Princess Diana
Is it the Road Rage Incident of the Century?
Day 3
Continued...

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Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <340c2d97.72c@pennine.com>
Newsgroups: soc.culture.british

Don't be so bloody silly. You are in denial, a stage in the grieving process. Why are you Americans so quick to adopt conspiracy theories. I suppose Di and Dodi are sharing an island with Marilyn and Elvis.

David, you ought to read the message header before making stupid assumptions about a poster's nationality.


Newsgroups: soc.culture.british
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 05:11:50 GMT
Organization: Subscriber, Pacific Internet, Singapore
Message-ID: <5ueiq7$h7j$1@newton.pacific.net.sg>
NNTP-Posting-Host: dyn70ppp63.pacific.net.sg

The conspiracy freaks seem to have crawled out from all corners of the globe. There is even a German who has been arrested for stalking Diana posting "theories" here.


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <340c5d25.152649262@news.portal.ca>
Newsgroups: alt.lawyers,alt.business.offshore,aus.legal,can.legal,misc.legal,uk.legal,us.legal

They [condolence messages] can be posted directly to http://www.royal.gov.uk/ without the help of an ambulance chaser.


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <19970902002700.uaa16328@ladder02.news.aol.com>
Newsgroups: rec.sport.skating.ice.figure

I have to say that being stalked by the paparazzi must feel like being the fox in a fox hunt. No wonder Diana hated them...she lived it. There are many things that contributed to this accident...fear, alcohol, harrassment and 16 years of being stalked and having the most innocent moments of your life twisted. Famous people can't hg their brothers without the tabloids screaming incest.

To say Diana had a hand in her own death is cruel. I daresay she would never have gotten into that car if she knew the driver had been drinking. Who knows that they weren't trying to get the driver to slow down? The fact remains though, that if the paparazzi had left them alone there would have been no chase and more than likely no wreck. This we may never know. What we do know is how the paparazzi acted immediately after the accident, which was in a horrendous way, taking pictures of the dead and dying instead of helping, and screaming at the people who were trying to help that they were 'ruining their shots'.


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <19970902041701.aaa28658@ladder01.news.aol.com>
Newsgroups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

Limbaugh will criticize Princess Di and her entourage for getting into the car that tragic night, attempting to shift the negative focus onto Princess Diana herself.

"Why, he was drunk! She knew it! She shouldn't have gotten into the car knowing he was drunk! It was partially her own fault! Why is everybody so "weepy-whiney" over her? What has she ever done? Hmmm? Did she ever make fun of the Mary Jo Kopeckni situation? Did she ever play, over and over, parodies of the same old Clinton jokes? Did she ever fail at doing a TV show, err, uhm, forget that one .... This just goes to show you how far down America has gone, praising that Princess babe instead of *me*!!"

Listen for it, expect it, it will happen.


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <340b5c62.2ab5@dynamite.com.au>
Newsgroups: rec.motorcycles

You know if the Princess of Wales calls the cops they're gonna get there asap! Ever had to call a French cop? What really sucks is,she died so a picture would'nt get taken.The fault lies with the driver,i've seen people walk out of a 140 series Benz after multiple high speed rolls,you would really have to concentrate to do that much damage to your passengers.

my 2c

Turn it...what?....down? I hate to mention it, but straight from www.cnn.com: "Prosecuter: Diana's driver had 'criminal' blood alcohol level"

So what? Ever ridden drunk? I have...haven't fallen off yet...although I don't do it any more... I am a freelance photographer and motorcyclist and what those guys have been doing and did to this wonderful example of humanity was in no way excusable whatsoever, I'm not talking about just her death, I'm talking about the last 18 years...She had a right to her own life...I know that is someone followed me around with a camera all day and all night I'd jam it where the sun don't shine...


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <5ufmq8$a9h@gsms01.alcatel.com.au>
Newsgroups: uk.transport,rec.autos.driving

DrDriving wrote: Everyone knows about Diana's death by now. Diana's driver is primarily at fault. Being followed by photographers is no excuse for driving at 120 mph. However, the photographers greatly contributed by encouraging the recklessness by following behind at an equally great rate of speed.

