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RoadrageousAggressive Driver Containment Course for Law Enforcement Personnel

Aggressive Driving is a challenge for everyone.  Crowded roads, busy schedules, and a non-stop parade of poor or even dangerous drivers around every corner.  It becomes so easy to respond in kind and make poor decisions behind the wheel.

Law Enforcement Personnel have an even more difficult assignment.  To contain their own natural aggressive driving tendencies and handle all of the distractions that come with the job AND to deal with other drivers on the road and help them change their driving behavior.

This is why the Roadrageous Aggressive Driver Containment Course for Law Enforcement Personnel was created.  The course helps Law Enforcement Personnel correct their own driving habits and gives solid strategies to deal with the aggressive drivers they pull over in the line of duty


United States Army Forces Command

Freedom's Guradian

FORSCOM News Service

FORSCOM Selects American Institute For Safety Campaign

American Institute for Public Safety News Release

The U.S. Army has selected the American Institute for Public Safety’s innovative interactive programs to help limit loss of life from automotive crashes involving soldiers and their families while operating Privately Owned Vehicles.

The American Institute for Public Safety (AIPS), based in North Miami, Fla., signed a contract in mid-June with the Army’s Forces Command, headquartered at Fort McPherson, Ga.

“The Army is making a step change to save lives,” said Chris O. Huffman, president of AIPS. “The leading cause of death for soldiers is not in combat with the enemy. It’s when they drive in their privately owned vehicle.”

The Army’s safe driving campaign will operate under the “Combat Aggressive Driving” brand name. The campaign that will be built on use of AIPS’ aggressive driver course, called “RoadRageousTM.”

RoadRageousTM is the nation’s first comprehensive course on aggressive driving. Presented in eight one-hour segments, the course was developed by AIPS in conjunction with three leading experts on aggressive driving, Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl, both of the University of Hawaii, and Dr. Arnold Nerenberg, a Ph.D. psychologist in Southern California known as “America’s road rage therapist."

James and Nerenberg have testified before Congress on aggressive driving and road rage, now ranked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the leading concern among drivers today. In addition, Nerenberg has taught numerous seminars for the California Office of Traffic Safety and has appeared on major television network newscasts as the recognized expert on aggressive driving and road rage.

The Army campaign will be launched at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Polk, La., and Fort Stewart, Ga. All three versions of the course will be utilized for Military Police and local law enforcement, general adult education and education for teens.

Huffman said the “Combat Aggressive Driving” program is more than just educational courses. AIPS will coordinate instructor training, public awareness campaigns, and outreach to communities and state and local governments to insure that principles of non-harmful driving are communicated to soldiers, families, and civilians at key Army posts where the “Combat Aggressive Driving” program will be used.

“After extensive research, the Army selected AIPS because we’re more than a course provider,” Huffman said. “The Army program we designed is an all-embracing campaign that features education, public awareness, community integration with state and local initiatives and even websites to deal with an overall approach to traffic safety. This approach will also include defensive driving, driving under the influence, seat belt usage, child safety seats, distracted driving, cell phone safety and other related auto safety topics.

“This builds on AIPS’ success delivering leading-edge driver safety programs across the nation. Our programs feature new and innovative ways to teach responsible driving to motorists with a proactive approach to behavior modification,” Huffman said.

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In California this year:

SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE Bill No: SB 2004 Senator BETTY KARNETTE, Chair Author: speier VERSION: 5/4/2000 Analysis by: Randall Henry Fiscal:yes

SUBJECT: Pursuit intervention termination management system.

DESCRIPTION: This bill would mandate the installation in all vehicles of a specified electronic or electromechanical device which could deactivate the fuel system of a vehicle when it is the subject of a pursuit by law enforcement.


SUPERIOR COURT DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Rufus King III, Chief Judge March 23, 2001

Administrative Order No. 01-07 It is hereby ORDERED that in cases where a violator is convicted in traffic court the person will be required to complete educational programs from the American Institute for Public Safety. This referral process does not change any court administrative procedures. Records will be electronically transferred for processing the violator through the educational programs. Violators who are convicted in traffic court of a coded offense that carries 2-3 points against their driving record are required to take the "Aware Driver" Defensive Driving Course. Violators who are convicted in traffic court of a coded offense that carries 4 to 8 points are required to take the aggressive driver course, "RoadRageous". Violators who are convicted in traffic court of a coded offense that carries more than 8 points will be required to take both courses. This order applies to violators who are residents and non-residents of the District of Columbia. This order shall be effective May 1, 2001.

original here


December 18, 2000 In England...

Dangerous Drivers Face Ten Years In Jail

Dangerous drivers who persistently break the law could find themselves behind bars for ten years, with a lifetime driving ban and their car impounded.

The measures are part of a tough new package due to be announced by the Government this week.

