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Excerpts from the Book: 
by Leon James and Diane Nahl

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To see the earlier Chapters 1 to 7 click here


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 upset
    • 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)

rr1.gif (6829 bytes)Motorist 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:


1. I, ______________ (name), the driver, designate you, ______________ (name), the passenger, as my driving partner for this trip: ______________________________ (date, time, destination)

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 driver.

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.

Signed:___________________________ Date:___________

Day 1:

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

  1. From an e-mail correspondent, 1999.
  2. "NMA's Seven Sensible Signals," National Motorists Association [online], Site [5/20/00].
  3. "Drivers Supposed to Be Nice to Each Other Today," CNN.com, October 7, 1995 [online], Site [5/20/00].
  4. Leon James, Diane Nahl, and Richard Kirby, "Youth Against Road Rage (YARR)," 1998, DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/youth/james1.htm    [5/20/00].
  5. Envoy Vehicle Courtesy System, Urbane Systems NA, Inc. 5019 Davis Ford Road, Woodbridge, Virginia, 22192 http://www.envoyusa.com/ [5/20/00].
  6. William Beaty, "Traffic Waves: Physics for Bored Commuters," 1998 [online], Site [5/20/00].
  7. "Apo sa tuhod," Tripod.com October 9, 1997 [online], Site [5/20/00].
  8. K. T. Berger, Zen Driving (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998).
  9. Ibid, pp. 31-73.
  10. Ibid, p. 148.
  11. "Random Acts of Kindness by Drivers," DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/acts_of_kindness.htm [5/20/00].
  12. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Partnership Driving," DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/partnership.htm [5/20/00].



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)

truck&cars.jpg (13732 bytes)    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 personality:

    •     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, pain

    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 education.

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 natural groupings:

  • 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 course below)
  • 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 agencies14
  • 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 industrialized countries.

We developed the following instructional tools for the QDC curriculum:

  1. TEE-Cards for Traffic Emotions Education16
  2. RoadRageous Video Course (see description later in this chapter)17
  3. Activity Sheets for driving personality makeovers
  4. Self-assessment surveys for monitoring driving style
  5. Checklists of driving behaviors for easy tracking (throughout this book)
  6. Logs or Diaries to record self-witnessing observations
  7. Reminder Cards to guide trip-by-trip planned exercises
  8. Audio tapes to facilitate safe behind the wheel exercises
  9. Fact Sheets on driving statistics, news, and alerts
  10. Partnership Driving Agreement forms (see Chapter 8), and other help-each-other arrangements.
  11. Scenario Analysis of road rage incidents in the media to teach emotionally intelligent decision-making (see Chapter 5).
  12. Games, skits, and musicals to teach driving psychology principles.
  13. CARRtoons and Instructional Vignettes18
  14. Safe activities to do with children in the car (see Chapter 7)
  15. 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)

whats_new.gif (5740 bytes)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.

dc1.gif (14317 bytes)The course highlights and strengthens the ten basic "inner skills" drivers need
in order to become "driving literate" today.





  1. To strengthen the desire for lifelong driver self-improvement.
  2. To neutralize or weaken existing negative driving attitudes.
  3. To strengthen and inculcate positive driving values.
  4. 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.

  1. To understand why it's necessary for drivers to develop inner standards of behavior.
  2. To understand what is aggressive driving and how to assess one's aggressiveness as a driver.
  3. 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 better result.
  4. To practice driver self-assessment and self-improvement activities, including keeping a Driving Log and collecting self-observational data.
  5. 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

  1. From an e-mail correspondent, 1998.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) [online], http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ [5/20/00].
  3. 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.
  4. 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 [5/20/00].
  5. American Driver and Traffic Safety Association [online], http://adtsea.iup.edu/adtsea/ [5/21/00]; CNN.com, August 26, 1997 [online], http://cnn.com [9/3/97].
  6. "Driver-ZED," AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety [online], http://driverzed.org/ [5/20/00].
  7. Ibid.
  8. 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   [5/20/00].
  9. Driver-Zed, http://driverzed.org/
  10. 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: http://DrDriving.org/youth/aaa97.html [5/21/00].
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. 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 [5/20/00].
  15. Jack Wheat, "Program Soothes the Savage Driver," Miami Herald, November 18, 1999.
  16. 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).
  17. Updates on the QDC movement are posted at DrDriving.org [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/qdc.htm [5/20/00].
  18. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Quality Driving Circles--QDCs: What are they and how do they work?" [online], http://DrDriving.org/articles/qdc.htm [5/21/00].
  19. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "CARR--Children Agianst Road Rage," [online], http://DrDriving.org/youth/ [5/20/00].
  20. 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).
  21. Leon James and Diane Nahl, DrDriving's Page for Older Drivers [online], http://DrDriving.org/elderly   [5/20/00].
  22. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "DrDriving's TEE Cards--Traffic Emotions Education for All Drivers," [online],  http://DrDriving.org/legislation/teecards.html [5/20/00].

