To see the earlier Chapters 1
to 7 click here
CHAPTER 8: SUPPORTIVE DRIVING
Benefits of Supportive Driving
(begin selection 1 from Chapter 8)
Supportive driving is an accommodating style that emphasizes adjusting to the great
diversity of highway users and steering clear of the emotional entrapments of road rage
thinking. Since intolerance and stereotypic thinking produce the road rage culture with
its law of retaliation, tolerance is the antidote. Recognizing and accepting a diversity
of drivers and styles is adaptive as well as supportive:
- Local drivers vs. visitors
- Large vehicles vs. smaller
- Healthy, able bodied drivers vs. those who are challenged, ill, in pain, or emotionally
- Sober drivers vs. those under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication
- Young drivers with excellent vision and quick reflexes vs. those who are older, slower,
and less capable
- Skilled drivers who maneuver quickly and skillfully vs. less skilled or inexperienced
who are less efficient and more unpredictable
- Drivers in a hurry vs. excessively slow drivers
- Cool drivers in control of their emotions vs. road ragers
- Self-confident drivers vs. drivers who lack self-confidence
Not all drivers can be treated alike. Visitors are slower to recognize signs that are
familiar to locals and break the pace of traffic flow. Supportive drivers accommodate to
them by accepting the reality of unfamiliar drivers and adjusting their driving to suit
the situation. Ignoring this reality leads to feelings of resentment against "these
inconsiderate drivers," accompanied by unrealistic and unjust thoughts.
They should be more prepared and know where they're going. They shouldn't be so
inconsiderate. They're jerks who don't care who they inconvenience. At least I should let
them know I'm mad!
Adaptive thinking perceives that a driver who is slow or less alert may be ill or in
pain. Less experienced drivers make more mistakes and can be less predictable. Drivers may
be experienced and lack self-confidence so they react unexpectedly. There exist two
methods to deal with highway pluralism and diversity. The common approach is to oppose
driver pluralism, to denounce it, and to strive to ban diversity ("Get these
incompetent people off the road" or "Don't give bad drivers a license.").
The more democratic approach accommodates to the diversity of driver needs and purposes.
Psychologists have long understood that human beings long to feel accepted and
respected. In Hawai'i, the "Aloha spirit" symbolizes an attitude of mutual
acceptance. How do you feel when a courteous driver anticipates what you want to do and
makes room or yields? You're likely to be filled with gratitude. When others are helpful
to us it puts a smile in our heart. For example, the courtesy wave is a ritual that
connects us as peaceful strangers. This simple act can restore some of the dignity lost
when hostile drivers show disrespect by yelling or making obscene gestures. When someone
waves thanks for being helpful, we feel less isolated, we feel acknowledged, we feel
validated. When we wave thanks to someone who does us a favor, though we are physically
apart we make a human connection by sharing good will.
(end selection 1 from Chapter 8)
to Motorist Communication
Training for Supportive Driving
Come Out Swinging Positive
Exercise: Random Acts of Kindness for Drivers
Checklist: Supportive Driving Affirmations
Exercise: Partnership Driving
(begin selection 2 from Chapter 8)
It's normal and expected to experience initial resistance to changing driving
philosophy and style. Most people have never even heard that they have a driving
"philosophy." We just don't like to admit that there might be something very
wrong with our driving. It's always the other drivers who need to change their attitude
and behavior. For instance, 70 percent of drivers complain about the aggressiveness of
others, but only 30 percent admit to their own aggressiveness. After witnessing our own
road rage habit and hostile attitudes, we may want to change, but lack the will to do it.
To resolve this problem, a "partnership" approach to driving self-improvement
training utilizes social influence to help individuals change ingrained habits that are
difficult to recognize on our own.
The purpose of this exercise is to develop an objective view of "myself as a
driver." It's as revealing as looking in a mirror to see what others see of your
appearance. A driving partner functions as a human "mirror" reflecting what your
driving looks like to others. Confronted with an objective view of themselves, many
drivers get the shock of their life, "I can't believe that's me!" We recommend
switching roles whenever possible, alternating between being the driver and the driving
partner. By experiencing the role of driving partner, you can see what it's like to be
denied or contradicted by the driver. By repeating the cycle several times or making it
into a regular practice, you obtain experience that builds emotional intelligence.
Instructions for the driver:
Before you begin, the driver signs a partnership driving agreement that protects
the driving partner. An example:
DESIGNATED DRIVING PARTNER AGREEMENT
1. I, ______________ (name), the driver, designate you, ______________ (name), the
passenger, as my driving partner for this trip: ______________________________ (date,
2. As my driving partner, I authorize you to express yourself freely about my driving,
and promise not to retaliate in any form. I agree that you, my designated driving partner,
will be the sole judge of whether or not I retaliated. I agree to abide by your judgment
even if it doesn't agree with my version.
3. If I lose my cool and you find that I'm retaliating against you, I agree to
compensate you for each incident in accordance with our Fair Compensation Scale (Note:
negotiate and agree upon this prior to the trip. If appropriate, add it to the bottom of
this agreement). You, as my designated driving partner, will make the final decision as to
whether or not I retaliated.
4. I agree that the purpose for designating you as my driving partner is to help me
gain objectivity as a driver. This means letting you observe me and comment on my driving
in accordance with your perceptions, feelings, and analyses of incidents. This kind of
exchange will help me reach my goal of becoming an emotionally intelligent and supportive
5. I thank you for helping me and am grateful to you for it. I'm willing to be your
designated driving partner whenever you ask.
Ask your driving partner to comment on your driving and give him or her the signed
Designated Driving Partner Agreement. Make a commitment to allow your partner complete
freedom to react to your driving
(end selection 2 from Chapter 8)
Notes for Chapter 8
- From an e-mail correspondent, 1999.
- "NMA's Seven Sensible Signals," National Motorists Association [online], Site [5/20/00].
- "Drivers Supposed to Be Nice to Each Other Today," CNN.com, October 7, 1995
[online], Site [5/20/00].
- Leon James, Diane Nahl, and Richard Kirby, "Youth Against Road Rage (YARR),"
1998, DrDriving.org [online],
- Envoy Vehicle Courtesy System, Urbane Systems NA, Inc. 5019 Davis Ford Road, Woodbridge,
Virginia, 22192 http://www.envoyusa.com/ [5/20/00].
- William Beaty, "Traffic Waves: Physics for Bored Commuters," 1998 [online], Site [5/20/00].
- "Apo sa tuhod," Tripod.com October 9, 1997 [online], Site [5/20/00].
- K. T. Berger, Zen Driving (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998).
- Ibid, pp. 31-73.
