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Access to Interview Answers on
Road Rage, Aggressive Driving, Traffic Safety,
Air Rage, Pedestrians, Cyclists, Bullying, Video Game Violence,

by Dr. Leon James with Dr. Diane Nahl








Oahu Fleet Safety Organization (OFSO) September 1996
    Safety Facts
    Self-Witnessing Exercise
    What Kind of FEELINGS do you have while driving?
    What kind of THOUGHTS do you have while driving?
    What kind of ACTIONS do you do while driving?

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Budget Rent-A-Car Hawaii Car Show, Honolulu, February 1997
    Displays DrDriving's Tips and Slogans
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Super Driver Audio Magazine Darcy Young June 1997
    Dr. Driving, lately we hear a lot about people attacking other people on the road, What's going on out there?
    What causes drivers to become so incredibly aggressive? Why do you think it's happening now?
    Our listeners see a lot of drivers, four wheelers and other truckers everyday. Is there any one type they should be looking for and avoiding?
    Can you give a description of a typical aggressive driver? (age, gender, etc...)
    Generally speaking, I'm a pretty nice person. But I'll admit, when someone cuts in front of me or cuts me off, it really makes me angry! Sometimes I feel like I need to teach them a lesson. How do I personally handle my own feelings of aggression while I'm driving? Why do you feel this anger particularly shows itself while driving?
    What should you do if someone is acting aggressively towards you on the road? What is your advice to our drivers and people in general placed in such a situation?
    Dr. Driving, tell us about your program. What do people need to know and do to get over this 'Road Rage"?
    It's so easy to be aggressive on the road. So anonymous. Have others been successful with your program?
    Dr Driving, any last words for our harried Truck Drivers out there today?
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NPR affiliate KPCC Radio Pasadena, CA  June 1997
    What is the definition of emotional intelligence for drivers?
    What is the alternative to road rage thinking?
    What is the antidote to road rage?
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Weekly Magazine Seattle, Washington  Devona  November 1997
    The increase of motorists on today's road ways correlates with increased traffic in other places as well. Such as banks, supermarkets, etc,. Why is there road rage and not supermarket rage?
    In a recent article in the Washington Post, a Police officer stated that people on the roadways have no respect for their fellow drivers, why is that?
    How can we as a community take steps to decrease road rage in our areas as well as encourage - good driving etiquette when we are constantly victims of aggressive behavior?
    How effective do you think recent measures to decrease road rage have been?
    And ultimately, what about the bad driver?
    The Police can educate us on how to report aggressive driver's but honestly what can we do about the scared, freaked out driver's who are already too afraid to even concentrate on their driving? Or the people on the telephone's who are too consumed with conducting their business on the road ways to even begin to be considerate drivers? How can we educate them, without sending a message to socially impaired driver's that it is okay to unleash their unwarranted anger on America's roadways?
    The Police can educate us on how to report aggressive driver's but honestly what can we do about the scared, freaked out driver's who are already too afraid to even concentrate on their driving? Or the people on the telephone's who are too consumed with conducting their business on the road ways to even begin to be considerate drivers? How can we educate them, without sending a message to socially impaired driver's that it is okay to unleash their unwarranted anger on America's roadways?
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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?
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Ohio University in Athens, Ohio  Adam Blue February 26, 1998
    Do you think having something like the Database of Unsafe Drivers at  which lets web surfers vent their frustrations along with posting license plate numbers of offenders, as well as proposed punishments, perpetuates the problem of road rage?
    Since statistics confirm a large increase of the number of automobiles on the road today, do you think having expanded streets and highways could in any way help to alleviate the problem?
    I've noticed in some interviews you've given on the topic or road rage, you refer to it as a "habit." As such, do you support or protest its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)?
    At times, I've found myself getting angry just looking at a person who is on a car phone while driving next to or in front of me. Are external conditions such as car phones contributing factors to road rage?
Are the current states of television programming and/or motion pictures a contributing factor to road rage? Yes indeed, see my review here. In reference to question, what are some examples of television and/or movies that may perpetuate road rage?