Drivers found guilty of road rage will also face new penalties.

The moves, announced by Home Office minister Charles Clarke, will see more people disqualified for speeding and drink driving, harsher sentences for drivers who kill people in crashes, and a new punishment systemfor those who drive at more than 100mph.

Cars impounded

The Government will encourage the courts to enforce the penalties more thoroughly. Although drivers can be sentenced for up to 10 years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving, at present the power is rarely if ever used.

According to The Observer, those who continue to drivewhile banned could be faced with the "short, sharp shock" punishment of having their cars impounded. Research suggests as many as 800,000 people are driving in Britain without a licence or insurance.


Other measures could include a "two-strikes" rule, banning drivers for up to10 years if they are involved in a second drink-driving or serious speedingoffence. Lifetime bans will be considered for drivers who break the law three times.

The existing 12 points system for banning drivers who break the law will also be re-examined. A 20-point system is being considered so that courts can differentiate more clearly between minor and serious offences. (...)







SEPT 2, 2000

Your Turn: A little courtesy
on the road helps a lot

By Al Philippus

I was in line at the grocery store the other day when this occurred to me: Why are shoppers so courteous and mindful of the rules of checking out, but motorists cut through traffic, speed, shout at slower drivers and too frequently act like terrors?

Maybe it's because driving has become so impersonal, so focused on the goal and not the process, that drivers in San Antonio experience such rudeness and illegal behavior.

Think about it. Would you cut in line at the grocery store, bump the cart in front of you and explain it all away by saying: "I'm late to work. Get out of my way."

A recent survey of San Antonio drivers shows that aggressive driving is on the increase. Conducted by the San Antonio Police Department and Dr. Leon James of the University of Hawaii, a noted expert on driver behavior, the survey of 837 drivers indicated nine out of 10 found driving in the city more aggressive. What's more, 90 percent had encountered up to 10 incidents in the week before the survey.

One finding I find disturbing is that some 25 percent of the San Antonians surveyed don't consider speeding and improper lane changes aggressive driving.

The San Antonio Police Department is charged with enforcing the laws of the city and protecting its residents. In April, in recognition of the threat to public safety that aggressive driving poses, we initiated the Drive Smart® — Be a Cool Operator program. In conjunction with the San Antonio Municipal Courts, we have blended enforcement, education and judicial programs to make an impact on aggressive driving.

Already, we're seeing the effects. Our traffic personnel are stopping motorists for speeding, improper lane changes, following too close and other aggressive behaviors. These violators are getting tickets or a warning and a Traffic Enforcement and Education card that describes the dangerous and illegal behaviors in which they engaged.

Citations alone will not effect change. Sure, the tickets can add up. One driver recently received three tickets that cost him $351.

Those who frequently show up in Municipal Court after being ticketed for aggressive driving behaviors may find themselves in remedial driving classes.

Voluntary compliance is the best prevention for aggressive driving, which leads to collisions, casualties and substantial property damage.

To that end, the Police Department, City Hall, San Antonio Municipal Courts and several community leaders, such as USAA, are organizing a Labor Day event to focus attention on driving smart and being a cool operator.

This Labor Day weekend, we urge all drivers to slow down, observe the traffic laws and don't take out their aggressions on the road.

If you can be courteous in the grocery store, what's stopping you from being polite on the road?

Al Philippus is chief of the San Antonio Police Department.


Hawaii State Law Enforcement Officers Association Conference

Workshop Presentation by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl


Leon James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D. are professors at the University of Hawaii. They are Driving Psychology educators who are responsible for the first national aggressive driving prevention course called RoadRageous, and have created a workshop for law enforcement that has trained officers in San Antonio and N. Miami Beach that other states are also considering. They have been frequently consulted by safety professionals and the media on road rage, and their book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING will be on bookshelves in September.

This presentation will review the psycho-legal approach to aggressive driving prevention. Law enforcement and the legal system need to become more aware of the social dimension of aggressive driving, seeing it as a habit acquired in childhood from parents and other adult drivers, TV and movies, and video games. Most of the aggressive driving acts that officers face are committed by automatic habit rather than motivated by anger or violence. Enforcement and education must combine to overcome the "awareness gap," since most drivers believe they are not aggressive but think everyone else is. Legislators need to frame aggressive driving laws using behavioral language that refers to specific driver behavior, that is observable by an officer and does not involve judgement or opinion. Courts need to recognize what type of specialized instruction is needed for aggressive driving violators beyond traditional defensive driving courses. Portions of the RoadRageous video course and the Aggressive Driving Prevention Course for Law Enforcement: Officer Workbook can be viewed after the presentation.



Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 09:27:25 -1000

From: Trfcsgt1@cs.com
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: Website/Aggressive Driving

I like your site. There is a lot of good information there. I'm a Police Sergeant in Southern California. I occasionally publish to a couple of local papers. Would you please allow me to use some of your information and may I link to your website from mine?

