ATLANTA — An uptick in reported interstate shootings is sparking anxiety in drivers across metro Atlanta. In 2021, local law enforcement officers have been called to investigate more than a dozen shootings on interstates.
Whether it's road rage or targeted shootings, Lt. Mark Riley with the Georgia Department of Public Safety is advising people to be aware of their surroundings.
“If someone is following you too closely or changing lanes with you, I think a lot of times, people forget they have a brake pedal,” Riley said. “Just slow down, change lanes to the right lane and let them pass you."
Earlier this month just before 2 a.m. along Interstate 20 westbound, a man told police he was driving near Interstate 285 when someone randomly opened fire into his vehicle.
The victim was hit in the stomach and rushed to the hospital.
Data shows most interstate shootings this year have happened near downtown Atlanta, but not all of them.
In April, police said a woman was shot by a co-worker while driving along Interstate 85 in Coweta County between Newnan and Fairburn.
“That was more of a road rage issue, I believe the man had been cut off,” said Riley.
Riley said in addition to staying alert, drivers should mind the rules of the road and do their best not to provoke other drivers around them.
“You don't know who has a weapon,” said Riley. “You don't know what's going through their minds and what mind be a trigger for them.”
Riley also said if you feel threatened, call 911, exit the interstate and drive to a well-lit area, such as a gas station.
“A lot of places have video surveillance so that will aid law enforcement in being able to track down the person and get a description of the car,” he said. “Sometimes we're even able to pull the tag."