- Ibid, p. 148.
- "Random Acts of Kindness by Drivers," DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/acts_of_kindness.htm
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Partnership Driving," DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/partnership.htm
CHAPTER 9: LIFELONG DRIVER EDUCATION
Teenagers at Risk
(begin selection 1 from Chapter 9)
In response to the appalling statistics and the mounting concern over teen drivers,
many states and some countries have instituted a graduated licensing approach that
provides for several licensing phases: learner's permit, intermediate or provisional
license, and then full license.
A graduated licensing system supervises young, novice drivers in progressively more
difficult motoring experiences at a controlled pace. Proponents believe that the more
supervised practice teen drivers obtain the more experience they gain, so it is less
likely they will be involved in a crash. Since young people typically have difficulty
resisting peer influence to take risks and show bravado, proponents also hope more
supervision will help build safer attitudes. Restrictions may include:
- Six months of crash-free, conviction-free driving
- Zero tolerance for alcohol
- No driving between midnight and 6:00 a.m. without authorization
- Provisional color-coded drivers' licenses
- Successful completion of a driver education course
During the permit stage at age 15 or 16, young drivers must be supervised by an adult,
pass a drivers' education course, and remain conviction-free to proceed to the next level.
The provisional or intermediate license includes on-road testing and a requirement to
remain citation-free for the license period. Other restrictions often apply, such as more
supervised driving and a curfew or prohibition against late-night driving. The third stage
of full licensing occurs after successful completion of the first two stages and includes
a zero-tolerance alcohol law. After New Zealand adopted a graduated licensing system,
studies showed that the injury and fatality rated among young drivers decreased. By 1999,
20 states had enacted some form of graduated licensing.3
Clearly, the need for driver education is high especially among teens, yet states
rarely require it or fund it at insufficient levels. Driving courses are seldom available
in public schools, and those that offer courses cannot meet the demand. Private driving
schools often service the courts as a form of re-education or rehabilitation for driving
offenses. Officials frequently comment that the weakening of society's resolve to deliver
driver education knowledge is associated with the worsening driving environment. The
American Driver and Traffic Safety Association believes that the majority of drivers are
rude, simply ignoring traffic rules. In the 1970s 90 percent of people took drivers'
education courses, while today, it's 35 percent:
Driving instructors say it's hard to preach proper driving when so few practice it. In
a survey of more than 1,000 adults, the consumer coalition found that 64 percent believed
people are driving much less courteously and safely than five years ago. The solutions
they offered include more driver education, warnings or tickets from law enforcement
officers and refresher driving courses for all adults similar to those required in some
states for senior citizens.4
In addition to teaching their kids to drive skillfully and appropriately, parents can
take steps to help prevent or reduce the number of crashes involving teen drivers:
We need to target children aged 11-15 for education, and follow up with kids
later--they are learning aggressive driving behavior from day one, even from parents who
only get angry occasionally. Parents have to tell their kids at a young age that they are
wrong when they overreact to mistakes made by other drivers. We all need to remember and
recognize that everyone makes mistakes sometimes--assume that the person who angers you
either didn't do it on purpose, or is a misguided soul who should be pitied, not hated.
(Middle aged woman)
For example, parents can:
- Supervise the teen's driving time
- Give the teen sufficient supervised practice during the learner's permit period and
throughout the first year of licensed driving
- Put a limit on the number of passengers allowed
- Limit the teen's driving during periods of increased risk such as weekends and
particular holidays such as New Year's Eve
- Establish a curfew
- Insist that the teen and passengers wear safety belts
- Set limits on the areas and locales where the teen is permitted to drive
- Prohibit the teen from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Encourage the teen to use good judgment both as a driver and as passenger
- Be a good role model as a driver
(end selection 1 from Chapter 9)
Driving Psychology Curriculum
(begin selection 2 from Chapter 9)
A lifelong driver education curriculum must employ
findings from psychology about human development, i.e., that development proceeds
according to learning phases during which appropriate instruction can be effectively
delivered.11 The new driver education curriculum ought to be a driving
psychology curriculum because the entire personality of the individual is involved in
driving. According to our research, driving behavior involves the three basic aspects of
- affective--the driver's feelings, emotions, attitudes, and values
- cognitive--the driver's thoughts, judgment, and knowledge
- sensorimotor--the driver's vision, motor reactions, fatigue, stress,
These three aspects of our driving personality jointly determine
driving behavior, so it's important to assess each of the three areas. Good driving
requires that we engage in an endless task of preventing overt mistakes and suppressing
irrational decisions. Since they are the source of irrational judgments and costly
mistakes, this requires schooling our traffic emotions.
In general, a focus on "affective instruction" is effective in the early
years, introducing basic attitudes of sociality such as obedience, respect, and
conscience. This would be followed by a focus on "cognitive instruction" in the
middle years, involving reasoning, decision-making, and problem solving. There would be a
continued focus on emotions and attitudes on the road to reinforce the early education
focus and to raise it to its appropriate cognitive level. In the mid-teens
"sensorimotor instruction" begins that teaches how to maneuver a vehicle on
public roads. Teens are also taught cognitive knowledge of traffic laws and scenario
analysis of driving incidents. The new curriculum would strengthen these areas and include
a strong affective component that focuses on social responsibility, human rights, and
emotional intelligence. The practical focus is teaching that the driver's prime directive
is to remain in control of the vehicle as well as the situation.
Affective driving skills are schooled first because they establish the attitudes behind
the wheel that stem from the motivational and socio-emotional system. Traffic emotions
govern our competitiveness and aggressiveness, as well as our peacefulness, optimism, and
compassion. Our thinking follows from our attitudes and motives. Since we think in
conformity with how we feel, negative feelings promote pessimistic thoughts. Our actions
are the consequences of the attitudes we maintain and the thoughts we entertain. Driving
is mostly accomplished by relying on automatic habits that interact in these three areas
of our driving personality. Obviously, a complete change of driving habits requires a
lifetime involvement. This extended quality of continuing driver education is necessary to
help people adapt to the ever-increasing complexity of congested driving and the new
devices used in moving vehicles, such as cell phones, computers, entertainment systems,
GPS systems, and Internet access. Each new generation needs to be taught the three aspects
of a driver's personality according to the natural developmental order of human growth, at
the appropriate age level. The following are model instructional objectives for driver
personality development in the three domains of behavior.