Thank you.


Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department


A tip from the Crime Prevention Archives "Automobile Safety: Assault With a Deadly Steering Wheel" by Ron Corbin, PhD - Crime Prevention Specialist, presents the road rage definition by Dr. Leon James. December 1998.

The rapid population growth in Las Vegas, which brings in more vehicles, which creates the need for more street construction, which causes more congestion, all contribute to more impatience on the part of drivers. As impatience intensifies, tempers shorten and "driving courtesy" becomes non-existent. Safe driving habits become forgotten and are replaced by reckless ventures in tailgating, speeding, running stop signs and red traffic signals, excessive lane changes, all of which are many times preceded by a hand wave from the driver using only "one finger". Worst case scenarios are when tempers lead to high speed chases, or the shooting of a handgun from one vehicle towards another.

This problem goes even deeper in the psychic of a person. More people today are acquiring an arrogance of "To 'Hell' with everyone else, I've got mine,"... or a "Me first" attitude. Leon James, a psychology professor at the University of Hawaii (USA Weekend, Sept 5-7, 1997), states that the root of the problem for people's reaction to these type traffic disturbances is caused when a "...person's anger is triggered by their own self-righteous indignation."

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Aggressive Driving" can be defined as "an angry motorist attempting to intentionally injure or kill another driver because of a traffic dispute." However, many accidents are caused by those drivers who really don't intend to injure or kill others, but allow their "Road Rage" mentality to override their common sense.

original here



JANUARY 22, 1999

The federal government has made safety the Administration’s highest transportation priority --investing $6.8 billion over the next six years to increase safety on our nation’s highways.

Aggressive driving is one of the leading safety concerns among America’s drivers. More than 60 percent of drivers believe unsafe driving --including speeding --by others was a major personal threat to them and to their families.

Speed --improper lane changes --improper passing --red light running --operating a vehicle in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger others all fall under the category of aggressive driving.


Government Report on Aggressive Driving

 Summary Report

May 1999


Executive Summary


Opening Charge

Ricardo Martinez, M.D., NHTSA Administrator
Cheryle Adams, Aggressive Driving Victim
Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation

Opening Remarks

Ricardo Martinez, M.D., Administrator, NHTSA
Kenneth Wykle, Administrator, FHWA

Technical Presentations

NHTSA Survey Results
Research Report on Focus Groups
Aggressive Driving Overview and Background
Enforcement Strategies for Aggressive Driving
Audience Questions

Panel Discussion - Issues, Research, and Approaches of National Organizations

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Inc
National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives
Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Audience Questions


Luncheon Address

Breakout Session Findings and Recommendations

Statutory Approaches
Applied Technology
Charging Decisions
Sentencing Strategies
Community Leadership
Enforcement Strategies

Summary Remarks

Appendix I - Symposium Agenda
Appendix II - Participant List







LEMA: Law Enforcement Motorsport Association

A Day in the Life of Cop Every Day and more

CASAD--Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving Home Page

Traffic Safety -- DIGEST -- Alcohol and Other Drugs Programs

National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR)

Washington State

DrDriving's Trucking Safety Page

University of Hawaii Traffic Safety Projects

Aggressive Driving:  Research and Resources on the Web (University of Albany)

National Conference of State Legislation on Aggressive Driving (latest legislative updates)

Law Enforcement Jobs

Life on the Beat--How does a cop think?

National Association of Attorneys General

Officers.com  Hundreds of sites and chatrooms.

Online Study Guides and Driver's Licence Tests--All States

NHTSA's Report on Driving and Cellular Phones

Zero Tolerance: the Facts from the Government

NHTSA's Aggressive Driving Self-Test

DrDriving's Test Toolkit  for Measuring and Profiling Aggressive Behavior of Drivers

Road Rage Survey for Aggressive Driver Behaviors  See results here--U.S. vs. Canadian drivers, men vs. women, young drivers vs. older, comparison across states and type of car.

Law Enforcement Web Sites

International Road Safety Links--large collection

NHTSA's Law Enforcement Documents  Several useful documents for law enforcement.

Annihilating Traffic Waves with Artificial Pulses of "Antitraffic"

Dynamics of Traffic Jams

Highway Signs from Around the World

National Motorists Association

Ask Mr. Traffic with Kenny Morse

Transportation Research Board

U.S. Department of Transportation

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)

Police Officer's Internet Directory

Cop Cars

Traffic Enforcement Education Cards--TEE-cards







APRIL 4 2000

Police aim to curb 'road rage'

Tailgaters, lane weavers beware

By Bill Hendricks/Express-News Staff Writer

San Antonio police have targeted aggressive drivers, and traffic enforcement officers have fixed their sights on a long list of suspects, Chief Al Philippus said Monday.

