Driver Containment Course for Law Enforcement
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.
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
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
FORSCOM News Service
FORSCOM Selects American
Institute For Safety Campaign
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
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 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
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.
In California this year:
SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE Bill No: SB
2004 Senator BETTY KARNETTE, Chair Author:
speier VERSION: 5/4/2000 Analysis by: Randall
SUBJECT: Pursuit intervention termination
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
SUPERIOR COURT DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA Rufus King III, Chief Judge March
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
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.
December 18, 2000 In
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
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.
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
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
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.
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
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
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
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
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
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
Al Philippus is chief of the San Antonio Police
Hawaii State Law
Enforcement Officers Association Conference
Workshop Presentation by Dr. Leon James and
Dr. Diane Nahl
PREVENTION, EDUCATION, LEGISLATION
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
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?
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
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.
AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND THE
LAW A SYMPOSIUM
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ricardo Martinez, M.D.,
Aggressive Driving Victim
Secretary of Transportation
Ricardo Martinez, M.D.,
NHTSA Survey Results
Research Report on
Overview and Background
for Aggressive Driving
Panel Discussion -
Issues, Research, and Approaches
of National Organizations
Insurance Institute for
AAA Foundation for
Traffic Safety, Inc
National Association of
Governors' Highway Safety
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Findings and Recommendations
Appendix I - Symposium
Appendix II -
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
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
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,
And they'll use police and court records to
record a statistical analysis of aggressive
drivers as well as how well the new enforcement
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
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
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
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
Tom Polonis, Captain
San Antonio Police Department
Commander, Technical Support Section
NYS Department of Motor
Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
WHAT IS AGGRESSIVE DRIVING?
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
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
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.
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
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
Does the driving environment give rise to
Is aggressive emotion more likely to be
translated into violent behavior in the driving
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
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.
CONCLUSIONS OF THE STUDIES
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
THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE AGGRESSIVE DRIVER
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
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:
Frequent or Unsafe Lane Changes
Failure to Signal
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
Disregarding Traffic Controls
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.
BE AWARE OF ACTIONS WHICH CAN PROVOKE
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,
Avoid behaviors which are likely to provoke
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
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
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
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
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.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE
Give the other driver the benefit of the doubt.
We all make mistakes. Do not assume that all
unsafe driving actions are intentional or
Be polite and courteous, even if the other
KEEP YOUR COOL... THINK BEFORE YOU REACT
Self-control is crucial in managing stress and
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
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
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
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.
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
The New York State Police program is addressing
aggressive driving through enforcement of the
traffic violations which are generally
considered to be aggressive driving.
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
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,
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
The TEE Cards are a good first step, but more
aggressive driving courses are needed, James
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
5. Taking too long to turn or to get moving.
6. Yelling, insulting or gesturing at other
7. Rushing or being impatient all the time.
8. Tailgating and following too close.
9. Passing on the right shoulder when a car is
10. Running a red light or speeding up to a
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
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
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
Subject: Definition of road rage
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.
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
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
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
You may have already seen my page listing
various law enforcement initiatives around the
>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
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.