(end selection 2 from Chapter 9)
K and Elementary School: Focus on Affective Driving Skills
Middle School: Focus on Cognitive Driving Skills
High School: Focus on Sensorimotor Driving Skills
Post Licensing: The QDC Approach
(begin selection 3 from Chapter 9)
QDCs are inexpensive instructional delivery mechanisms for all aspects of driving
psychology and driver training in both private and commercial settings. Currently, QDCs
exist only in experimental groups of traffic psychology students.12. As driving
density and complexity increase while injuries and fatalities remain high, society will
need to develop greater skill in the driving population. We foresee a future where
skill-based license renewal will be required and will include QDC participation because
it's an inexpensive and powerful delivery mechanism for universal and lifelong driver
QDCs can be Face-to-Face or Virtual. Face-to-face QDCs can be physically based in the
family, neighborhood, or workplace. Virtual QDCs are asynchronous, telephone, Internet or
Web-based interactive experiences.12 Members are not physically or temporally
present but communicate on the telephone or electronically through email, Web forums and
bulletin boards, online discussion groups, online chat rooms, etc. Other
- Dyadic QDCs are easy to set up between a driver and regular passengers, such as carpool
mates or a long-term Partnership Driving (see Chapter 8)
- A family QDC to promote safe and supportive driving attitudes in children, teenagers,
and adults alike
- Court mandated QDCs for motivating and supervising problem drivers (see RoadRageous
- School QDCs allow grouping younger and older children together, so that there may be a
positive generational influence and connection, and help prepare the next generation of
drivers to accept and support QDC membership as a lifelong involvement13
- Professional QDCs for drivers of commercial fleet vehicles, trucks, police and emergency
vehicles would reduce accident rates, citations, and costs for companies and government
- Senior QDCs for older drivers would promote greater safety15
It's important to meet regularly and keep attendance to motivate members not to skip.
Prizes, diplomas, awards, and commendations may also help keep members involved. A
rotating chair calls meetings and safeguards records for a determined period. There is no
limit to how long a QDC may continue. Eventually, national and local QDC conferences,
newsletters, and databases may arise. We predict that the second century of car society
will not end before QDCs will be part of the normal lifelong career of every driver in all
We developed the following instructional tools for the QDC curriculum:
- TEE-Cards for Traffic Emotions Education16
- RoadRageous Video Course (see description later in this chapter)17
- Activity Sheets for driving personality makeovers
- Self-assessment surveys for monitoring driving style
- Checklists of driving behaviors for easy tracking (throughout this book)
- Logs or Diaries to record self-witnessing observations
- Reminder Cards to guide trip-by-trip planned exercises
- Audio tapes to facilitate safe behind the wheel exercises
- Fact Sheets on driving statistics, news, and alerts
- Partnership Driving Agreement forms (see Chapter 8), and other help-each-other
- Scenario Analysis of road rage incidents in the media to teach emotionally intelligent
decision-making (see Chapter 5).
- Games, skits, and musicals to teach driving psychology principles.
- CARRtoons and Instructional Vignettes18
- Safe activities to do with children in the car (see Chapter 7)
- Diplomas, Awards, and Commendations for encouragement19
QDCs are re-education mechanisms that promote a value shift to enable the change from
aggressive driving to supportive driving. But they also promise to be the best source of
continuous data for tracking the level and intensity of aggressive driving. Trained
volunteers tape or video record themselves in traffic and later tabulate the data, using
standard checklists to track the presence or absence of particular emotions, and their
intensity. These real time data would be a measure of the level of aggressiveness or
stress that drivers regularly experience on particular stretches of road.
(end selection 3 from Chapter 9)
RoadRageous Video Course
(begin selection 4 from Chapter 9)
We created a novel driver education course called RoadRageous, co-authored with
well known road rage therapist Dr. Arnold Nerenberg. To our knowledge, this is the first
driver education course designed to teach drivers the behavioral self-modification
techniques they need to implement a lifelong driver self-improvement program. Traditional
driver education courses include portions explaining why attitude is important in driving,
but the difference in the new curriculum is a focus on problem-solving, developing
emotional self-control, and a sense of community. Everyone knows that attitude is
important because parents tell their teenagers, teachers tell their students, police
officers tell children and motorists, government officials advise the public, and safety
managers tell their fleet drivers. But research and experience show that it's not
sufficient to merely tell drivers to have good attitudes. In addition to good intention,
they need techniques to achieve or evolve better attitudes, especially when it's natural
to behave badly. It's one thing to urge teenagers to be cooperative, and another thing to
give them lessons in cooperation.
course highlights and strengthens the ten basic "inner skills" drivers need
in order to become "driving literate" today.
- To strengthen the desire for lifelong driver self-improvement.
- To neutralize or weaken existing negative driving attitudes.
- To strengthen and inculcate positive driving values.
- To learn how to transform self-centered goals into highway community goals through
activities that weaken identification with aggressive models and strengthen identification
with supportive driving models.
5. To prepare drivers to deal effectively with aggressiveness or provocation by other
drivers and with their own aggressiveness and road rage.
- To understand why it's necessary for drivers to develop inner standards of behavior.
- To understand what is aggressive driving and how to assess one's aggressiveness as a
- To learn to critically analyze traffic situations and events in order to identify
emotional intelligence choice points where people could have acted differently for a
- To practice driver self-assessment and self-improvement activities, including keeping a
Driving Log and collecting self-observational data.
- To understand the basic facts and solutions to impaired driving (DUI, anger, advancing
age, inexperience, drugs and medication)
The video course teaches the Three-step Program (see Chapter 6), a behavioral method
for "learning to learn" new driving skills. Driving literacy is the ability to
continuously learn new driving skills in the face of congestion and ever more demanding
complexities of dashboard electronics and global telecommunications in vehicles. This
prototype course involves learners in activating their "driving conscience,"
teaching them how to think analytically while driving, how to develop greater awareness of
thoughts and emotions behind the wheel, and how to monitor actions. Drivers utilize their
data to design and create a new driving personality, one that is supportive instead of
aggressive. The course takes a few hours to complete, but provides follow-up exercises and
activities useful for an entire driving career. The course is also suitable for law
enforcement and commercial drivers since they need to understand the driving psychology of
motorists as well as themselves as professional drivers.14
(end selection 4 from Chapter 9)
Exercise: Scenario Analysis to Develop Critical Thinking
Older Drivers at Risk
Checklist: Positive Driving Behavior
Notes for Chapter 9
- From an e-mail correspondent, 1998.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) [online], http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ [5/20/00].
- A. F. Williams, D. F. Preusser and S. A. Ferguson, "Fatal Crashes Involving
16-Year-Old Drivers: Narrative Descriptions," Journal of Traffic Medicine vol.
26, no. 1-2 (1998): 11-17.