They're construction workers in pickups who cut off other drivers in traffic.

They're retired schoolteachers driving four-door cruisers who speed up to sail through a yellow traffic light before it turns red.

They're college kids in sports cars who change traffic lanes more often than they punch up a new tune on the stereo.

And they're stockbrokers who follow cars so closely that the drivers in front of them yearn to slam on their brakes and have the brokers' BMWs plow into their back bumpers.

Philippus said too few motorists are willing to acknowledge that they themselves sometimes fit the profile of the aggressive driver.

But almost everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car occasionally resorts to dangerously aggressive driving tactics, the police chief said in announcing a program he hopes will curb the worst offenders.

"Aggressive driving crosses all spectrums of our society," Philippus said.

Police have a plan to identify the worst offenders.

Developed by Capt. Tom Polonis, who heads the traffic division, the program has been named "Drive Smart — Be a Cool Operator."

Officers are after more than the rare but spectacular road rage episodes, in which two hot-tempered drivers shoot it out, Polonis said.

The program is geared toward the far more typical assertive driver who takes out aggressions on other drivers.

Police and Municipal Court officials will use traffic enforcement and prosecution as education tools aimed at changing driving habits, Philippus said.

And they'll use police and court records to record a statistical analysis of aggressive drivers as well as how well the new enforcement program performs.

Although rarely as spectacular as the combative behind-the-wheel demonstrations known as road rage, the milder forms of aggressive driving were a factor in about 25,000 of the roughly 55,000 traffic accidents San Antonio police investigated last year, Philippus said.

In 1996, a study of national traffic data for the Surface Transportation Policy Project showed that 56 percent of U.S. traffic deaths were linked to aggressive driving.

In recent weeks, San Antonio police trained 120 traffic officers to identify such driving.

Beginning today, the officers will seek out those drivers who turn San Antonio freeways into danger zones that sometimes are a combination raceway and bumper-car thrill ride.

The officers will hand out traffic tickets to drivers who follow too closely, weave in traffic, change lanes without signaling and otherwise threaten the safety of other drivers. Fines could exceed $100.

Along with either a traffic ticket or a warning, officers will pass out a written checklist for drivers that tells them what actions constitute aggressive driving and what to do about it. [using DrDriving's TEE cards]

Police have turned a plain, dark blue police car into a vehicle specially equipped to cruise freeways in search of aggressive drivers. Philippus said he considered carefully before adding the unmarked car to the program, adding that he conferred first with officials at the Rape Crisis Center.

Philippus said he didn't want women driving alone to be frightened if a police officer in an unmarked car orders them to pull over and stop.

The police car, equipped with flashing lights, will be driven by a San Antonio police officer in full uniform, Philippus said. But those who don't recognize the car as a police vehicle should keep driving until they reach an area in which they feel safe before stopping, he said. Officers have been instructed not to cite people for evading arrest in such situations.

Drivers who take their cases to Municipal Court probably will find they are required to take classes devoted to curing their poor driving habits.

Philippus has support from Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez and from insurance giant USAA.

Lopez said he has ordered his deputies to join police in the effort to identify the worst offenders, and added his belief that suburban police departments will join the effort.


Opportunity to work with Dr. James

I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. James through our aggressive driving program here in San Antonio. There is no doubt he is the foremost expert on the subject. Although I have not been able to read the complete book at this time I have skimmed through it and it appears to reflect many of the ideas we have discussed over the previous few months. Through his guidance we have established what I feel is a very comprehensive aggressive driver program here.
Any aggressive driving program must be a comprehensive team effort of education, enforcement and a strong judicial effort. The police alone can not be the only element in an anti-aggressive driver program. The officers in the program must be trained in not only what behaviors identify a person as an aggressive driver but also why that person behaves in that manner. The public must be made aware of and constantly reminded of what constitutes aggressive driving and how to deal with out ever increasing traffic congestion and lack of driving manners by other drivers. Enforcement must re-enforce those sanctions against bad driving while being supported by a judicial system that can not only impose monetary punishment when necessary but also act as an extension of the re-education effort.

In a time period when we are all bombarded with a constant messages of "do it now" and "just do it" and other messages of instant gratification, patience and tolerance seem to have disappeared from many individuals life styles. Voluntary compliance to traffic laws and conditions must be the goal of any aggressive driver campaign and regular and constant awareness and education must play a large part in this effort. Dr. James efforts go a long way in accomplishing this goal.

Tom Polonis, Captain
San Antonio Police Department
Commander, Technical Support Section

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles

Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

Aggressive driving can refer to any display of aggression by a driver. It is often used to describe more extreme acts of physical assault that result from disagreements between drivers. "Road Rage" is a term believed to be coined by the American media, originally to describe the most violent events.

