Ex-NFL player’s death tuns spotlight on road rage

John Bacon, USA TODAY
The shocking death of former NFL football star Will Smith in apparent road rage in New Orleans marked the nation’s third highly publicized road rage incident in less than a week.

Smith, 34, a beloved player who won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints, was fatally shot Saturday following an argument after his car was rear-ended, police said in a statement. In Minneapolis on Tuesday, a gunman shot a motorist multiple times in a road rage incident. And in Houston on Wednesday, a brawl involving several adults broke out over a parking space at the Houston Zoo.

While the circumstances and motive surrounding Smith’s death are not yet firmly established, the problem of road rage is clear cut and on the rise.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, based on police reports, show road rage or aggressive driving were reported as factors in 375 fatal crashes that resulted in 418 deaths in 2014, the latest year statistics are available. In 2009, road rage or aggressive driving was reported as a contributing factor in 196 fatal crashes, causing 235 fatalities. The numbers do not include violence after a crash.

Of course, the vast majority of road rage and aggressive driving incidents do not result in death.

Jeff Asher, a crime data consultant based in New Orleans, said Sunday there are no firm statistics on road rage. But he said curbing the problem has more to do with psychology than driving skills.

“It’s about conflict resolution,” Asher told USA TODAY. “It starts in childhood, with education. Teaching people to resolve their conflicts peacefully.”

In New Orleans, Smith and his wife were traveling in their Mercedes when they were struck by a Hummer H2 driven by Cardell Hayes, 28, police said. The two men “exchanged words,” the police statement said, then Hayes fatally shot Smith and wounded Smith’s wife.

Helen Cameron, a senior fellow at the University of South Australia’s School of Psychology, said men between the ages of 16 to 40 are the most likely drivers to succumb to anger while driving — the same group most likely to commit any other violent act.

“It’s part of socialization and it’s something we as a society have never learned to deal with,” she recently told Australia’s news.com. “Cars are funny because they give people a protective bubble but it’s not the cars that make people angry.”

A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 87% of respondents said they believed aggressive drivers were a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat to their personal safety.

AAA’s advice when confronted with road rage or aggressive driving: “Don’t engage.” AAA spokeswoman Tamra Johnson said relatively trivial incidents sometimes balloon into more serious altercations.

“People need to keep their emotions in check,” Johnson told USA TODAY. “Don’t offend, don’t engage that driver in anger.”

Contributing: Steve Reilly


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Road rage beating of teen gets man 5 years

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — A 35-year-old Council Bluffs man has been sentenced to five years in prison for beating, choking and kicking a teenager after their vehicles collided.

Ryan Linehan was sentenced Monday. He had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of willful injury.
According to prosecutors, Linehan was driving in Council Bluffs just before midnight on April 25 when he struck a pickup after cutting it off. Police say the driver of the pickup, 15-year-old Joe Sturm of Crescent, Iowa, pulled over and got out of his car.

According to authorities, Linehan also stopped and attacked the teenager by choking him until he was unconscious, then put him down on the street and punched and kicked him. A friend of Sturm’s had been driving two vehicles behind him and recorded the incident on his cellphone.

(From the Argus Leader)

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Comments on a recent deadly Road Rage incident

I was asked by the media in Michigan to comment on the recent Road Rage shooting in their state:

Here is the article from the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

Here is the article from the Detroit Free Press.

For more about Anger and Road Rage, please visit my Website, DrNemerovski.com .



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Are you guilty….?

…of these anger-inducing driving habits?

[Click here for USA Today link]

This is a great piece on how many driving habits can trigger anger and #RoadRage in other drivers. Yes, each of us can CAUSE #RoadRage. Be careful…and considerate…out there!

-Dr. Road Rage.

(for more about Road Rage and my work, visit: Dr. Road Rage’s Website

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This is a great piece on how #RoadRage can spread like a wildfire from one driver to another–or even a passenger. Great suggestions for how to manage one’s behavior when “infected with irrationality” and the intense motivation for revenge.

-Dr. Road Rage.

(for more about Road Rage and my work, visit: http://drroadrage.com)

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Texting while driving and tailgating…oh my!

(from USA Today, May 19, 2014)

Texting while driving and tailgating are the behaviors most likely to elicit road rage from other motorists, the 2014 Road Rage Report from travel site Expedia finds.

Some 69% of drivers surveyed rated those who text behind the wheel as the worst of the worst for rudeness — or being an outright threat — in traffic. Next comes the ever-present tailgater at 60%; multitaskers who try to pile on several activities at once besides driving at 54%, those who drift out of their lane at 43% and slow pokes,at 39%.

Some 69% of those surveyed say they have been “flipped off” by a fellow motorist. Only 17% say they have delivered the obscene gesture to other drivers, the survey of 1,001 drivers found. Expedia says the survey has an error rate of plug or minus 3.1%.

“As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day sees a huge spike in the number of drivers on the road,” says John Morrey, Expedia.com’s general manager, in a statement. “The rule, as with airplanes and hotels, is that shared spaces demand decorum and attentiveness.”

The list of bad traffic behavior isn’t limited to texting, tailgating and the others. The survey also excoriates what it terms:

•The Swerver (failing to signal before changing lanes or turning):


•The Left-Lane Hog (drivers who occupy the passing lane without moving):


•The Inconsiderate (those who do not let others merge):


•The Speeder (driving well past the speed limit at length):


•The Honker (drivers who slam the horn at will):


•The Unappreciative (drivers who do not give a wave or gesture of thanks):


•The Red Light Racer (drivers who inch ever closer to the light when red):



[Visit www.drnemerovski.com for more about me and my psychotherapy practice]

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Aristotle on Anger

“Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way–that is not within everybody’s power; that is not easy.”

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