From the information I have seen:
1. The driver was DUI.
2. All those killed where NOT wearing seatbelts.
3. The only survivor was buckled up in the front passenger seat.
4. The car didn't hit the center pylons (sp?) at 200km/h.
Looks like there was some very poor judgement being used in that car on that night. Unfortunately, it cost 3 people their lives. Let's hope it can be used as an example of what not to do in a car.


Date: 1997/09/02
Message-Id: <873241517.25413@dejanews.com>
Newsgroups: alt.journalism.criticism

Thank you for expressing so well my feelings about blaming the press for Diana's death! The princess chose to live a "high" life. She chose to allow the driver to speed in order to evade the paparazzi. She was a caring person, but I think we need to look at her whole life and not put her on too high a pedestal.

This rant is absurd. There is no way that pictures of Princess Diana would be worth $200,000, unless she was partially nude. But that would be an unusual case indeed. I've read in a few newsgroups already this strange idea that the paparazzi are somehow responsible for this accident. The only person responsible for that accident was the person driving the car. It was ridiculous to attempt to outrun the photographers, and the Princess and her friend should have just allowed them to take pictures of their moving vehicle and been done with it. Fame is what makes them what they are. Fayed was in some part drawn to the princess because of her fame.

Fame is what gives these people their appeal and their power. To be sought after in the press is part of the prestige, and it is all part of an upward spiral: The more the press hounds a figure, the more famous the figure becomes; the more famous the figure becomes, the more the press pursues the figure. If they don't want the press to follow them, quit creating events to get publicity, the photo-ops and so on. The rich and famous can't expect the press to be like a cosset, to be called close when needed, then pushed away when their desire for publicity is satisfied.

Most ridiculous is this sudden idea that laws need to be passed to protect the famous from the press. No way. This was an accident, and I don't want it being used by some people to take a swipe at the free press. People earn a living off the fame of others, which is fair in my book, since the famous become what they are because of their special appeal. That appeal belongs to the public because the famous use that appeal on the public for their private gain. The famous are well compensated for their sacrifices, and they get no sympathy from me.

Most of them chose the life they are living. True, Princess Diana is a bit different, but she DID seek those photo-ops, just like movie stars, getting behind this issue or that issue, using her fame as influence. And she lived very well while she did these things. I say that she, too, was well compensated for her the loss of some of her privacy.

People need to calm down, stop being so extreme. This accident shouldn't spur the passing of laws to protect the privacy of the famous. This was an accident caused by someone driving too fast. The paparazzi did not cause the accident, though they may be factored into it in the margins. It wasn't necessary to outrun them. The person driving made the decision.

People who drive for famous people are bound by the same laws of physics as the rest of us, and have to pay the same consequences when they break those laws. It was stupid to drive that car that fast. That's all there is to it.

Princess Diana was a very nice lady. By making this more than the tragic accident it was, we will in the end cheapen the tragedy by sensationalizing it. Let's not do that. Let's feel our grief as bluntly and as simply as possible.

I've just awoke to the news that Princess Diana has died of internal injuries from her automobile accident in Paris, where she and her friend Dodi Fayed were trying to escape the paparazzi photographers riding on motorcycles, pursuing her car with the intent of taking a photograph of her. These photographs, if taken, would be worth possibly $200,000 125,000) or more to tabloid/trash newspapers who would pay for the rights to publish them. This is an outrage.


Date: 1997/08/31
Message-Id: <3409920d.569736217@news.hal-pc.org>
Newsgroups: soc.retirement

Did the Royal Family, tired of the embarrassing questions by and conduct of the Princess have her eliminated? Was it done by secret intelligence officers using the paparazzi as convenient cover?

Did a group of rightwing monarchists do it? Will the French special terrorist unit assigned to investigate the death investigate or participate in a cover up?