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  Joey Ledford  October 1998
    James believes road rage is a habit acquired in childhood.
    James differs from many experts in the fledgling field. Therapy, he said, is not the cure for road rage. He pushes a three-step self help program he calls AWM.
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The Sunday Fort Wayne Journal Gazette  Joe Boyle  February 1999
    Officials try to curb `road rage'
    Driver behavior in the Hostile Zone
    James suggests driver's education from kindergarten throughout the rest of their driving career.
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Are SUV Drivers More Aggressive? Discussion With Students February 1999
Leon James
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Wisconsin State Journal Kerry G. Hill, National/Foreign Editor February 1999
    Why are American drivers so susceptible to aggressive driving and acts of road rage? What is road rage reasoning? How serious is this problem? What public institutions should be addressing this problem and how?
    What can drivers do to make themselves less likely to commit acts of vehicular aggression? Can you offer some tips for dealing with aggressive drivers?
    Where can people go (e.g., web sites, organizations, addresses, books) for more information on dealing with aggressive driving?
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Suncoast News  New Port Richey, FL  Sandy Sanders   July 1999
    Has aggressive driving increased nationally in the last few years, compared to say five or 10 years ago, and, if so, what do you attribute this to?
    Is aggressive driving peculiar to one age group more than another?
    What type of things trigger aggressive driving?
    What can motorists do to keep from becoming a victim or party to aggressive driving?
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Bicycling Magazine Doug Donaldson April 2000
    Why do drivers get so angry when they see people on bikes?
    Do you believe that drivers see cyclists as living outside the rules and thus is cause for road rage?
    What are some signs of road rage a cyclist might see in a driver?
    What's should a rider do when they spot a driver with road rage, specifically directed at the cyclist?
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The Washington Post  Don Oldenburg  April 2000
I'm working on a short piece that looks at several recently released racing and driving video games. I'm wondering if you've given any thought to this genre of home entertainment which puts players behind the wheel of everything from racing cars to dirt bikes. Most of these games are racers, other are speed and bash games.
    Any chance this kind of play acting could relieve tension after a long commute home?
    When talking about racing/driving videogames, it's easy to see that the extreme titles, such as Carmageddon, where the point is to run-down pedestrians, could be harmful.
    Are we as drivers bringing more agendas behind the wheel today than we used to? Not only eating, talking on the cell phone, doing business on the dashboard--but also expressing our frustrations and anger from other parts of our lives through our automobiles?

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Jornal Valor (Sao Paulo, Brazil) Claudio Cordovil May 2000
    How many deaths are caused by road rage each year?
    Do you believe that we must consider road rage as a kind of public health problem?
    What aggressive road rage is becoming more common?
    Is road rage increasing?
    Are there differences in aggressive driving across countries--is it a universal epidemic?
    What is the efficacy of psychotherapeutic-like techniques in order to deal with that problem?
    Can it be seen as a symptom of society's growing loss of community, a decay of moral values?
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South County Journal in King County south of Seattle Mike Archbold  August 2000
I'm doing a story on a major road closure that began Monday that has motorists abusing flaggers on each end of the closure, from verbal abuse to spinning wheels to throw gravel at them. I wonder if you might have a comment or two on why people behave so poorly. Obviously  they are inconvenienced but the flagger didn't close the road. Is this just human nature? Road closures tick people off and should cities design projects to minimize disruption? The city did  a lot of work with fliers and signs telling people of the closure but they didn't seem to help.
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Individual Investor -- finance magazine.  Michael Hirson  August 2000
Since you've done so much with Internet message boards in the course of your research, I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the hostile behavior seen on message boards devoted to stocks.
    We're doing a piece on a phenomenon we're calling "Stock Rage," which explores the increasingly visible rage that individuals show towards other individuals and institutions that have negative things to say about a given stock.      Is there any link between the anonymity of the Internet and the anonymity of driving that causes such hostile behavior? Let me know if you have any thoughts on the matter.
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UCLA Women and Road Rage Darwyn Carson November 2000
    What can women do - for themselves and (working within the family) their teens who may be approaching driving age - to arrest this peaking epidemic?
    Isn't this going against how women are usually perceived - as the peacemakers of society?
    Do you know who originated the term road rage? When was the term first used?
    Could you give me a few ways women - (single and well as married with children) might begin to deal with this problem.

