Report 4


Meagan Lincoln

Alicia Raatz

Malia Blumhardt

PSY 409, Spring 2008, Generation 27

Dr. Leon James, Instructor, University of Hawai’i


Section 1:  Lecture Notes by Meagan Lincoln


Lecture Notes


Aggressive driving is transmitted through generations, mostly from parents to children.  It is difficult to make changes and address the problem of aggressive driving because people have distorted ideas about their behavior and cannot recognize the need for change.  In lecture we discussed the PAW SyndromeThe PAW Syndrome is a cultural practice and includes philosophy, attitude, and weakness, or AD=PAW.


The philosophy aspect would include us drivers seeing road regulations as not applying to ourselves. The driver decides if he/she is going to engage in dangerous behavior.  People make these choices every day.


An attitude can be seeing driving as a competition.  Such drivers want to “win the race” and focus on only their own needs.  This is an unrealistic way of thinking that others are out to take advantage of you.


Weakness is referring to our emotional weakness, our mental venting against another driver and a lack of emotional intelligence.  Our inability to deal with certain situations, leads us to engage in hostile, aggressive behavior.


As Dr. James stated, this is a worldwide phenomenon and I agree.  I believe that all of us drivers engage in some aspect of the PAW syndrome.  We need to recognize this issue and begin educating the future generations. 


Section 2:  Readings by Meagan Lincoln and Alicia Raatz


1.  Driving Lessons: Chapter 11, pages 161-173 titled Volunteer Citizen Activism And Court Monitoring by Joanne Jarvis.


Court monitoring can be a very useful tool to make changes regarding aggressive driving.  A group of citizen can have a great impact on the outcomes of court judgments.  For instance court monitoring can be “effective in increasing the likelihood of convictions, decreasing the likelihood of dismissals and, in cases of repeat offenders, increasing the length of jail sentences” (161).


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in 1980 in California.  It began in response to the alarmed victims and citizens on how lenient the court system treated drunk drivers.   MADD U.S. and MADD Canada both have thousands of volunteers and supporters. 


MADD Canada’s  main reason for existing is to “eliminate the killing and maiming caused by impaired driving” (162).  They provide support for victims and families that have been effected by drunk driving.  They also believe in taking an approach that involves public awareness, education, strict enforcement by police, and holding the criminal justice system accountable for the prosecution of drunk drivers. 


In Canada impaired driving is a serious problem, it is the leading criminal cause of death.  It is amazing how lenient sentences have been for impaired drivers that have killed or seriously injured another person.  Many judges have viewed these situations as tragic accident and not as a criminal act, therefore giving minimum jail time and probation.  I could not imagine losing a loved one, a close family member to an impaired driver.  The families that have suffered such tragedies will so for a lifetime.  These people are severely frustrated with the court system and are determined to make change.


MADD asked the victims, families, and concerned citizens to volunteer.  These people monitor the courts in their communities.  They observe how the charges are dealt with both inside the court and outside the court with records.  There have been other organizations that are very like MADD, such as the Courtwatch program of Hillsborough County that monitor domestic violence cases.


If the monitors find a significant number of disposed cases in a community or jurisdiction, they then inform the Chief Crown or Director of Crown Operations, and judges are exposed.  There has been a few studies that show that court monitoring has had some impact on case outcomes.  Shriner (1990), found that the presence of court monitors increased the likelihood of convictions and reduced the probability of dismissal.  Shriner also found that court monitoring had a significant effect on jail time, but not that great of an effect on the fine amount.


An effective way to organize an effective court monitoring program is view the available resources, such as how many volunteers there are and the number of courts to monitor.  The volunteers are given a training manual to direct them on what to do and what not to do, and how to act professional.  The volunteers are also expected to learn the criminal justice system and environment.  They need to learn legal terms, roles of police, defense counsel, the defendants rights, etc.  The volunteers are expected to fill out a court monitoring form, giving detailed information while in court.