- James B. Reed, Janet B. Goehring and Jeanne Mejeur, "Environment, Energy and
Transportation Program Reducing Crashes, Casualties and Costs Traffic Safety Challenges
for State Legislatures," National Conference of State Legislatures, Environment,
Energy and Transportation Program, Transportation Series No. 5, February 1997 [online], http://www.ncsl.org/programs/esnr/transer5.htm#driver
- American Driver and Traffic Safety Association [online], http://adtsea.iup.edu/adtsea/
[5/21/00]; CNN.com, August 26, 1997 [online], http://cnn.com
- "Driver-ZED," AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety [online], http://driverzed.org/ [5/20/00].
- John Larson, "Testimony to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,
Surface Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on Road Rage: Causes and Dangers of Aggressive
Driving, July 17, 1997," [online], Site
- Driver-Zed, http://driverzed.org/
- Lawrence P. Lonero, et al., "Novice Driver Education Model Curriculum
Outline," AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, March, 1995 [online], http://www.aaafts.org [10/20/97]; Selections available:
- Leon James, "Aggressive Driving and Road Rage: DealingWith Emotionally Impaired
Drivers," Testimony to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Surface
Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on Road Rage: Causes and Dangers of Aggressive
Driving, July 17, 1997 [online], Site or http://DrDriving.org/articles/testimony.htm
- Jack Wheat, "Program Soothes the Savage Driver," Miami Herald, November
- R. A. Thompson (Ed.), Socioemotional Development. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation,
vol. 36, 1990 (University of Nebraska Press); David Hamburg, Today's Children: Creating
a Future for a Generation in Crisis (New York: Times Books, 1992).
- Updates on the QDC movement are posted at DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/qdc.htm
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Quality Driving Circles--QDCs: What are they and how do
they work?" [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/qdc.htm
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "CARR--Children Agianst Road Rage," [online], http://DrDriving.org/youth/ [5/20/00].
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Aggressive Driving Prevention Course for Law
Enforcement," [online], http://DrDriving.org/legislation/tee_cards.htm
[5/20/00]; Leon James and Diane Nahl, RoadRageous Aggressive Driver Course for Law
Enforcement (N. Miami, FL: American Institute for Public Safety, 2000).
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, DrDriving's Page for Older Drivers [online], http://DrDriving.org/elderly
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "DrDriving's TEE Cards--Traffic Emotions Education for
All Drivers," [online],
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "RoadRageous Video Course Objectives and Modules,"
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Instructional CARRtoons for aggressive driving
- Leon James. "DrDriving's Vision Statement for YARR--A New Socio-Behavioral
Proposal," Keynote Address, YARR Foundational Conference, June 19, 1998, Edmunds
College, Seattle, WA; Richard Kirby, "The Mission of YARR," 1998 Conference,
- Leon James, Diane Nahl, and Arnold Nerenberg, RoadRageous Aggressive Driver Course (N.
Miami, FL: American Institute for Public Safety, 1999); James and Nahl, "RoadRageous
Video Course Objectives and Modules," http://DrDriving.org/courses
- Debra Franco, "Road Rage Not to Blame--Shootout Victim Drunk, Autopsy Finds, The
Gazette, Colorado Springs, July 7, 1999.
- J. Peter Rothe, The Safety of Elderly Drivers (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction
Publishers, 1990). Pp. 185-302.
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Aggressiveness in Relation to Age, Gender, and Type of
Car," 1998, DrDriving.org [online], Site
PART 3: DRIVING'S FUTURE
CHAPTER 10: THE WAR AGAINST AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
Direct and Indirect Cost
(begin selection 1 from Chapter 10)
How long can we continue as a society when people die on our highways at an annual rate
five times greater than wars have killed U.S. soldiers since the beginning of the century?
This year at least 40,000 people will lose their lives on highways and more than 3 million
will go the hospital with injuries and economic losses will reach over 200 billion
dollars. In 1999 more than a dozen states passed aggressive driving laws and law
enforcement around the country has stepped up initiatives to curb aggressive drivers.
- fatalities (425,000 per decade)
- injuries (35 million per decade)
- dollars (250 billion per year)
- long-term ill health
- increased daily stress (hassles and concerns)
- fear and threat on streets and highways
- lowering emotional intelligence
- promoting learned negativity in public places leading to automotive vigilantism and
widely deployed electronic surveillance systems
- reduced productivity when arriving at work mad and exhausted
- learned cynicism (aggressive driving norms and disrespect for regulations) leading to
alienation among highway citizens
- greater air pollution due to emotional use of the gas pedal (getting less gas per
- breeding the next generation of aggressive drivers
(end selection 1 from Chapter 10)
Federal Agencies Unite Against Aggressive Drivers
(begin selection 2 from Chapter 10)
Also in 1997, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
(AASHTO), with the assistance of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National
Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Transportation Research Board
(TRB), assembled a group of national safety experts in driver, vehicle, and highway issues
from various organizations representing the private and public sectors. The purpose was to
implement a plan dealing with key areas that impact the aggressive driving problem, among
- Curbing aggressive driving
- Graduated licensing for young drivers
- Sustaining proficiency in older drivers
- Reducing impaired driving
- Keeping drivers alert
- Increasing driver safety awareness
- Ensuring safer bicycle travel
- Improving motorcycle safety and awareness
- Making truck travel safer
The Highway Safety Act of 1996 authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT),
through its separate agencies of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), to fund traffic improvement programs
implemented by state and local governments, including funding safety improvements in the
areas of occupant protection, emergency medical services, police traffic services, roadway
safety, impaired driving, speed control, motorcycle safety, traffic records, and
pedestrian and bicycle safety.6
(end selection 2 from Chapter 10)
Aggressive Police Initiatives
(begin selection 3 from Chapter 10)
Safety legislation in vehicle and highway design has played a crucial role in reducing
the number and severity of highway injuries. Legislation covering driver behavior has also
had highly significant results involving increasing seat belt usage and imposing stiffer
penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol. Currently legislators at federal,
state, and city levels, are enacting aggressive driving bills to assist law enforcement
efforts to fight dangerous and illegal driving. Dozens of police initiatives to curb
aggressive driving are described on police department Web pages.8 Many attempt
to combine enforcement with public awareness by enlisting public participation in
identifying and reporting aggressive drivers, and stealth is still a common technique used
by law enforcement3
Marked patrol cars create a deterrent effect when present, but this deterrence is lost
when they leave the area. When motorists see a marked patrol car, they are usually on
their best behavior and stay that way until it is out of sight. Use of unmarked,
non-traditional vehicles for aggressive driver enforcement in the community will
contribute to public awareness by increasing motorist uncertainty about which vehicles are
used for enforcement. It will also generate free publicity about the enforcement program.