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Chatelaine Magazine Shandley McMurray December 2000
    How would you define road rage?
    Could she have avoided this?
    How can women drivers avoid being the victims of road rage?
    Can you name 10 ways that women drivers can avoid being road ragers or aggressive drivers themselves? (or what are the top 10 ways to dispel road rage?)
    Why did you write your book "Road Rage And Aggressive Driving"?
    Do you think this topic is of more concern to women than men? If so, why?
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San Francisco Examiner Judy DeMocker December 2000
    I'm interested in covering, at least cursorily, the psychological underpinnings of Road Rage, to better understand what makes it so difficult for drivers to share the roads with bicyclists, skaters, and pedestrians.
    So any theories on why bicyclists get targeted for hostile or aggressive behavior more than, say, pedestrians do?
    For motorists, what happens in them that they cannot recognize their bad behavior or the consequences of it?
    And, what are the triggers for this sort of rage? You say it's learned behavior from childhood-- What activates it?
    Is road rage just a socially sanctioned way of dumping repressed emotions?
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Live Chat with Epotec Dale Dallabrida February 2001
do you define "road rage"?
    How do you define "aggressive driving"?
    Is aggressive driving on the increase?
    What states have the biggest problems with aggressive driving?
    I try not to be aggressive, but people who don't follow road signs and cut me off do make me really angry. Any tips for coping with all the idiots out there?
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Boston Globe Article Tara Arden-Smith February 2001
I'm trying to explore is whether contemporary litigiousness and increasingly official behavior-regulation has contributed to the more extreme and fatal outbursts of rage.
    It seems that several decades ago there were many more physical outlets for anger that were reasonably innocuous, socially acceptable and certainly less lethal, i.e. the schoolyard fistfight.
    What kinds of predictive factors are associated with violent rage?
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IBD Story on Air Rage  Nancy Gondo  August 2001
    It seems that we've been hearing about more and more air rage incidents lately. Why do you think they are on the rise?
    If you're a passenger and the person next to you or near you starts acting up, what can you do if anything to try to prevent the situation from escalating?
    What should you do if you're stuck in your seat and someone has already erupted in a full-on rage?
    What is the airline's role in trying to either prevent or resolve the incident?

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Humber College, Toronto, Canada  Amanda Daponte October 2001 
    What exactly is road rage?
    Do you believe it's a mental thing that leads people to act the way they do when driving?
    What is the cause of road rage, or what do you believe it is? How can it be gotten rid of?
    What's the worst scenario you've seen or heard of when it comes to road rage?

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CultureNotes Webseed Publishing Network  Allan Stein October 2001
    What is the clinical definition of parking lot rage?
    Why does it happen, who is most susceptible to it psychologically, and how can it be prevented?
    Does parking lot rage signify a coarsening of attitudes and an erosion of public etiquette?

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Men's Health UK  Rob Kemp November 2001
    Are there any specifically identified reasons why men are more prone to road rage?
    What can be done to reduce the likelihood of our readers 'losing it' behind the wheel.

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Gala December 2001
    How common is "road rage" or aggressive driving today as opposed to 10 or 20 years ago?
    Why has road rage become more common over the years? Is it just a sign of the times or a reflection on our society as a whole?
    How does road rage affect all drivers--from the angry driver to the unsuspecting drivers?
    What advice or tips would you give to our readers/commuters who feel as if they're going to blow their top and slide into aggressive driving?

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First For Women Magazine  Robin Rinaldi  September 2003
    Definition of Aggressive Driving
    Types and Levels of Aggressive Driving
    TEE Cards--Traffic Emotions Education
    Anger Control Methods
    Attribution Bias in Driving Exchanges
    Symptoms of Confrontational Thinking
    Test Your Road Rage Tendency
    Checklist: Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings
    The Gender Effect

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Garzia Magazine, Italian Edition Deborah Ameri  July 2007
    Could you define what traffic or driving psychology is?
    Did you spot any differences regarding driving psychology between women and men?
    Can the way we drive reveal something of us?
     Is it true that cars are like a home, an extension of ourselves?
    What can driving represent for people? Escape? Responsibility? Just duty?
    Why some people are very aggressive while driving? (more women or men?)
    How do men generally perceive women who drive? And vice versa?
    In Italy we say: "woman who drives is a danger". Is that true?
    Is it possible to classify different types of drivers? if yes which ones?
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New Yorker  Elif Batuman  August 28, 2007