Will questions like these be allowed in the British press or will Britains notorious censorship come into play? = These questions are from a talk show less than 24 hours after the tragic accident.


Date: 1997/08/31
Message-Id: <5ucd4p$qnc@freenet-news.carleton.ca>
Newsgroups: soc.retirement

Did the Royal Family, tired of the embarrassing questions by and conduct of the Princess have her eliminated?

= These questions are from a talk show less than 24 hours after the tragic accident.

That those questions are even raised is almost as tragic as the terrible events in Paris. It is a manifestation of the sick conspiratorial minds that pervade some of the media today. Sick, sick, sick! It is part of the problem and goes nowhere towards settling anything. But it is the kind of stuff that goes a long way toward encouraging other sick people to justify in their own warped minds blowing up government buildings, such as we saw Oklahoma City.

I suspect Dodi and Diana if they could now reflect, would now find the price they paid far too great just to avoid the voracious "tabs" and their irrisponsible paperazzi, and a few crappy photographs taken by small minded insensitive people through the window of a speeding car at night.


Date: 1997/08/31
Message-Id: <340a2602.e1f@pobox.com>
Newsgroups: soc.retirement

Did a group of rightwing monarchists do it? (snip)

Oh give me a break!! Everyone is blaming it on the paperazzi. What about the ass hole that was behind the wheel of her car doing 100 mph in downtown Paris. What if their car had side swiped another car and killed a family of five or so. Anyone who drives over _twice_ the speed limit has no sympathy from me.

But look at the bright side. She joins the list of beautiful people who died young and will always be remembered forever young: Marilyn, Princess Grace, James Dean, Valentino, JFK etc.


Date: 1997/09/01
Message-Id: <340b5068.41e1@worldnet.att.net>
Newsgroups: soc.retirement

For what it's worth ... that merc 650 would have to have accelerated from about about zero to 127 in aabout a quarter of a mile, if his route, as shown by the Times today, can be accepted. This sound about right to you-all who know about such things? It was my impression that an armored Mercedes is not great on acceleration, though once you're on the autobahn ...

Dan Rather tonight repeated the figure, but was vague about who found the speedometer "frozen" at that figure, or what "frozen" means, under the collision conditions that demolished the dashboard.

He reported the driver had the equivalent of a litre of wine in him, but after about 2:00 pm of any day in the week, virtually every cabbie in Paris has a litre of rouge in, cut with another litre of minerale.

About all you can say is, he was going too fast, lost it, folded it. Having been there, I'd say the average speed in those river tunnels is about 50-65 mph, which is the point of the exercise ... to avoid poking along the surface road any more than you have to. The trouble is, the tunnels aren't very long, and when you come up, there's the traffic again, bumper to bumper.

A photographer who would use a flash on a speeding car should have his flash bulbs cut off.


Date: 1997/09/01
Message-Id:
Newsgroups: soc.retirement

Oh give me a break!! Everyone is blaming it on the paparazzi. What about the ass hole that was behind the wheel of her car doing 100 mph in

Kilometers , not MPH and that was only a guesstimate by people standing on the street, always unreliable. It was the American reporters who changed kilometers to MPH.

Just heard on our (BBC) news here that the vehicle may have been travelling at an estimated 197kph, or around 122mph.. (127mph US?). The vehicle was an 'armoured' Merc, (therefore heavier and possibly slightly less agile?). The driver apparently had twice the French /criminal/ limit of blood alchohol... ie., three times the French legal limit.

It looks as if the driver, who had been 'off- duty' and possibly not expecting to drive, was pulled-in at the last minute while the official driver used the nominated vehicle to decoy most of the paparazzi who had descended looking for their 'scalps'. Further reported by witnesses that one of the paparazzi motorbike crews, (driver and camera operator), had been weaving about in front of the Merc in an attempt to slow it down for the others to grab their pics....