The use of both unmarked cars and motorcycles increase the effectiveness of any aggressive
driving enforcement program.
In 1999 police in Florida mounted a stealth aggressive driving initiative
In a region where commuting conditions are so
notorious that gun-waving motorists barely rate headlines, the state highway patrol just
launched one of the latest programs in the nation to define and decrease aggressive
driving. Operating so-called "stealth" vehicles confiscated from criminals,
undercover officers will be equipped with video cameras to record fast and furious driving
from West Palm Beach to Miami. All 1,800 Florida troopers also will see training videos on
bad road habits to watch for.
The congested highways of south Florida provide the perfect pressure cooker for the
experiment. The number of vehicles on the road in metro Miami has nearly doubled in the
past decade, to 2.4 million. Driving on Interstate 95 and other major arteries is a
nightmare. Among other things, impatient motorists weave from lane to lane and flash their
brights inches from the bumpers of the unwary. Troopers say at least one-third of nonfatal
crashes are linked to aggressive driving.
State troopers hope that capturing aggressive drivers on videotape will strengthen
court cases. Initially outfitted with just two undercover Jeeps, both flashy and late
model, the program expands next year to include a camera-carrying fleet of nontraditional
vehicles--motorcycles to lumbering trucks.9
Communities have responded to aggressive drivers by initiating aggressive enforcement
programs in an attempt to reduce illegal driving behaviors and protect the community.
Americans kill each other at the rate of 40,000 every year and crash into each other 6
million times each year. Besides the psychological and spiritual injuries, which cannot be
measured, physical injuries inflict a financial loss of 250 billion dollars annually in
direct medical expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. In July 1998, the
Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) released a statewide survey that
measured driver stress and aggression.10 The study concluded that one million
Michigan drivers, or 16 percent, are in immediate danger of committing road rage and that
the associated costs will be unbearable. Clearly, reducing the incidence of aggressive
driving behaviors reduces the psychological, physical, and financial burden society bears.
Not only could we save money, but we could enjoy freedom from injury, peace, security and
greater community among road users. Most importantly, we could curtail the savage behavior
of those who permit emotions to rule their actions, as in this 1999 story11
(end selection 3 from Chapter 10)
Aggressive Driving Bills
(begin selection 4 from Chapter 10)
The federal initiative quickly paid off. According to a 1998 report by the National
Conference of State Legislatures several aggressive driving bills have been approved and
several more are being introduced.17 Excerpts from some of these bills and new
laws are presented in the chart below in enough detail to illustrate the specific language
used to define offenses. In many instances the law makes reference to unobservable mental
states of drivers such as their intention, attitude, or intensity of emotional
involvement. Such subjective assessments will present problems in future court cases.
Until the issue of what is observable about drivers is resolved, new aggressive driving
laws may have to alter some language in the face of legal challenges.
Law enforcement officers must be able to identify
the aggressive driver's specific behavior. For instance, New Jersey police use the
language of traffic violations to help officers observe specific driver behavior18
- Following Too Close
- Unsafe Lane Change
- Driving While Intoxicated
- Reckless, Careless or Inattentive Driving
- Disregard Of Traffic Signs and Signals
- Improper Passing
- Driving While Suspended
Some tricky psychological issues may be involved in making distinctions between
aggressive driving infractions and non-aggressive violations. The federal government
recognizes that "just because drivers are stopped for speeding does not mean they
were driving aggressively."3 The guidelines call for citations to be
marked to identify true aggressive driving violations. In our opinion, officers may have
difficulty reliably profiling the aggressiveness of a driver who has committed a visible
infraction. For instance, when a driver is stopped for speeding, what criteria are
involved in making a decision about the drivers "intentions" that permit
the officer to check off "Merely speeding" or "Reckless speeding"? Or,
in other infractions: "Merely switching lanes without signaling" vs.
"Recklessly switching lanes"?
To avoid potential police abuse as well as problems
in the courts, various mechanical schemes will arise to define specific behaviors that are
not subject to interpretation by officers. This is why traffic law enforcement between
1970 and 1990 has successfully focused on three driver behavior detection technologies:
radar detection, breath analyzers, and seat belt use (including child restraints). In each
case, officers are able to provide the courts with mechanical measurements or direct
observation to show whether an infraction occurred. But beginning in the late 1990s, new
aggressive driving legislation has progressed faster than our ability to provide law
enforcement with a behavioral technology that can objectively detect aggressive intentions
in the majority of cases. This aspect of the new driving society remains to be
implemented. As a result of the vigorous deployment of the new photo-radar technologies,
speed and BAC levels are joined by "red light running" and "improper
turning" on the list of objective measurements available to police. Nevertheless,
many aggressive infractions cannot be measured with these devices.
(end selection 4 from Chapter 10)
Traffic Enforcement Education
(begin selection 5 from Chapter 10)
The concept of educating motorists while enforcing the law is
taking hold in police departments everywhere. According to Ontario Police Superintendent
Bill Currie, who is concerned by the 500 calls per week they receive from drivers
complaining about road rage, the provincial Highway Rangers in Greater Toronto deliver
"roadside interventions." Stopped drivers fill out "a questionnaire
designed to help motorists see whether their anger is under control or if theyre
headed for a road rage situation."20 The California Highway Patrol has
mounted a campaign using billboards and public service announcements to remind motorists
of the importance of following the rules of the road. The traffic division of the San
Antonio police force is using our TEE Cards to train their officers as well handing them
out to motorists. The TEE Cards represent the essential partnership that must exist
between law enforcement and traffic education in a new dual role for officers on the road.21 A sample of our TEE Cards may
be found in Chapter 9 (in the section titled RoadRageous Video Course).
Government officials recognize that
aggressive driver programs should try to increase voluntary compliance with traffic laws
and not merely focus on catching and punishing offenders. Public awareness of a program is
essential for two reasons, first, to send a message that aggressive drivers will not be
tolerated and second, to promote community support. The current model favors a
multi-agency approach to pool resources and expertise. Some highway law enforcement
practices rely on stealth to surprise and catch offenders, but the new approach promoted
by the government switches from stealth to awareness and readiness to comply. Publicize to
maximize! could be the motto that describes the new law enforcement philosophy. The
intensifying involvement of government in the driving arena has produced a novel mixture
of enforcement and education that introduces new roles for the police and citizen alike.
The motive to gain public acceptance of these special enforcement efforts reflects the
desire to teach drivers about highway responsibility and intelligence. Now patrol officers
are expected to deliver a driver education mini-lesson along with a citation.