    roadrageous_anim.gif (67940 bytes)



  1. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "RoadRageous Video Course Objectives and Modules," [online],  http://DrDriving.org/courses/ [5/20/00].
  2. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Instructional CARRtoons for aggressive driving prevention," [online],  [5/20/00].
  3. 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, [online], http://DrDriving.org/youth/yarr.htm [5/20/00].
  4. 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
  5. Debra Franco, "Road Rage Not to Blame--Shootout Victim Drunk, Autopsy Finds, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, July 7, 1999.
  6. J. Peter Rothe, The Safety of Elderly Drivers (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1990). Pp. 185-302.
  7. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Aggressiveness in Relation to Age, Gender, and Type of Car," 1998, DrDriving.org [online], Site [5/20/00].


carred.gif (628 bytes)PART 3: DRIVING'S FUTURE


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.smith5.jpg (48241 bytes)

  1. fatalities (425,000 per decade)
  2. injuries (35 million per decade)
  3. dollars (250 billion per year)
  4. long-term ill health
  5. increased daily stress (hassles and concerns)
  6. fear and threat on streets and highways
  7. lowering emotional intelligence
  8. promoting learned negativity in public places leading to automotive vigilantism and widely deployed electronic surveillance systems
  9. reduced productivity when arriving at work mad and exhausted
  10. learned cynicism (aggressive driving norms and disrespect for regulations) leading to alienation among highway citizens
  11. greater air pollution due to emotional use of the gas pedal (getting less gas per mileage)
  12. breeding the next generation of aggressive drivers



(end selection 1 from Chapter 10)

Congressional Hearings

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 them

    • 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

policehat.gif (3678 bytes)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)

police1.gif (9641 bytes)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.

troopercylist.jpg (7534 bytes)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

    • Speeding
    • 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 driver’s "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"?

troopercylist2.jpg (7723 bytes)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)

copcar.gif (6108 bytes)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 they’re 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).


artb.jpg (53592 bytes)     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 government’s 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 baseline-intervention methods.

The new standard for an integrated approach to fight traffic violators involves several agencies to achieve adequate ground-air coordination. The government recommends the deployment of

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 traffic stops.

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 today’s 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

  1. 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].
  2. 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 [5/20/00].
  3. "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), [online], Site [5/20/00].
  4. 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 [5/20/00].
  5. Leon James, "Traffic Violence: A Crisis in Community Mental Health," Innercom—Newsletter of the Mental Health Association in Hawaii (June 1987). Available at Site [5/20/00].
  6. Martinez, "Statement," Site
  7. 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].
  8. "Traffic Law Enforcement," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Site [5/20/00].
  9. Ibid.
  10. Leon James and Diane Nahl, "Police and Legislative Initiatives" [online], Site [5/20/00].
  11. "Traffic Law Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
  12. Deborah Sharp, "South Florida Tries 'Stealth' Campaign," USA Today [online], Site [5/20/00].
  13. Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), 1998 [online], Site [5/20/00].
  14. MariLynn Terrill, "AP Wire News Briefs," July 21, 1999, Western Front [online], Site [5/21/00].
  15. Community Roadwatch Report [online], Site [5/21/00].
  16. "Governor Pataki Announces Legislation To Fight Road Rage," New York State Government Press Release [online], Site [5/21/00].
  17. "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 [7/23/99].
  18. "Traffic Law Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
  19. Jan Goehring, "Aggressive Driving, Background and Overview Report" NCSL Transportation News (November 1998) [online], Site [3/3/99].
  20. "Aggressive Driver/Aggressive Enforcement Report Issued for 1997," New Jersey Aggressive Driving Program [online], Site [5/21/00].
  21. "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," NHTSA, Site
  22. Goehring, "Aggressive Driving," Site
  23. Bob Mitchell, "Aggressive Drivers Face Road Rage `Test'--Education Needed on Stress, Experts Say," Toronto Star, March 25, 1998.
  24. 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).
  25. "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," NHTSA, Site



Aggressive vs. Assertive Driving

(begin selection 1 from Chapter 11)

The difference between being assertive and aggressive is given further support by this common sentiment:

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 gradually changing.