2.  Road Rage Chapter 6 


This chapter talked about the objective self-assessment of drivers.  Road rage and aggressive driving exist on a single behavior continuum.  In the mental state of aggressive driving we impulsively take more risks and stay on the verge of angry exchanges throughout the trip.  Once we are involved in one aggressive incident, we tend to remain upset or angry until we reach are destination point.  The extreme end of the aggressive driving spectrum is assault and battery.  That is the highest form of road rage under death.  Much research led to the finding of the three-step program to help drivers develop better emotional fitness on the road. 


The main goal of the program is to use self-assessment to identify problematic tendencies that produce emotional rage in a driver.  A self-serving bias clouds out understanding of why we get angry.  It’s a human tendency to take credit for things done right, but deny responsibility for when things go wrong.  The three-step program begins with the first step of acknowledgement.  This is when you realize that every driver needs traffic emotions education.  No matter how aggressive you are or not, it will benefit everyone.  The second step is to witness.  This is when you watch your actual behaviors while driving and observe your thoughts, feelings, and actions on those behaviors.  The third and last step is to modify.  This is when you change the behaviors you saw while observing yourself.  You modify your old ways of doing things, to become a better driver.  This three-step program must continuously be recycled.  You have to always be observing you’re driving and modifying your mistakes, it’s a never ending process in life.  Let’s focus on step one, acknowledgement.  With this, we have a better understanding of the road rage syndrome. 


The most difficult part is changing your undesirable habits.  There are thousands of habits that can be changed.  Some examples are changing habits of thinking a certain way about a driver or event and changing habits of operating your vehicle.  On a driving excellence scale from 1 – 10, most people rated there driving as a 8,9, or 10, but then those same people accounted for 75% of the aggressive driving.  It is essential that acknowledgement be made in three areas, emotions, thoughts, and actions.  When acknowledging your behaviors, you have to be as specific as possible.  The second step is to witness.  Self-monitoring or witnessing can be measured by third parties or instruments.  Some examples are vehicle speed, yelling or insulting, and blood alcohol level.  There is no instrument that can detect a person’s thoughts or feelings.  When witnessing your actions, the act of verbalizing your thoughts and feelings help you notice them more.  Objective driver awareness increases when verbalizing your thoughts behind the wheel.


 It is necessary to assume the role of an observer to find out how often you entertain different feelings.  So, after a few trips of observing yourself as a driver, add up your negative instances and see what needs to be modified.  Some examples of negative events are feeling claustrophobic and stressing over police.  Some examples of positive events would be enjoying the drive and feeling good when someone waves thank you.  The last step is to modify.  Some examples of how this can be broken down are leaving 15 minutes earlier, signaling before changing lanes, avoiding getting angry when forced to brake, and avoiding retaliation when insulted.  Drivers initially resist changing their driving styles.  A sense of self-righteousness coupled with a sense of entitlement builds strong feelings of resistance to changing out your own behaviors.  The only way of overcoming these behaviors is to concentrate on one small driving behavior at a time.  Work on it till it is complete, and then move onto the next behavior.


3.   Article 6, The Effect of Age, Gender, and Type of Car Driven Across the States. 


This article contained a lot of information about the differences in gender and the type of car you drive.  Aggressive driving is a cultural norm that we acquire from our parents and the media.  Driver education begins as infants while riding in the backseat with are parents.  We watch them yell, curse, swear, and brake driving regulations.  Drivers behave badly in a variety of ways and they are influenced by geographic states and type of car driven.  Cultural techniques of re-education are needed to reverse the trend.  Supportive driving needs to replace aggressive driving these days.  We are in the beginning of the second century of driving and through better car designs there are fewer deaths each year.  There are approximately 42,000 fatalities, 6 million crashes, and $200 billion in costs every year.   People in America consider tailgating (84%) and passing on the shoulder (83%) the most aggressive things you can do o the road.  New drivers and men are considered to be the most aggressive drivers on the road.


