who wanted to be a Cowboy.
“He wanted to dress western. He wanted to learn to ride. He wanted to learn to rope,” Blake’s father said.
However, on a Sunday afternoon in June of 2015 those Cowboy dreams were replaced with a parent’s nightmare.
Casbeer had called his son to make sure he’d be home in time for dinner when a stranger answered his son’s phone.
“The man said ‘I work here at the hospital and your son has been in a tragic accident,’ ” Casbeer recalled. “I couldn’t breathe. I’m driving and I literally couldn’t breathe.”
The Casbeers rushed into the emergency room at Medical Center of Plano but there was nothing doctors could do.
Blake died from his injuries.
Investigators said Blake Casbeer was the passenger in a car driven by his 18-year-old cousin.
For reasons that remain unknown, Blake’s cousin and another 38-year-old driver became upset with each other while driving along the President George Bush Turnpike in Garland.
According to the police report, the older driver began following the car Blake was riding in.
On Firewheel Parkway investigators noted in the report that the 38-year-old driver accelerated to cut off the other car and in doing so hit the car – sending it straight into a tree.
Blake took a direct hit.
“Could you just flip them off? Scream at them? Why did you chase them? You are a grown man,” Casbeer said.
Both drivers were charged in the crash with racing causing death. Both have hearings scheduled for June.
- Number of crashes in DFW caused by road rage, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records
2011 – 226
2012 – 256
2014- 288READ MORE: 'This Is Beyond Bullying': Justice Sought For Plano ISD Boy Allegedly Abused By Haggard Middle School Students
The CBS 11 I-Team mapped out all 2129 road rage related crashes since 2010 to find out where these crashes are more prone to happen.
The I-Team discovered no road had more road rage related crashes than I-35E with 101. Taking a closer look the I-Team found no section of I-35E was more prone to road rage crashes than the seven stretch through the city of Lewisville. There have been 30 road rage crashes here.
The I-Team also found 97 road rage crashes along I-30 with the highest concentration in Grand Prairie between the President George Bush Turnpike and MacArthur Boulevard. According to crash reports, 15 wrecks on this four miles of interstate were caused by road rage.
The highest concentration of road rage crashes the I-Team found was in Grapevine just north of DFW International Airport where Texas State Highways 114, 121, and 360 all come together. The I-Team counted 19 road rage crashes since 2010 in just this interchange of highways.
What nearly all the crashes at this Grapevine interchange have in common is what Texas A&M Transportation Institute researcher Scott Cooner said is the number one cause of stress for drivers — merging.
“If you are in a grocery store line, you are not going to cut in front of somebody. But when you are in car, you feel like you can,” said Cooner.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to design roads where merging can be avoided.
The institute is also working with law enforcement agencies to use video technology to clear accidents quicker, reducing the time drivers have to merge to go around accident scenes.
Researchers are also studying the impact that the late merge concept could have on drivers’ stress levels. Instead of gradually closing lanes over several miles, researchers say by keeping all the lanes open right up to where the closure begins and then having each lane alternate, researchers say drivers are less to display road rage behaviors.
However, these efforts have failed to off-set all the on-going road construction projects that constantly force North Texas drivers to merge.
“Really the best advice is to just let it go,” Cooner said. “It’s not worth that 50 feet I’m going to be ahead of one or two cars because it can end in a tragedy.”
Few know this better than the Casbeers.
At a cemetery in Irving etched in Blake’s headstone is the phrase “I love you more”.
“It was Blake’s favorite saying – ‘I love you more’,” said his father. “Every night when he’d go to bed, I’d say ‘I love you, son’ and he’d say ‘I love you more’.”
That simple phrase, “I love you more,” is now what Casbeer utters whenever someone cuts him off in traffic.MORE NEWS: Data Shows 66% Drop In Risk Of Contracting COVID-19 In Dallas County
He said, “It does wonders. You tell them ‘I love you more’ and it changes your attitude.”