We'll have to wait for the French to conclude their official investigation and report... Sounds like it might be a combination of unfortunate and, in hindsight avoidable, circumstances with a tragic outcome.... perhaps an outcome just waiting to happen...

One wonders if Press Owners/Editors refused to pay totally overblown amounts for what are usually trivial and highly ephemeral pics, the shoals of carniverous paparazzi would possibly disappear overnight...


Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 00:56:05 -1000
To: Leon James
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving,dc.driving,uk.transport

Leon James wrote: In this case the alcohol is not a sufficient explanation:

Outside of the fact that 'the alcohol' does not include any mention of road rage... pray tell, why not?

the driver was ego-involved if it's true that he taunted the photographers who were in pursuit.

This makes it 'road bravado', not 'road rage', I believe.

A real, down to earth, awful case of road rage.

Please tell us how you came to this conclusion. The facts as I know them are:

1) Intoxication at BAC .17. 2) A reported statement of bravado ('catch me if you can') I fail to see the necessity of 'anger' (rage = intense anger, last I checked) in either of these; please inform us where a display of anger is indicated without having to impute motive or emotion. (why do I get the feeling this will go unanswered?)


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 06:16:44 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

So we'd agree on driver preparedness again, but I gotta tell you there's more than driver training that goes into whether or not a driver is up to his speed or some action. It's his condition and attitude, too. And just plain humaness. To say that such-and-such a speed is fine for this-and-that road with this-and-that car and a driver with super-mucho training ignores that said perfect mechanical situation is compromised if the driver is upset, tired, overconfident, or distracted, or just plain human. At very high speeds, just straining to hear the lyrics of a new song on the radio can be too distracted. Forget cell phones and hair-combing and all that..

I know that the driver's state of mind is extremely important. Once again, that's where good judgement is essential. For example, I try to assess my mental state whenever I get into my car.

Some days, I'm "on": my reflexes are crisp, my awareness is good, and I feel "dialed in" to the car. On those days, I may drive more vigorously than usual. On other days, I'm not "on": my mental focus is just not sufficient to support spririted driving. So I drive much more conservatively, and increase my safety margins (e.g. following distance).

IMHO, it is the driver's *responsibility* to assess his mental state, and adjust his driving accordingly. I do not think that suggested/posted speeds should be set to make it "safe" for drivers with impaired judgement (in part because an impaired driver is potentially dangerous at any speed).

[...]but again going back to where we started I really don't think people believe "speed kills" means that they're golden at below the posted limit.

Are you sure? Why else would someone read a book or newspaper on the highway? Why do so many people seem to think it's OK to devote so much of their attention away from driving as long as they're "not going too fast"? Why do people try to drive at the posted limit on ice-covered roads?

No, I think the "speed kills" message works to convince stupid people that their responsibility as drivers is largely fulfilled if they don't "speed". Since safety zealots like to define "speeding" in terms of the posted limit, their idiot followers feel like they're safe if they're driving below the posted limit.

I'm serious: "Speed Kills" is a stupid message. If drivers learn good judgement, it will be *obvious* that excessive speed is dangerous, and more importantly, they'll know how to *determine* whether their speed is excessively high (or low).

See, you're always talking about good drivers with good judgement, etc., etc. But that's just not what I see out there. [...]

Then it's about time that people receive the message that driving skill is important, and good judgement is essential. It seems to me that the Speed Kills choir is ignoring people (incompetent drivers) who are *certain and constant* safety hazards, to rail against others (fast drivers) who *sometimes* pose a safety risk.


Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 23:40:35 -0500
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

DrDriving wrote: Everyone knows about Diana's death by now. Diana's driver is primarily at fault. Being followed by photographers is no excuse for driving at 120 mph. However, the photographers greatly contributed by encouraging the recklessness by following behind at an equally great rate of speed.

Another comments: Oh, but doncha know. The speeders posting here all tell us that speed doesn't kill....

Speed doesn't kill, the idiot that doesn't know what he's doing while going that fast does. Plus, he was DRUNK.