A new paternalistic approach to drivers is evolving in government. At first aggressive
driving initiatives used dedicated personnel and targeted specific areas on streets and
highways. The governments new attitude is that "aggressive driving enforcement
must be a priority to everyone on patrol, not just traffic units, regardless of their
assignments." To go along with this broader motivation is the new focus on data
collection on aggressive driving violations, and the creation of shared databases that
keep track of trends over time in particular areas. Legislative bills in many states
mandate collecting data to track driver behavior changes objectively using
The new standard for an integrated approach to fight traffic violators involves several
agencies to achieve adequate ground-air coordination. The government recommends the
fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter to work aggressive driving details. The aircraft is
used as an observation platform, while marked law enforcement vehicles on the ground stop
the identified violators and take the necessary enforcement action. Ground units represent
state, municipal and county law enforcement agencies from the area. One ground law
enforcement vehicle has a television reporter and camera crew riding along to report on
the enforcement activity.22
Following a trend that has been successful with C-SPAN and Court TV, government
agencies involved in traffic enforcement encourage the deliberate use of media coverage,
through ride-alongs and live remote broadcasts. More states are equipping highway patrol
cars with video recording equipment that provides a legal record of what happens during
The war against aggressive driving is intensifying, but it can hardly succeed by
relying exclusively on the deterrence effects of surveillance and punishment. We believe
that a full answer to the aggressive driving problem requires that we rethink driver
education and training by including traffic emotions education and making it a lifelong
process. Traffic emotions literacy is as important as safety literacy in todays
high-density, high-performance commuting. In the meantime citizen activism against
government paternalism is also stiffening and expanding, and our nation suddenly finds
itself polarized between sentiments of fighting for highway independence and those who
agitate for getting tough with more legislation and enforcement.
(end selection 5 from Chapter 10)
Notes for Chapter 10
- Don Russell and Bob Warner, "City's Roads Have No Rules, and It Seems Even the Cops
Don't Care," Philadelphia Daily News [online], Site [5/20/00].
- Ricardo Martinez, "Statement of The Honorable Ricardo Martinez, M.D.Administrator,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Before The Subcommittee On Surface
Transportation, Committee On Transportation And Infrastructure, U.S. House Of
Representatives," July 17, 19997 [online], Site
- "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA), [online], Site
- Leon James, "Aggressive Driving and Road Rage: Dealing
With Emotionally Impaired
Drivers," Testimony to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Surface
Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on Road Rage: Causes and Dangers of Aggressive
Driving, July 17, 1997 [online], Site
- Leon James, "Traffic Violence: A Crisis in Community Mental Health," InnercomNewsletter
of the Mental Health Association in Hawaii (June 1987). Available at Site [5/20/00].
- Martinez, "Statement," Site
- James B. Reed, Janet B. Goehring, and Jeanne Mejeur, "Environment, Energy and
Transportation Program Reducing Crashes, Casualties and Costs--Traffic Safety Challenges
for State Legislatures," National Conference of State Legislatures, February 1997
[online], www.ncsl.org/programs/esnr/transer5.htm [5/20/00].
- "Traffic Law Enforcement," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Police and Legislative Initiatives" [online],
- "Traffic Law Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
- Deborah Sharp, "South Florida Tries 'Stealth' Campaign," USA Today
- Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), 1998 [online], Site [5/20/00].
- MariLynn Terrill, "AP Wire News Briefs," July 21, 1999, Western Front
- Community Roadwatch Report [online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Governor Pataki Announces Legislation To Fight Road Rage," New York State
Government Press Release [online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Remarks Prepared for Delivery Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater
Aggressive Driving and the Law a Symposium," January 22, 1999 Washington, D.C., US
Department of Transportation [online], Site
- "Traffic Law Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
- Jan Goehring, "Aggressive Driving, Background and Overview Report" NCSL
Transportation News (November 1998) [online], Site [3/3/99].
- "Aggressive Driver/Aggressive Enforcement Report Issued for 1997," New Jersey
Aggressive Driving Program [online], Site
- "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
- Goehring, "Aggressive Driving," Site
- Bob Mitchell, "Aggressive Drivers Face Road Rage `Test'--Education Needed on
Stress, Experts Say," Toronto Star, March 25, 1998.
- James and Nahl, Aggressive Driving Prevention Course for Law Enforcement, 2000,
Site [5/20/00]; Leon James and Diane Nahl, RoadRageous
Aggressive Driver Course for Law Enforcement (N. Miami, FL: American Institute for
Public Safety, 2000).
for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
CHAPTER 11: SPEED LIMITS--THE GREAT MOTORIST
Aggressive vs. Assertive Driving
(begin selection 1 from Chapter 11)
The difference between being assertive and aggressive is given further support by this
The other thing I do is constantly test my driving habits by thinking, "If I were
that guy that I just flashed my lights at, passed on the right, cut close in front of to
get through a tiny 'hole,' slipped by on a shoulder on a secondary road because a turning
lane was ahead 70 ft or so--how would I feel?" Am I truly being inconsiderate
(impeding them or endangering them beyond what is inevitable) or is someone pissed just
because I am doing something that they don't think is right. Yes, I drive by what some
people call "aggressive," I call it "Driving for Progress." But I am
constantly aware of how my driving is affecting others. And no, I am not perfect, I do
make mistakes and occasionally make inconsiderate maneuvers. (Middle aged male)
These self-descriptions show that aggressive driving consists of social norms of
hostility and territoriality, encouraged by a culture of disrespect on highways. In this
generational process of transmission, two outcomes are likely. One is that aggressive
driving will increase in intensity with each generation. The other is that there will be
much resistance to changing it. The principal method of resistance is to deny that change
is necessary. This will mark the great divide on the highways of the next century, namely
those who acknowledge their relation and contribution to aggressive driving and work to
change their driving style and those who will not.
(end selection 1 from Chapter 11)
Citizen Activism Against Government Paternalism
(begin selection 2 from Chapter 11)
In the 1990s, as government stepped up its fight against aggressive driving, two
ideological groups of drivers emerged, taking opposing sides on government intervention in
controlling motorists. The ideological "right" consists of "assertive"
drivers who take driving seriously, consider themselves skilled, complain bitterly about
law enforcement practices, and uphold an aggressive attitude towards many drivers whom
they consider incompetent, inconsiderate, and responsible for most accidents. The
ideological "left" promote more government intervention and legislation
restricting the behavior of motorists, such as aggressive driving initiatives by police,
electronic traffic control devices, neighborhood traffic calming strategies, total speed
enforcement, maintenance of a national database of aggressive drivers, and a national
hotline for reporting license numbers of cars observed driving aggressively.