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)

copcardark.gif (4540 bytes)Police Presence

Traffic Calming

Electronic Traffic Surveillance

Speedtrap Registries Around the World

Activism Against Aggressive Drivers

Notes for Chapter 11

  1. From an e-mail correspondent, 1998.
  2. "Road Rage Drivers Show No Remorse," Central Michigan University [online], Site [5/21/00].
  3. Citizens for Roadside Safety, 1998 [online], http://www.98.net/roadsafety [5/21/00].
  4. National Motorists Association (NMA) [online], http://motorists.org/ [5/21/00].
  5. "Road Rage," Michigan Motorist News, National Motorists Association, Michigan Chapter, 1999 [online], www.motorists.org/MI/roadrage.html [5/21/00].
  6. "US Evidence Refutes Banal 'Speed Kills' Message," Association of British Drivers, September 1997 [online], www.abd.org.uk/ [5/21/00].
  7. "Foundation Study Shows: Safe to Raise Freeway Speed Limits," National Motorists Association (NMA), 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  8. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "Strategies for Aggressive Driver Enforcement," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), [online], [5/20/00].
  9. "Traffic Calming for Communities," Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), 1999 [online], http://www.ite.org/traffic/index.htm [5/21/00].
  10. "Speed and Speed Limits," Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  11. Ibid.
  12. "Shelley Fights to Keep Red Light Cameras in California," [online], Site [5/21/00].
  13. Ibid.
  14. National Motorists Association (NMA), http://motorists.org/
  15. Alex Campbell, "Photo Radar as Deployed in British Columbia," 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  16. Ibid.
  17. Speedtrap, 2000 [online],.www.speedtrap.com/ [5/21/00].
  18. Speedtrap, 2000 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  19. "Partnership for Safe Driving," Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving (CASAD), 2000 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  20. Ibid.
  21. County Web Page [online], www.township.king.on.ca/rwgen.htm [4/4/99].
  22. The Knoxville Road Rage Action Page, 2000 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  23. "Don’t Get Mad, Get Even," Database of Unsafe Driving, 2000 [online], www.comnet.ca/~chezken/duds.html [5/21/00].



In the Driver's Image

Driving Music

(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 man)

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)

Dashboard Dining

(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 appliances include

    • mini-microwaves
    • 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)

Car Phones

(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)

Mobile Computing

(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

  1. Peter Marsh and Peter Collett, Driving Passion: The Psychology of the Car (London: Jolmathan Cape, 1986).
  2. 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, 1987): 16-24.
  3. Elinor Nauen, Ed., Ladies, Start Your Engines: Women Writers on Cars and the Road (Boston : Faber and Faber, 1996).
  4. Clarence Gaskill, "I'm Wild About Horns on Automobiles," [online], Site [5/21/00].
  5. From an e-mail correspondent, 1999.
  6. Susan Strick, "Music Effects on Drivers' Reaction Times," [online], Site [5/21/00].
  7. Bob Muessig, "Dashboard Dining," 1999, Dash n' Dine [online], Site [5/21/00]; "Breakfast Break," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 11/18/99, A7.
  8. Ibid.
  9. 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].
  10. "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].
  11. "IBM's Auto Computer Takes a Back Seat," Zdnet.com, 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  12. Ibid.
  13. George Leopold and Terry Costlow, "Car PCs Move Into The Fast Lane," CMP's TechWeb, 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  14. Brian S. Akre, "GM Launches Web Plan," Washington Post, August 1999 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  15. Matt Sundeen, "Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)," NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program November 1998 [online], http://www.ncsl.org/programs/ESNR/ITS.htm [5/21/00].
  16. "CVISN," Intelligent Transportation Systems for Commercial Vehicle Operations [online], Site [5/21/00].
  17. "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.
  18. "NMA's Position on ITS," National Motorists Association [online], Site [5/21/00].
  19. Ibid.
  20. Diane Nahl and Leon James, "What is Driving Informatics?" 1998 [online], Site [5/21/00].
  21. Frank J. McGuigan, Ed., "Aggressive Driving," Encyclopedia of Stress (Allyn and Bacon, 1999).
  22. "Kensington Stress and Technology in the Workplace Survey," PC Computing, December 1999, p. 38.


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