Date: 3 Sep 1997 10:19:09 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

so my question is what is the chance of an accident by a trained driver who is semi-drunk (.05-.08) versus a untrained normal driver? Would Jeff Gordon's chance of an accident increase by 500% over a normal driver when he was drunk? Or would his natural ability/instinct give him a much larger margin for error?

First, Di's driver had a BAC of 0.23. I help teach an advanced driving course (to police officers, troopers, "others"). The school once did a demonstration for the press. Three of the instructors performed an exercise at their limit and the limit of the car (i.e. no one could do it better -- the car was maxed out).

Two of the drivers then proceeded to "get drunk" and during their journey into la la land, their driving skills were monitored while doing the same exercise at the same speed. Surprisingly, one of the drivers got marginally "better" after a couple of drinks, but his and the other driver's performance went down hill very quickly after that. Not so surprising was that they "felt" they were doing ok, even after the cars did some dramatic spin outs. Alcohol effects all of us differently -- some have a higher threshold than others because of size and physical condition. But, the bottom line is that no one is immune to its effects. Di's driver, at 0.23 (U. S. figure - French is 0.175) was probably staggering drunk and speech impaired, and very possibly seeing double.


Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 10:27:41 +0100
Newsgroups: uk.transport, rec.autos.driving

Reports via CNN Interactive have referred to it as an S280. Has anyone officially stated what the car was?

Mercedes Benz themselves, on their web site http://www.mercedes- benz.com/e/news/0109.htm, confirm it was an S280.


Date: 3 Sep 1997 12:06:55 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

Where has this myth come from that this was a 120MPH impact ? OK The speedometer said 120MPH at rest, but throw your kitchen clock at the wall at 120MPH at 06:00 and I can guarantee you, it won't say 06:00 for long ! Any Clock or intrument maker will tell you that these are extremely fragile and intricate devices and how anyone can draw the conclusion that the final resting place of the needle is the final impact speed is beyond me.


Date: 3 Sep 1997 19:02:36 +0300
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving
[The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set] [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set] [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]

Actually, this is exactly what is happening. I had posted before that the BAC was only .065%, but that is what the legal limit in France converts to. So, the conversion to .23 is accurate, (.2275 to be exact)

What they do in France is measure the quantity of alcohol in your system at a given time, while we convert that to be a percentage of your blood.

To simplify things: Let's assume that the driver weighed 175lbs. He had 0.186% of alcohol in his blood which means that he had drunk a lot, equivalent of over 1 bottles of wine or over ten bottles of beer. (...probably more, as he wasn't drinking _while_ driving)

I wouldn't imagine myself even thinking about driving in that kind of condition - I've tried that once (on a closed track in a test) and that was downright horrible, I couldn't drive worth shit or even think clearly, despite that I'm somewhat used to alcohol (a sixpack and a bottle of single malt is about right for me in 'wet' parties ;*) and driving is a second nature to me. I hope we all learned a lesson about drunk driving.


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 18:01:12 GMT
Newsgroups: uk.transport, rec.autos.driving

See the website for the answer from Mercedes http://www.mercedes-benz.com/e/news/0109.htm

Which states:

Stuttgart, September 1st The Daimler-Benz Group offered to assist Paris police on Sunday by providing a team of experts to help investigate the accident that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi al-Fayed and their driver. Contrary to previous reports, the vehicle involved in the accident was not an S 600, but an S 280. However, the safety concept in both vehicles is identical. At present, Daimler-Benz only has access to information from the media, which is why a statement pertaining to the accident is not possible at this time. Irrespective of this, safety experts classify this type of accident, i.e. a head-on collision with an immovable obstruction at high speed, as "catastrophic". According to all currently available information, that appears to be what happened in this case because the media is reporting that the vehicle was traveling at extremely high speed. An accident of this type releases immense forces of inertia which are several times higher than the design limits for all vehicles or mandatory safety guidelines around the world.

Comment: I can see a S280 for a hotel limo, but not for an armor plated car. Could those reports be wrong?