Although the media currently seem to refer to all aggressive driving as road rage, the New York State Police have pointed out that there is an important difference. "Road Rage", such as using the vehicle as a weapon or physically assaulting a driver or their vehicle, is NOT aggressive driving. Such acts are criminal offenses, and there are laws to deal with these violent crimes.

The New York State Police define an Aggressive Driver as one who:

Operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways.


Road Rage Study -
(The Automobile Association, Group Public Policy Road Safety Unit - Britain)
This study was published by the Automobile Association in Great Britain in March 1995. British motorists were surveyed to find out what types of aggressive behavior they had experienced while driving. First they were asked if they felt that motorist behavior had changed in recent years. Of those surveyed, 62% said they felt driver behavior was worse. They were then asked what types of aggressive behaviors they had experienced from other motorists in the last 12 months.


Other Findings
In addition to the results reported above, this study also found that:

Congested roadways and pent-up frustration lead to aggressive driving.
How you feel before you even start your vehicle has a lot to do with how stressed you will become while driving.
Humans are territorial. When people feel that their space has been invaded, the natural instinct is to protect themselves. Some drivers carry this tendency too far by trying to assert dominance by chasing another driver. This behavior by a driver may have fatal consequences.
An earlier study conducted in 1992 by the Automobile Association (AA) in Britain examined lifestyle factors of young men who had previously been identified as "safe" or "unsafe" drivers. The study revealed that mood influenced the "unsafe" driver to a greater extent than it did the "safe" driver. It also revealed that being in a bad mood had a negative effect on driving behavior, especially for the "unsafe" driver, who was more likely to react to the actions of other road users.

This supports the view that some people are more likely to succumb to "road rage", but it does not mean that "road rage" cannot be controlled. Although the 1992 study was specific to young men, the 1995 study indicated that there was very little age or gender difference in the prevalence of "road rage".

Driver Aggression Study -
(The Automobile Association, Group Public Policy Road Safety Unit - Britain)
In November of 1996 the AA in Britain published a follow-up to the March 1995 "Road Rage" study. It examined why people experience "road rage" while driving. The study looked at the role of environment in contributing to aggression and compared driving environments to pedestrian environments.

Does the driving environment give rise to aggression?
Is aggressive emotion more likely to be translated into violent behavior in the driving environment?
If the driving environment itself can provoke negative and dangerous emotion, then driver aggression needs to be addressed in terms of aggression in general and not just related to driving. As early as 1968, a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry which examined fatal accidents, showed that in 20% of the cases studied, the drivers had been involved in aggressive altercations within a six hour period before their deaths. The danger is that an inability to effectively deal with anger may mean that aggression influences a motorist's own driving ability. A driver's aggression may be more dangerous to the person experiencing it than to fellow motorists.

This study also looked at environmental factors that influence aggression:

Noise -- While not provoking aggression, noise has been shown to influence the intensity of a pre-existing case of aggression.
Temperature -- In a study conducted in 1986, it was found to that there was a direct relationship between temperature and driver aggression. The hotter it was the more aggressive the subjects became. Most past studies of temperature and its effect on aggression have been inconclusive because if the subject was too hot, they could ask that the temperature be adjusted. This perception of control would lessen frustration and aggression. In the 1986 study there was no control of temperature on the part of the subject.
Overcrowding -- This is a subjective environmental factor. In experiments where all the subjects agreed to the fact that conditions were overcrowded, and especially in the case of traffic congestion, aggression may reach detrimental levels. Noise and heat may exert the most influence on motorists in a traffic congestion situation.
Territoriality -- Furthermore, individuals often view their vehicles as an extension of their home. At home, one sets standards for oneself that may be fine in the privacy of one's home but would not be acceptable in public. The car seems to straddle the boundary between private space and public domain.

According to the Driver Aggression study published by the Automobile Association in Britain in November of 1996, there were only six fatalities in Britain in 1996 resulting from road rage. An individual is much more likely to die in a fatal car crash than as a result of road rage. The media has presented high profile stories about incidences of road rage, which when compared to other traffic safety initiatives, do not warrant such extensive coverage. Part of the cure for road rage is to return the public's perception of this problem to more realistic proportions. The study indicates that the focus of the traffic safety community should not be removed from areas such as alcohol and speed which are and continue to be significant causes of death and injury on the highway.


Over the July 4, 1997 holiday weekend, the New York State Police initiated an aggressive driver pilot program on Long Island and in the southern Hudson Valley. The State Police define the aggressive driver as one who:

Operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways.

Since 1995, the State Police have had an anti-aggressive driver program "without fanfare". The Hazardous Violations Program was initiated in an effort to cut down on aggressive driving behaviors, in particular excessive speed and reckless driving, throughout the state. Now the State Police have initiated an enforcement and public information and education campaign which specifically targets the aggressive driving behaviors listed below.

