ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A series of high-profile road rage shootings is prompting officials and grieving families to speak out against violence behind the wheel. The city and county are re-launching a campaign to try to end road rage.
“Just breathe.” That’s what city and county officials hope drivers will do instead of letting a confrontation turn into road rage. “A lot of people don’t realize the hurt that you cause not just to the family but the whole community,” said Sheriff John Allen with Bernalillo County.
Families like Lilly Garcia’s, a four-year-old who was shot and killed in 2015 in a road rage incident. Her mom Veronica Rael Garcia reached out to city and county officials to restart the “Just Breathe” campaign after seeing all the recent reports of road rage violence, including the deadly shooting of an 11-year-old.
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“I just hope that everybody you know when you are angry right behind the wheel you think of my Lilly and just think that your life can be taken, or your life can be changed in just a matter of minutes over something minute,” said Veronica Rael Garcia, Lilly’s mom.
The campaign encourages drivers to stay calm in tense situations on the road, breathe, and avoid eye contact then report it to police. “We see all the road range incidents that are still going on. Even from eight years ago from Lilly’s death and how it continues we want to make sure as Bernalillo County sheriff’s office we are enforcing road rage,” said Sheriff Allen.
Enforcing it, they say, by giving citations to drivers who are speeding or racing or disturbing the peace on the road. The sheriff said they know the campaign won’t stop bad behavior on the road, but the hope is it will at least get drivers to pause and think. “Big thing is for awareness if it can reach just one person to tell them, they stop slow down breathe think about what you are doing,” said Sheriff Allen.
The city is giving out free yard signs for the campaign featuring Lilly’s face. They are available at city hall on the ninth floor in the City Council Office and at the customer service desk at BernCo at Alvarado Square.