From leon@hawaii.edu Wed Sep 3 11:05:39 1997
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 20:31:16 -1000
From: Leon James
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport, dc.driving, phl.transportation, soc.culture.malaysia

It seems that Dr. Driving's original hypothesis seems even more likely now than when I first proposed the idea, barely 6 hours after the terrible tragedy: obviously a case of road rage. Here is P.J.'s response (among several that were posted in this thread):

"Dr. Driving" wrote: Some people may not agree that this crash was due to road rage. We'll see the various comments. However, in my view, the road rage category applies here because (a) her car was being chased by photoraphers; (b) her driver (also killed), was participating in this chase by trying to get away. (who can blame him...)

response:
Don't bother mentioning that the driver was intoxicated. That would have no bearing on the incident.

At this point my hypothesis has become a near certainty. Everyone is beginning to recognize it in the media. The Honolulu Advertiser's headline this afternoon: 'Catch me if you can' which is attributed to the driver responding to the paparazzi when he came near them. So off he goes (of course he was ALSO allegedly legally drunk! as we we have heard) and a crazy chase ensues -- the allegedly drunk, crazed driver racing it out with a bunch of crazed motorcyclists, who when they get there, allegedly spend their time taking photos instead of rendering assistance.

All of this makes it, in my book, the road rage incident of the century. And the unravelling is only beginning now. To me it shows one more piece of evidence that road rage is a general phenomenon that needs to be contained by educational and other methods. All drivers have the potential of acting under the fury of road rage when the right set of circumstances occur. This is serious. Leon James (aka Dr. Driving)


From leon@hawaii.edu Wed Sep 3 11:05:55 1997
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 20:38:09 -1000
From: Leon James
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport, dc.driving, phl.transportation, soc.culture.malaysia

Are you all still hung up on this road rage crap. It now appears the driver's motive for fast driving was not rage, but ego, that is, if it is true as reported by news that he stated something like, "Catch me if you can" to reporters nearby. That kind of reminds me of kids (when I was a kid) who pitted cars against one another in the egotistical "drag race".

JUST THE OPPOSITE is the case!!

The driver's motive, you say, was his "ego" similar to the "egotistical drag race" kids might engage in (such as yourself when you were a kid).

Well, that's precisely what road rage is! Road rage incidents occur because of a clash between two egos. If you want to see more of this argument demonstrated, please go see my chapter on the Social Psychology of Driving at: http://www.aloha.net/~dyc/ch11.html Leon James (aka Dr. Driving)


From leon@hawaii.edu Wed Sep 3 11:06:13 1997
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 20:48:16 -1000
From: Leon James
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, dc.driving, uk.transport

You can see why I raise this issue as a road rage issue. I think we need to discuss it, and hopefully, debunk it.

And BPutchat responds: By gosh we sure do! Thank you Stuart Smalley!

It's now clearer than at the beginning that this was indeed an obvious road rage tragedy, I say it's the road rage tragedy of the century -- and it should help us re-focus seriously on the fact that road rage is a potential with every driver. In this case the alcohol is not a sufficient explanation: the driver was ego-involved if it's true that he taunted the photographers who were in pusuit. A real, down to earth, awful case of road rage. Watch out: you can have road rage if you do not change your aggressive attitudes.

As I said: we need training in emotional intelligence to overcome the awful possibilities we face on highways every day. Leon James (aka Dr. Driving)

 


From dyc@drdriving.org Wed Sep 3 11:06:25 1997
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 02:41:08 -0600
From: "Dr. Driving"
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

Vote time: Who looks dumber? Dr. Driving trying to pin this on his crusade, or our Deutchphile friend demonstrating how superior German cars are, since only three of four occupants were killed in a Mercedes accident -- and the trunk of the car remained recognizeable! E-mail me the votes, and I'll post a summary.

One of the *unbelted* occupants survived for several hours after the crash. The car rolled several times and then struck an immovable object at high speed. I have difficulty believing that any other make of car would have provided the occupants with better protection.