Interestingly, both sides support better driver training, but neither side sees training
as the central issue.
An increasing polarization is taking place between those who pressure government
officials to initiate more aggressive approaches against aggressive drivers, and those who
oppose further government intervention as intrusive and unnecessary. Each side is
well-prepared with its own ideology, logic, and statistics to back up its arguments. A
variety of individual and collective efforts are active across the country, such as the
group Citizens For Roadside Safety:2
The goal of this organization is to save lives and force the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) and the states to dedicate more time and money to highway safety. In
the past there has been an attitude that if a driver runs off the road they deserve to
die. Due to pressure from many people and organizations like ours, this attitude is
However, the problem isn't that simple according to groups on the other side who
believe that inviting more regulation incurs hidden costs and unacceptable disadvantages,
particularly when it comes to speed limits.
The National Motorists Association (NMA) was established in 1982 "to represent the
interests and rights of North American motorists."3 Both at the national
level and through a system of state chapters, it has organized a widespread movement of
resistance to speed enforcement on highways. Members share the philosophy that highway
authorities wrongly attribute the cause of accidents to going faster than the posted speed
limit. They question the scientific validity of studies cited by authorities to justify
setting the same policy towards speed limits on all types of road ways. They charge that
governments at the county and state level set speed limits below the rate most drivers
actually travel, in violation of federal regulations, and they believe that this is done
to increase revenue through ticketing drivers. From this ideological perspective, anything
that leads to more government regulation of driving is viewed with suspicion, for example,
recent legislative activity on aggressive driving:
Road rage and aggressive driving has been a hot topic with the Michigan media. This is
not a coincidence. The battle against road rage and aggressive driving was thought up in
Washington D.C. The insurance industry and the safety lobby thought up the campaign. The
government is providing grants to the states to combat road rage
Michigan is using
funds to purchase laser speed detection devices to write more speeding tickets. This is
not getting unsafe drivers off the road. The unsafe drivers are tailgating, hogging the
left lane, weaving through traffic, or driving too slow. If we want to combat road rage we
should use the publicity and funding to target the problem--not collect more revenue from
those driving a reasonable speed.4
The Association of British Drivers (ABD) like the NMA, opposes current speed limit
(end selection 2 from Chapter 11)
Electronic Traffic Surveillance
Speedtrap Registries Around the World
Activism Against Aggressive Drivers
Notes for Chapter 11
- From an e-mail correspondent, 1998.
- "Road Rage Drivers Show No Remorse," Central Michigan University [online], Site [5/21/00].
- Citizens for Roadside Safety, 1998 [online], http://www.98.net/roadsafety
- National Motorists Association (NMA) [online], http://motorists.org/ [5/21/00].
- "Road Rage," Michigan Motorist News, National Motorists Association, Michigan
Chapter, 1999 [online], www.motorists.org/MI/roadrage.html
- "US Evidence Refutes Banal 'Speed Kills' Message," Association of British
Drivers, September 1997 [online], www.abd.org.uk/
- "Foundation Study Shows: Safe to Raise Freeway Speed Limits," National
Motorists Association (NMA), 1999 [online], Site
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "Strategies for Aggressive
Driver Enforcement," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
- "Traffic Calming for Communities," Institute of Transportation Engineers
(ITE), 1999 [online], http://www.ite.org/traffic/index.htm
- "Speed and Speed Limits," Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1999
- "Shelley Fights to Keep Red Light Cameras in California," [online], Site [5/21/00].
- National Motorists Association (NMA), http://motorists.org/
- Alex Campbell, "Photo Radar as Deployed in British Columbia," 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
- Speedtrap, 2000 [online],.www.speedtrap.com/
- Speedtrap, 2000 [online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Partnership for Safe Driving," Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive
Driving (CASAD), 2000 [online], Site
- County Web Page [online], www.township.king.on.ca/rwgen.htm
- The Knoxville Road Rage Action Page, 2000 [online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Dont Get Mad, Get Even," Database of Unsafe Driving, 2000 [online], www.comnet.ca/~chezken/duds.html
CHAPTER 12: DREAM CARS AND DRIVING REALITIES
In the Driver's Image
(begin selection 1 from Chapter 12)
Music has become an integral part of the driving experience. Sound systems are the most
popular accessory, and drivers often spend hundreds of dollars on good ones. Drivers are
affected by music, carefully selecting types that have the desired effect for them, and
avoiding others. For some, music is used to create a loud interior environment
Personally I like Fear Factory. Gets you in a wickedly hyped up mood (not road
rage) and lets you concentrate on driving like never before, also keeps you awake on those
long drives. (Young man)
I don't know about going on a drive and listening to Dark Side of the Moon, too
many quiet bits. (Middle aged woman)
For me it's the Delicate Sound of Thunder (Comfortably Numb version) turned up
to about 20 going through a good ten-speaker system. Of course it sucks when you've only
got a six minute drive to get somewhere, and are forced to sit outside your mates' house
for the last minute with the stereo that loud because it's sacrilege to turn it down or
off before it finishes. (Young man)
You can't go past a bit of size="3 Top to get you in the driving mood. (Young man)
However, not everyone wants music to influence them while driving
For a few months I didn't have the money to replace my broken car radio. I was saving
for a Blaupunkt. So for awhile, I drove a cappela, so to speak. Strangely, I grew to like
not having a car radio. When I finally saved enough money to buy a radio, I didn't. I
enjoyed the sounds of silence. My daily commute became intellectually interesting. I
started thinking about all sorts of things about my personal philosophy. I realized that
the lack of a car radio had liberated me. All along I believed the music coming from the
little speakers in the door set me free. Now I realize that it was limiting me. (Young
I got caught speeding twice in my life and both of the times it was because I was
listening to the music in my car and did not realize how fast I was going. When my
favorite music comes out, I just lose myself! On a different day, I was driving and
realized that the music was off. It was a bit of surprise because I was so calm and
relaxed that it was almost like I was meditating. So I recommend that you sometimes stop
listening to the music in your car. It's really different! (Young man)
One of our correspondents sent us a school report in which she showed that her teenaged
friends took longer to apply the brake when a sign came up while driving to loud music.
They responded to signs faster when there was no loud music playing.4
(end selection 1 from Chapter 12)
(begin selection 2 from Chapter 12)
Besides mutating into moving communication platforms, twenty-first century cars are
being equipped for safer and more comfortable eating experiences. The latest in-car
- refrigerated glove boxes
- coolers designed for autos, trucks, and utility vehicles
- trays that fold down as in passenger aircraft
- warming cup holders
- trash compactors
Dashboard dining is fast becoming part of the daily life of Americans, who have long
been perfecting the practice of eating on the run. Fast-food chains are responding by
designing specialties that are easier to eat behind the wheel6
- Taco Bell folds tortillas a particular way to hold food and juices inside; the tortillas
are made more durable and taco shells less crumbly.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken offers a pita sandwich, with a pocket on the bottom to catch
chicken, dressing, cheese, or anything else that might fall into a lap.