Aggressive driving may be characterized by the following traffic violations:

Excessive Speed
Frequent or Unsafe Lane Changes
Failure to Signal
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
Disregarding Traffic Controls
Impaired Driving

Maryland's "Aggressive Driver Campaign"
The Field Operations Bureau of the Maryland State Police implemented a new program entitled "The Aggressive Driver Campaign". The program placed the usual emphasis on public information, education and enforcement. There was a kick-off press conference on May 25, 1995. The media picked up on the focus and were very supportive in their reporting. The Public Affairs Unit of the Maryland State Police issued an educational brochure titled "The End of the Road for the Aggressive Driver". A public service announcement was developed using the slogan "Stopping the aggressive driver before he stops you!". Enforcement efforts were stepped up.


Motorists are advised to be patient and courteous to other drivers. You should correct any unsafe driving habits that may endanger, annoy or provoke other drivers. Be aware of the actions that have resulted in violence in the past. Many of these actions are simply eliminated by practicing common courtesy. Others are behaviors which are, or may be considered, offensive.

Avoid behaviors which are likely to provoke aggression:

Gestures -- Obscene or offensive gestures irritate other drivers. Be aware that any gesture may be misinterpreted by another driver.
Car phones -- Don't let your phone become a distraction. Car phone users are perceived as being poor drivers and presenting a traffic hazard. Data shows that aggressive drivers are particularly irritated by fender-benders with motorists who were talking on the phone.
Displays -- Refrain from displaying a bumper sticker, slogan or vanity license plate that may be considered offensive.
Eye contact -- If a motorist tries to pick a fight, do not make eye contact. Get out of the way without acknowledging the other motorist. If the driver follows you, do not go home. Go to a police station or location where you can get help and there will be witnesses.
Aggressive tailgating -- Riding the bumper of the vehicle in front of you is both annoying and unsafe.
Aggressive horn use -- Leaning on the horn to express anger is aggravating.
Aggressive headlight use -- Flashing headlights to denote irritation is rude and unsafe.
Use common courtesy:

Lane blocking -- Don't block the passing lane on multiple lane highways. Allow vehicles to pass you.
Tailgating -- Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Signal use -- Don't change lanes without using your signal, and make sure you can change lanes without cutting another driver off. After changing lanes or turning, turn your signal off.
Horn use -- Use your horn sparingly. Noise is shown to be a contributor to stress.
Failure to turn -- In many areas, including New York State, right turns are allowed after a complete stop for a red light unless an intersection is marked otherwise. Avoid the right lane if you are not turning right.
Don't take up more than one parking space
Don't park in a space reserved for people with disabilities unless you are disabled
Don't open your door into the car next to you
When parallel parking, do not tap the vehicles in front or in back of yours
Always look carefully before backing out of a parking space
Headlight use -- Keep headlights on low beam, except where lighting conditions are poor. Dim your high beams for oncoming traffic, when approaching a vehicle from the rear or when another vehicle is passing you.
Merging -- When traffic permits, move out of the right hand acceleration lane of a freeway to allow vehicles easier access from on-ramps.
Blocking traffic -- If you are driving a cumbersome or slow moving vehicle, pull over when possible to allow traffic to pass you. Do not block the road to stop and have a conversation with another driver or a pedestrian.
Alarms -- Be sure you know how to turn off the anti-theft alarm on any vehicle you are driving. If you are purchasing an alarm, buy one that turns off automatically after a short time.

Give the other driver the benefit of the doubt.
We all make mistakes. Do not assume that all unsafe driving actions are intentional or personal.
Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn't.

Self-control is crucial in managing stress and aggression.
It is important for individuals to have a set of responses to cope with frustration. The most important advice is to remain patient in traffic congestion. You can gain a sense of control by realizing that people behave differently in different situations and that environmental factors may effect others to a greater or lesser degree than they effect you. Information about why a driver may be acting in a certain way will make their behavior more predictable to you, and you will be able to take action to avoid a confrontation, if necessary.

Drivers must pay more attention to their own levels of emotion.
Evidence suggests that drivers who allow their emotions to spiral out of control while driving are a much greater risk to themselves than to those around them. It is important not to try to alleviate aggressive emotion with an outburst. Research shows that this does not help to overcome the situation, and the risk of retaliation increases.

Several psychologists suggest a "cooling off" period such as going for a walk or using relaxation techniques. Although many people, particularly men, go for a drive to "cool off", it is not recommended. Any activity that is an attempt to "cool off" must be distracting enough to interfere with the train of anger-inducing thought.

Avoid all conflict if possible.
If you are challenged, take a deep breath and get out of the way, even if you are in the right.