Don't vote too soon! It turns out my diagnosis of this being a road rage case looks more and more likely as the hours pass by! Leon James (visit "Dr. Driving" at http://www.aloha.net/~dyc) Take care, and Drive with Aloha spirit!!


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 10:20:12 +0100
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport, soc.culture.malaysia

Leon James wrote: The driver obviously had a case of road rage to drive this aggressively to kill the Princess and her

No, you are misapplying the term road rage. The driver may have suffered from the condition known as "red mist" (concentration on a goal leading to excessive risk taking) or he may have been drunk and driving beyond his competence for the type of car, road and speed. Even if he was taking excessive risks for "sport", this would not be road rage. Road rage is a term applied to an aggressive response to a driving incident or perceived incident.

It would seem that you wish to widen the term "road rage" beyond its understood scope. I trust that you will fail, because should you succeed we will lose yet another perfectly good term to the amorphous mass of generic terms and will thus have to coin some new term to describe what we currently understand as road rage.

How do you explain the chances he took?? Justified to escape the camera flashes????

The chances were apparently inexcusable (but when the facts emerge I suspect they will be mitigated in two ways:

1. I believe his speed will be shown to be closer to 70 or 80mph at the time of the accident, judging by the crash damage. Indeed that amount of crash damage could be caused at 50 or 60 mph.

2. The handling characteristics of the car will perhaps be shown to have contributed to the accident)

BTW: nothing in the above implies excusing the phogoraphers who were aggressive, had road rage (chasing a car and causing it to crash!,

No the photographers were merely greedy. They were doing a job for which they are well payed.

If they are shown to have contributed to the crash then they will be guilty of manslaughter in French law, but not road rage. They were not responding to a driving incident or perceived incident. All the best,


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 10:29:08 +0100
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport

Leon James wrote: In this case we're discussing the idea that the driver made a HUGE mistake in having the goal of escaping the photographers! And then of doing so by speeding so dangerously that he killed everyone in a crash!! This error of judgment must be acknowledged. Then, after you acknowledged it, you can consider what the driver's motives may have been, and whether he was not driving in a rage against the photographers. Don't you agree?

Not at all. Road rage (as I wrote elsewhere) is the aggressive response to a driving incident or perceived incident. Blocking a vehicle from passing is road rage because the response is an aggresive one against a driver who is speeding (or considered to be speeding). There are many other such examples, but in every accepted example of road rage the anger is a response to a perceived driving incident.

*IF* it was shown that the driver was trying to ram a photographer who got in his way then we would agree that this is a road rage incident, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a view. It is much more likely that the driver was driving beyond his competency because of impairment or an incorrect goal.

Incidentally, have you revised your web site yet to remove those inaccurate road rage figures about UK drivers? All the best,


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 14:36:05 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport, dc.driving, phl.transportation, soc.culture.malaysia

I don't believe the car rolled, the roof was mangled by rescuers.

The re-creation I saw on network news showed the car hitting the outside of the tunnel, flipping and then moving towards the center of the tunnel while rolling several times. Of course, network news has been known to be wrong before. They didn't claim that the re- creation was based on eyewitness accounts. But it certainly seemed possible to me, given the contours of the road and the speed at which they were traveling.

Yeah, i also saw one "re-creation" where the car hits the center column, then actually bounces "back" over it's own tire tracks and hits the wall that it had just passed before hitting the center column. How can Kent Shockneck, local news anchor and car buff actually sit there and report this without going " Hey, who let their kid get on our stations graphics computer?".

I really don't think the car rolled, i saw no scraping on the corners of the car that would certainly be caused by grinding along the pavement at speed. I think the newscasters originally thought it rolled becauset the roof was crumpled.


Date: 3 Sep 1997 15:19:38 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

Leon James wrote: In this case the alcohol is not a sufficient explanation

What? If it was road rage, he would have been pickin' off motorcycles like we would swat a fly. It was alcohol. Stop trying to justify your existence. You say we should talk about this and come to some conclusions when you have already REACHED a conclusion. Doesn't leave much room for talk.