In a survey done online, a sample of 1095 were asked about their type of car, habits as a driver, other drivers, their parents as drivers, and initiatives.  Some results from the survey were aggressiveness.  Men described themselves higher on aggressiveness the women, 5.5 for men vs. 6.0 for men.  Men who drive family cars such as vans, see themselves as less aggressive then women.  Women and men who drive “hard” vehicles like trucks say they are more aggressive while driving.  Vehicle type has a large determinate on how aggressive you see yourself as a driver.  The second results from the survey are excellence as a driver.  Most drivers underestimate their errors and overestimate their skills.  Men usually rate themselves an 8 and women rate themselves a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10 on the excellence as a driver scale. 


Drivers from California and Colorado see themselves as better drivers then other states.  Two out of three drivers consider themselves almost perfect drivers, but those same drivers are also the most aggressive on the road.  The third results from the survey are swearing.  Women in the state of Florida swear more then any other state.  Young drivers (66%) and drivers of sports cars and trucks (67%) swear and cuss the most.  Senior drivers tend to swear the least o the road.  The last result I thought was important was tailgating.  The top five states for tailgating are Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas.  The lowest states are New York, Florida, and California.  Young drivers admit to tailgating dangerously.  I believe that the results of this survey are very realistic.  Where you live and what kind of car you drive has a huge impact of how you drive.  Aggressive driving will always be around, but maybe someday we can learn to control it.


Section 3: Exercises by Malia Blumhardt



DrDriving has created another way to prevent aggressive driving.  What he calls "TEE CARDS" stands for Traffic Enforcement Education Cards and also known as Traffic Emotions Cards are created for law enforcement officers who make traffic stops for aggressive driving. The traffic stop can be a window of opportunity for delivering Aggressive Driving Prevention Information at a time when the motorist is especially focused to receive and listen to such information. The officer chooses from one of several categories of aggressive driving information cards and hands it to the motorist. The purpose is to build the motorist's awareness of what the law considers aggressive and which behaviors were observed by the officer.  The officer chooses whether or not to issue a citation.

TEE CARDS express and promote DrDriving's approach called Driving Psychology. This is the idea that driving habits occur in three domains: emotions, thoughts, and sensory-motor actions. These three must act together to be effective. TEE CARDS can also be used in other settings such as:

·      law enforcement education

·      public schools

·      driving schools

·      safety clubs

·      court mandated classes

·      family or individual efforts at Aggressive Driving Prevention.

·      driver self-improvement programs

·      quality driving circles (QDCs)

·      public information programs

·      radio campaigns

·      books and readers

Some of the educational objectives for TEE CARDS are to:

·      serve as a reminder and warning at a time the motorist is focused on the officer

·      give motorists a feedback assessment on their mistakes

·      point out emotionally intelligent alternatives to aggressive driving

·      strengthen a driver's sense of social responsibility to other drivers

·      provide facts and statistics about the consequences of aggressive driving

·      promote the idea that anger management takes serious practice

·      provide information on self-improvement activities for drivers

·      reinforce appropriate driving attitudes to children passengers riding in the stopped car

·      remind parents of their responsibility to model appropriate motorist behavior for the sake of their children's future driving attitudes

Each TEE card acts as a mini-lesson that takes into account the three types of behavioral objectives:

1.)  Affective- regarding attitude, responsibility, emotions, alertness

2.)  Cognitive- involving knowledge, judgment, emotional intelligence

3.)  Sensori-motor- competence in vision and vehicle control

An effective partnership between the three Es-Engineering, Enforcement, Education-must created to work and maintain a highway learning atmosphere that will support the public’s concept of Lifelong Driver Self-Improvement. 

The three Es include:

1. Engineering

·      road and vehicle design

·      Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

·      Traffic calming

·      Electronic traffic control

·      Variable adaptive speed limits

·      Mobile computing devices

·      Auto black box and GPS finder

2. Enforcement

·      Sobriety checkpoints

·      Aggressive driving initiatives

·      Officer training

·      Photo radar

·      Database of repeat offenders

3. Education

·      TEE cards

·      Quality Driving Circles (QDCs)

·      K-12 Driver’s Ed

·      Court mandated driving courses

·      Distance learning self-study courses

·      Citizen activism

An example of a TEE card is shown below to illustrate its effectiveness.

