Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bullying about road rage

Yesterday, I asked for statistics about the growth of road rage. So far, I haven't seen any (if you have some, please post here or on yesterday's post). But I have a theory and the theory is related to road rage. Let me explain.

Sometime in 1987 or 1988, some news reporters on TV coined the phrase "road rage" to describe the anger some drivers felt towards other drivers. AAA talked about how bad it was and called for investigations. Psychologists searched for reasons to explore the phenomenon. And police officers dutifully began reporting it when they saw it.

Road rage was real, but did these TV reporters create the wave that spread? Not just by encouraging copycats, (which they did) but also by reporting on something that had been there all along. The term didn't exist in 1986, so the statistical count was zero. The number of reported incidents incidents had no where to go but up. (for more on this media invention see here)

So, are we seeing the same thing with bullying? Certainly it is real and has been around a LONG time. But are we 1) creating copycats and 2) counting a problem we never counted before? Doesn't change the seriousness of it and I for one am glad parents are aware of it, but it doesn't make it a national problem.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I must have missed something - I didn't see and can't find a post about road rage.

Randy said...

Glenn, you can click on the word "here" in the blogpost.

Also it's at

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

OH, okay!

As for personal experience of driving in over 40 of the 50 states since 1970, I think people are much more impatient and much more aggressive than they used to be, as well as more angry. I think it's more and more a part of the "me" culture which has been growing over the past couple decades especially.