Finally, before reacting, think about the possible consequences of your actions.
Aggressive behavior behind the wheel could result in serious injury or even death to yourself or someone else. Don't let an impulsive action ruin the rest of your life.

General Summary
Since there is currently not much information on aggressive driving, New York State is continuing to research the issue of aggressive driving as a traffic safety hazard.
Road rage incidents are criminal offenses, while aggressive driving incidents are traffic violations.
The New York State Police program is addressing aggressive driving through enforcement of the traffic violations which are generally considered to be aggressive driving.

original here





Saturday, November 27, 1999

Special to the Star-Bulletin

Leon James and Diane Nahl, both professors at the University of Hawaii, teach drivers how to control their emotions while on the road.


Isle drivers not immune to road rage

The Hawaii Traffic Safety Forum will look at losing control behind the wheel, and what to do about it

By Jaymes K. Song

Two weeks ago, three men in a Toyota Camry pulled alongside a 20-year-old woman on the H-1 Freeway near Pearl City and shot at her. On Oct. 22, a 57-year-old trucker was arrested for punching a man after a driving altercation in Kaimuki. On Oct. 19, a 19-year-old Waialua man was arrested for ramming a car driven by a 17-year-old boy at Leeward Community College because he was driving too slowly.

These recent incidents show that road rage is alive even in the Aloha State. It is a dangerous and deadly disease that has infected the American culture in the past 10 years.

A five-day conference starting Monday -- the Hawaii Traffic Safety Forum -- at the Hilton Hawaiian Village plans to address road rage and dozens of other traffic safety issues plaguing the island's roadways. Topics range from child-restraint seats to new designs to make safer roads.

Dr. Leon James, a University of Hawaii psychology professor and a nationally known expert on road rage, will introduce "TEE Cards" at the conference.

James proposes police officers hand out the TEE -- Traffic Enforcement Education -- cards to motorists who are stopped for aggressive driving violations such as speeding, passing dangerously or running a red light.

"When the police officer stops somebody to give them a ticket or warning, they've got the person's attention right there to give them a mini-lesson," said James, who is also known as Dr. Driving. The card includes an aggressive-driving checklist of violations the officer observed, tips to prevent aggressive driving and road rage and a self-survey that measures a motorist's road-rage tendencies.

"It's learning how to deal with it in a better, more positive way than beating the traffic," James said. "By trying to gain some time, you're actually threatening other people."

Police Sgt. Robert Lung said the Honolulu Police Department is looking into handing out brochures with driving tips and ways to control road rage, but not specifically the TEE card.

"We see it on the road every day," Lung said. "We see cars traveling fast, darting in and out of traffic, making unsafe changes of lanes.

"They don't use signals. They're speeding, tailgating."

James and police acknowledged that most ticketed motorists probably will rip up any literature they receive, or not read it at all. But if it reaches just a few of them, it's worth it.

The TEE Cards are a good first step, but more aggressive driving courses are needed, James said.

Lung, who is on the conference's road rage panel with James, will speak on initiatives he will introduce to the state Legislature designed to curb aggressive driving.

He noted that there are no specific laws in Hawaii addressing aggressive driving.

"We can only give citations for individual violations," Lung said, adding there is nothing that informs police that the offender is a repeat-aggressive or dangerous driver. "It's a problem across the country."

DRIVING COMPLAINTS The top 10 driving complaints in the nation are:
1. Cutting off, cutting in and slowing down.
2. Changing lanes in a reckless manner or, weaving through traffic.
3. Turning without signaling.
4. Cruising in the passing lane and not moving over.
5. Taking too long to turn or to get moving.
6. Yelling, insulting or gesturing at other drivers.
7. Rushing or being impatient all the time.
8. Tailgating and following too close.
9. Passing on the right shoulder when a car is turning left.
10. Running a red light or speeding up to a yellow light.

Source: Dr. Driving

Lung wants to make aggressive driving a new category that would fall under the "reckless driving" category. It would be considered a misdemeanor offense that could result in up to a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail.

An aggressive-driving ticket would be cited when a motorist commits two or more aggressive driving violations -- such as speeding, tailgating, changing lanes unsafely -- within a certain distance, Lung said.

Traffic experts say driving habits and personalities have changed through the years, while the laws have not.

"More people are at risk today of losing their self-control," James said.

There are two main reasons for that, he said. There are more cars and congestion, which makes people feel more challenged, and people aren't taught how to deal with emotional challenges.

Plus there are several obstacles drivers deal with now which they never did before.

People are regularly using electronic navigation systems and cellular phones. Computers with E-mail also are being installed in many cars.

Lung, a 28-year veteran with HPD, said people also are taking their frustrations from work and home out on the road.

Aggressive driving is responsible for most of the nation's car accidents, James said.

There were 10,000 road-rage crashes from 1990 to 1996, claiming 218 lives and injuring 12,610 others, according to a study by the Automobile Association of America.