    On to the questions. I familiarized myself a bit with your background from your web site, but please correct me if I got anything wrong.
    What factors motivated your name change from Jakobovits to James? And when did this change take place? (From your list of publications, the earliest use of "James" appears to be in 1978, the last use of "Jakobovits" around 1992.)
    Would it be accurate to say that your academic approach shifted around the early 1980s, from "traditional" methods of linguistic and psycholinguistic analysis, to a spiritual/ Swedenborgian/ dualist approach? (If not, what would be a better way to put it? I'm not very familiar with this terminology.)
    Was there a particular moment when you became interested in the idea of spiritual causation of natural phenomena (i.e. in subjects "beyond the scope of investigation" in analytical linguistics)?
    Did I understand correctly that you "discovered" Swedenborg in 1981 in the university library? Was this by chance? How did you become so absorbed in S's works?
    The transformation to "Dr. Driving" (beginning with the incident involving your wife's grandmother) occurred in 1982, the same year as your first published work on Swedenborg. Any connection?
    To summarize questions 1-3: what is the relationship (in time or otherwise) between the name change, your interest in Swedenborg, and the reform in your driving habits?
    A minor fact-checking question: is it true that you originally adopted the name "Dr. Traffic," and then changed to "Dr. Driving," to avoid copyright infringement on "Mr. Traffic"?
Where were you born, and where did you grow up? What languages did you grow up speaking? What was your family's religious background?
    What are your thoughts about the use of comedy in driver education?
    My sense is that Americans more commonly acknowledge the emotionally fraught nature of many other aspects of everyday life (real estate, cigarette-smoking, diet, stock market, etc.), than that of driving. (At least, this was the case with me, before I started researching this article.) Would you agree? If so, why do you think it is?
    And definitely let me know if there's anything you would like to add on these subjects that I didn't ask about, or if you have any questions for me.

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Frank Mungeam   Car vs. Bike Encounters  October 11, 2007

1. In terms of motorist road rage, what are the primary triggers...and who (age, sex, vehicle type) is most prone to rage?

2. To what extent do the causes of car vs. car rage ALSO apply in car vs. bike situations?

3. With more cars spending more time in traffic, and more people biking...are cyclists at growing risk of motorist rage?

4. What kinds of things do bicyclists do to irritate/anger motorists?

5. How might the rage dynamic be DIFFERENT with cars vs. bikes (i.e., does it matter that the driver is anonymous and the rider is not? The driver is protected and the bicyclist is exposed?)

6. What should a bicyclist who encounters a raging motorist do to stay safe?
7. What can bicyclists do to avoid triggering motorist rage?

8. I've interviewed bicyclists that admit THEY experience feelings of rage while riding on the road. What can riders do to diffuse their own rage?

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Gill Gross Show   Hit & Run Psychology  October 12, 2007
ABC KGO TV/DT San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose.

What happens to the driver in a hit and run crash?
What are the rreasons drivers have for leaving the crash scene?
What are some statistics and facts about hit & run drivers?
Google Results for Hit & Run Driver Psychology

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The Mirror  Joseph Hediger  October 14, 2007
DeSmet Jesuit High School, St. Louis, Missouri

Does traffic have any psychological effects on the human mind? If so
How might traffic affect a person's personality?
How does traffic affect a person's daily life?
How can people reverse or adapt to the effects traffic has on the mind?

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OK Salute, Italian Edition Deborah Ameri  October 26, 2007

Basically I would like to know if we can associate to each type of car a peculiar personality. This imply that you should think about European cars, not American ones. For example: can we say that who is driving a big BMW or a SUV has an aggressive personality? Can we say that who is driving a Mini is an introvert person? Can we say that who is driving a family car (Volvo) is a very caring person? Etc.... If you have any research, any study or any personal opinion in this topic is perfect for the article.

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State Broadcaster RTE Radio 1 in Ireland, for the Tubridy show, Nicolette Lennox, November 22, 2007

We have a very interesting situation in our country in relation to people being allowed to drive unaccompanied on learners permits. We also have a very high failure rate when tests are taken. We have found a case study of a 31 year old male who lost his nerve. Would you perhaps be interested in commenting on how people can overcome their nervousness?

Please find the information about driving in Ireland underneath this:

(...) "Every year I get a few cards from traveling readers advising me that, for them, trying to drive in Ireland was a nerve-racking and regrettable mistake.

(...) Basically, what's needed is a change in road culture, a cultural paradigm shift, Lonero argues. He made that case in a recent paper entitled Finding the next cultural paradigm for road safety, which he produced for the Washington-based AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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Esquire magazine  Julie Vadnal  December 12, 2007

Some people have reported that they sometimes get the urge to driver their car into a telephone pole or oncoming traffic. Ws this serious? Should they be worried about it? What is the cause of it?

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Wall Street Journal  Scott McCartney April 30, 2008  

I'm wondering if you might have some thoughts on more general behavior aboard flights - why people do disgusting and disruptive things, why they sometimes seems to have little regard for fellow passengers or why people have little patience for fellow passengers and their needs?

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