Top Ten Road Rage Hot Spots in 1996Cities in Nation

1.    Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.: 13.4 deaths per 100,000 residents

2.    Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.: 9.5 deaths per 100,000 residents

3.    Phoenix, Ariz.: 9.2 deaths per 100,000 residents

4.    Orlando, Fla.: 8.1 deaths per 100,000 residents

5.    Miami-Hialeah, Fla.: 8.1 deaths per 100,000 residents

6.    Las Vegas, Nev.: 8.1 deaths per 100,000 residents

7.    Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach - Fla.: 7.8 deaths per 100,000 residents

8.    Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.: 7.1 deaths per 100,000 residents

9.    Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas: 7.3 deaths per 100,000 residents

10.San Antonio, Texas: 7.0 deaths per 100,000 resident




Section 4:  Web Links by Meagan Lincoln, Alicia Raatz, and MaliaBlumhardt 


1.      Dr. Driving’s TEE Cards:

This website gives an in-depth look at TEE cards. This site encourages the use of TEE cards as a way to promote safe and effective driving.


2.      Women Not Necessarily Better Drivers Than Men:

This article in Science Daily addresses the issue of who’s a better driver. The findings from their research indicate that although men are three times more likely than women to be killed in car crashes, female drivers are “involved” in slightly more crashes than men. Check out the article, it’s really interesting.


3.      How to Be a Better Driver:

On wikiHow, they offer a How-to Manual that offers steps as well as tips on becoming a better driver. One tip they mention is “Residential areas include kids. Children are unpredictable, especially on the roads. Be watchful, and drive slower than usual.”


4.      Citizen Court Monitoring:

In New York a program called Citizen Court Monitoring gives power to the citizens and effects how the courts are run. The volunteer monitors give recommendations on how to make the court more “user friendly” and efficient.  This program gained attention all through the nation and will continue to make improvements in our court system, similar to the MADD court monitoring program discussed in the readings.


5.      National Association of Court Monitoring Programs

The National Association of Court Monitoring Program (NACMP) strives to expand the use of court monitoring systems across the United States.  They also give support to existing court monitoring programs.  Just as the MADD program, the NACMP provides training to individuals to participate in court monitoring projects to help bring justice to victims of abuse.


   6.      ADA County Guardianship Monitoring Program:

Another similar court monitoring program is the ADA county Guardianship Monitoring Program that was established in 1995.  This program ensures that all cases concerning guardianship are governed correctly in accordance to the state statues.  The volunteers also receive training and act as the “eyes and ears” for the people.  The cases deal mainly with the elderly, disabled, and minor children.


      7.      Drive for Life:

This website has a lot of useful information on it.  The main stories change, but it talks about the national safe driving test and initiative.  It also talked about which roads the most were aggravating in America.  The two top stories were about dangerous behaviors that drivers admit to and how new drivers are the most susceptible to high-tech distractions.  The site had a lot of information on a driver’s personality.


8.      Anger on the Road:

This website was about a psychologist named Jerry Deffenbacher from Colorado State University.  He did a research on the characteristics of angry drivers and what can be done to make the roads safer.  He said that even the typically calm driver can sometimes turn into a warrior behind the wheel.  On this page, he goes over the characteristic of an angry driver by conducting a survey.  Then, he states his ways of stopping aggressive driving.


9.      Teen Driving:

   This website talks about how teens drive.  It states that traffic crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities.  “Teenagers driving at night with passengers are 4-5 times more likely to crash then teenagers driving alone during the day.”  The site talks about how to modify risky driving behaviors and how to develop new skills in driving.  It has a lot of good information on teen driving.


10.  Age differences in Estimating Vehicle velocity.:

This study says that automobile accidents among older adults may be related to difficulties in judging the speed of other vehicles. In addition, the study examined the possibility by using three groups of observers in the young adult, middle-aged, and older adult age ranges. They were asked to estimate the velocity of an isolated automobile traveling at certain speed. The result was that older observers showed less sensitivity to changes in actual velocity.