Next week's forum is sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and will include dozens of experts from Hawaii as well as the mainland.

The conference was created as a result of several transportation surveys on Oahu in the past year, and will focus on education, enforcement and engineering.

"We found there were areas where people need more education and communication," said Marilyn Kim, state DOT spokeswoman.

The state is spending about $100,000 to host the conference. The money came from the $800,000 the state received from a federal incentive grant for lowering the legal blood-alcohol level to 0.08.


You can get more information about TEE CARDS and road rage online at DrDriving.org

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin http://starbulletin.com

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 05:18:41 -1000

To: "'dyc@DrDriving.org'" <dyc@DrDriving.org>
Subject: Definition of road rage

Dr. James:
I am a public affairs specialist at USAA, the nation's sixth largest auto insurer. We are based in San Antonio, Texas. More than a year ago, a colleague and I went to the San Antonio Police Department to propose some initiates to counter aggressive driving. We were told by the PIO that San Antonio didn't have a road rage problem. Several months later, the national survey on cities with road rage problems identified San Antonio.

The local media has picked up on the term "road rage." I've attached a recent article. Reading the article, I cannot find what might be readily identifiable actions that could lead the law enforcement community or the media to conclude this was an incident of road rage.

So, my question, what's your working definition of "road rage" and "aggressive driving." I'm interested because I anticipate writing an op-ed column for one of our senior executives for publication in the local newspaper. Any help would be appreciated.

Mr. TH,
Partly this is a semantic and stylistic issue. Some people react negatively when they hear that expression, thinking it's media hype and not much has changed over the decades. More importantly, some people are opposed to aggressive driving initiatives. They feel it's intrusive, first, and second, they feel it's the wrong focus: get the guy who causes us to be aggressive. In other words, drivers who block the left lane, or break the local norms and drive differently, thus disrupting the flow that the regulars expect. Also: drivers who are inattentive, and drivers who are tool old. Get these drivers off the road and there'll be no aggressive driving and road rage, only nice , safe, "assertive" competitive healthy competent driving.

I am summarizing for you the attitude out there among many drivers. I call it "automotive vigilantism" because it wants to discriminate and punish rather re-educate and accommodate. See this article on Quality Driving Circles (QDCs):

My research on the pulse of the nation's drivers indicates that a schism is being formed in the minds of drivers: those for more enforcement (including electronic "surveillance" devices) and those for less. I discuss some of these results in this article, towards the end:   http://DrDriving.org/surveys/interpretations.htm

You may have already seen my page listing various law enforcement initiatives around the country:  http://www.drdriving.org/legislation/ (this page)

>From what you have told me, I can surmise that you have run up against this bi-polarization of attitudes when someone, say the police chief in a county, says We don't have an road rage problem here. So to compromise and still achieve your goal, you can use a less extreme expression like "aggressive driving" or even less extreme than that like "reckless driving" which is well accepted already.

So it depends on the social context what you can call it for the least amount of political friction.

What's important, and what makes it into a law enforcement driving initiative, is that drivers and police officers have a clear definition of what it is that's being proposed, legislated, or enforced. This is where the threat and the opposition develops at all levels. And I entirely agree that this is crucial.

My suggestion: First you and your team need to work on the wording of specific driver behaviors that a police officer can recognize, or that other drivers can recognize, if it's a call-in situation. You can use other initiatives as a lead, and I'd be willing to look it over for you to give you my assessment.

Second, you circulate the list among the various political echelons who have to go along, starting with the police department, and including citizen groups and media forums. In this process the definitions get modified to suit everyone--and this is good. You end up with an initiative that is enforceable and does not disrupt or antagonize a third of the community.

Good luck, and write back any time.

Leon James

Interview with Dr. Leon James

The American Legion Magazine  Trent D. McNeeley  December 1997

Some automotive enthusiasts claim the epidemic mentality being pushed on the media stems from a concerted effort on behalf of NHTSA and DoT to increase their visibility, clout and funding. With no more carnage on U.S. highways after removing the double-nickel speed limit, is this just another way to try to catch speeders, replacing speed kills with road rage kills?
One writer claims, tongue firmly in cheek, that road rage can be traced to Oedipus slaying his father on the road from Delphi. So, if this problem has existed for so long, why all the attention now? Can it really be all just about more congestion on roadways?
You claim teaching defensive driving actually produces paranoia, contributing to aggression. Some driving school officials I spoke with say that's ludicrous, that they merely teach people to anticipate and avoid accidents, and how to get the most out of their cars as accidents are happening. How do you respond to that criticism, and what other types of driving techniques can reduce predatory driving?
Should the federal or state governments offer tax incentives to encourage people and businesses to take advantage of driver's education programs, or spend the money more on enforcing existing traffic laws?
Answers here






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