- Others make breakfast sandwiches more moist and crumble-proof.
- Some are designing omelets and hamburgers in the shape of a hot dog, making them easier
to hold and eat with one hand. For instance, 7-Eleven convenience stores had an ad
campaign depicting the stores as "Dashboard Diners," and introduced a hot
dog-shaped quarter-pound hamburger.
- McDonald's has the McSalad Shaker. Salad comes in a plastic container that fits in a cup
holder. Add the dressing, fasten the top, shake it up, and eat with a long fork.
- In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco, supplies a "lapmat" with its juicy burgers,
to help keep clothes spotless in the vehicle.
- More car-friendly foods resemble egg rolls and burritos, with slender shapes or
ingredients stuffed into wrappers.
- One-handed salad wraps and other easy-to-eat finger foods are replacing dipping sauces
and shredded lettuce.
- Jack-in-the-Box offers an array of "finger foods,'' including French toast sticks.
Eating while driving is common, but risky. A business executive, hurrying between
(end selection 2 from Chapter 12)
(begin selection 3 from Chapter 12)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there will be
80 million cell phone users by the end of the year 2000. Experts have calculated that in
that year, 1 percent of traffic accidents will be due to car phone use at a national cost
of $3 billion. Several countries already have laws restricting drivers from using cellular
phones, including Australia, Brazil, England, Israel, and Switzerland. Whether hand-held,
with headset, or built-in, car phone use is on the rise. More drivers use them and more
people complain about drivers who do. It seems obvious to any observer that, without
training, talking on the phone while driving is risky because it can be distracting and
will lead to near misses or crashes. Research supported by the AAA Foundation in 1991,
concluded that "use of cellular phones does not interfere significantly with the
ability to control an automobile except among the elderly, where potentially dangerous
lane excursions can occur."8 The finding was based on the reactions of
drivers in a traffic simulation task on a computer. Despite the optimistic conclusion, the
data they report show that motorists who get involved in "complex conversations"
have slower reactions to routine events such as a stop sign, traffic light, or oncoming
car, and fail to react altogether to some events in their field of vision to which they
normally react to when not on the phone. The study found that older drivers (55+) are
twice as likely to be distracted by phone use than younger drivers. We emphasize that
these results are based on drivers who did not put themselves through a training
procedure. We believe that future research will show that multi-tasking while driving can
be safely carried out if the drivers train themselves with appropriate exercises. Some
drivers may require more training than others.
(end selection 3 from Chapter 12)
(begin selection 4 from Chapter 12)
We are beginning to see sophisticated on-board, online, personal computers that enable
drivers to retrieve e-mail and pager messages, check for stock quotes, sport scores,
lottery numbers, or horoscopes, as well as backseat games and movies. One in-dash device
fits in a single-bin compartment and provides a combination of information, entertainment,
telephone communication, traffic alerts, voice e-mail, GPS (Global Positioning System)
navigation including NavTech Map Data featuring moving maps and voice-announced next-turn
directions, and security features. This is the beginning of a new phase for automobiles
which manufacturers have come to see as the final frontier of unstructured time left in
America--the commuting hours, or about 12 percent of waking time.
Auto suppliers estimate that the new market for in-car computers, called
"automotive telematics," will quickly reach $10 billion in the U.S. alone.
Visteon's system for the 2000 models is designed to be compatible with "more than 66
foreign and domestic models." And General Motors has deployed its OnStar system in
many of its 2000 models. Automotive computers work with flashing lights and icons on small
vivid screens mounted on a center console. Drivers can use voice commands or switches for
scrolling and changing functions. The computer robot reads your e-mail aloud, and
eventually will be able to take dictation. The Delphi system will integrate steering-wheel
controls with head-up windshield displays to allow drivers to read e-mail without taking
their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel.
(end selection 4 from Chapter 12)
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Managing in the New World of Driving
Notes for Chapter 12
- Peter Marsh and Peter Collett, Driving Passion: The Psychology of the Car
(London: Jolmathan Cape, 1986).
- Peter Marsh and Peter Collett, "Driving Passion: There Seems to be No Slowing Down
Our Ongoing Love Affair with the Car," Psychology Today vol. 21, no. 7 (June,
- Elinor Nauen, Ed., Ladies, Start Your Engines: Women Writers on Cars and the
Road (Boston : Faber and Faber, 1996).
- Clarence Gaskill, "I'm Wild About Horns on Automobiles," [online], Site
- From an e-mail correspondent, 1999.
- Susan Strick, "Music Effects on Drivers' Reaction Times," [online], Site [5/21/00].
- Bob Muessig, "Dashboard Dining," 1999, Dash n' Dine [online], Site [5/21/00]; "Breakfast
Break," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 11/18/99, A7.
- James McKnight and A. Scott McKnight, "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver
Attention," National Public Services Research Institute, 1991[online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Senator Stavisky Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Drivers from Using Cellular
Phones: Cites Study Finding that Cellular Phone Use by Motorists Can be as Dangerous as
Drunk Driving," New York State Senate News Brief, 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
- "IBM's Auto Computer Takes a Back Seat," Zdnet.com, 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
- George Leopold and Terry Costlow, "Car PCs Move Into The Fast Lane," CMP's
TechWeb, 1999 [online], Site
- Brian S. Akre, "GM Launches Web Plan," Washington Post, August 1999 [online], Site
- Matt Sundeen, "Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)," NCSL Environment,
Energy and Transportation Program November 1998 [online],
- "CVISN," Intelligent Transportation Systems for Commercial Vehicle Operations
[online], Site [5/21/00].
- "Urban Mobility Study," TTI Texas Transportation Institute, 1998 [online],
http://mobility.tamu.edu/ [5/21/00]; "On the Road Ahead: Smart Automobiles," Honolulu
Advertiser, 12/17/99, p. C1, C3.
- "NMA's Position on ITS," National Motorists Association [online], Site [5/21/00].
- Diane Nahl and Leon James, "What is Driving Informatics?" 1998 [online],
- Frank J. McGuigan, Ed., "Aggressive Driving," Encyclopedia of Stress
(Allyn and Bacon, 1999).
- "Kensington Stress and Technology in the Workplace Survey," PC Computing,
December 1999, p. 38.