Date: 3 Sep 1997 15:24:09 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

Dr. Dwiving sez about his Woad Wage: all of this makes it, in my book, the road rage incident of the century. And the unravelling is only beginning now. To me it shows one more piece of evidence that road rage is a general phenomenon that needs to be contained by educational and other methods. All drivers have the potential of acting under the fury of road rage when the right set of circumstances occur. This is serious.

Leon, if you were to get into a car after slapping yourself on the back so hard and your sore are caused you to crash the car and kill your passengers, you would probably blame that on road rage too. Stop trying to justify your existence. Continue your trip to Tahiti.


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 18:10:54 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport

*IF* it was shown that the driver was trying to ram a photographer who got in his way then we would agree that this is a road rage incident, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a view. It is much more likely that the driver was driving beyond his competency because of impairment or an incorrect goal.

*IF* a motorcycle was weaving in front of the limo to slow it down, we should also give him a medal, not an indictment for trying to reduce the speed and risk that a blinded drunk driver would kill innocent motorists and pedestrians.


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 18:13:22 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving

Well, well, well. Those of us who said the driver was in over his head have been proven correct and the "road rage theory" crap is exactly that, crap. The driver had twice the legal level of alcohol. Poor judgement (alcohol induced), poor driving skills (alcohol induced) are the blame for the accident. It also appears that neither she nor Dodi were belted in. The body guard in the right front seat WAS and he survived. And only because Diana sat behind him, and not Dodi. Pick you choice by which deadweight you want to be mashed in your seat belt.

This is a silly theory. Look at the photos and see that what harmed the front seat occupants was the force from the front, and that the impact was offset frontal, on the drivers side.

This "back seat passenger mass" theory is cute, but that don't make it founded in reality. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.


Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 18:19:00 GMT
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport

On Tue, 2 Sep 1997 20:48:16 -1000, Leon James wrote: It's now clearer than at the beginning that this was indeed an obvious...

You can tell, as a rule, that when someone makes an argument supported by worlds like "clearly" and "obvious" that he's tap dancing on thin ice.

A giggling teenage speed contest between two vehicles is "road rage" to you, huh? That's about what this was in Paris. Bravado, no physical threat, and drinks all around. Expand your definition too far, and will have no meaning. Just like "speed related."


From leon@hawaii.edu Wed Sep 3 12:00:20 1997
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 11:53:51 -1000
From: Leon James
Newsgroups: rec.autos.driving, uk.transport, soc.culture.malaysia

The driver obviously had a case of road rage to drive this aggressively to kill the Princess and her companion.

responds: No, you are misapplying the term road rage. The driver may have suffered from the condition known as "red mist" (concentration on a goal leading to excessive risk taking) or he may have been drunk and driving beyond his competence for the type of car, road and speed. Even if he was taking excessive risks for "sport", this would not be road rage. Road rage is a term applied to an aggressive response to a driving incident or perceived incident.

I respect your wish to keep semantics apart here. I myself am a professional semanticist (or "applied psycholinguist" as we say in academic circles...go see some of my articles here

So we agree that semantic distinctions around road rage-type behaviors ought to be maintained. In my forthcoming book called Road Rage: Emotional Intelligence for Drivers -- go see here I analyze two dozen different terms for road rage. So, about your problem with:

It would seem that you wish to widen the term "road rage" beyond its understood scope. I trust that you will fail, because should you succeed we will lose yet another perfectly good term to the amorphous mass of generic terms and will thus have to coin some new term to describe what we currently understand as road rage.

Please understand that we are after the psychological mechanisms of road rage. Surely you can see that road rage cannot be just a little thing by itself in the driver's mind. Think of it this way:

What would have prevented Diana's tragic crash? Of course, several things can be picked, the main ones being:

1. driver's alcohol impaired physical state, speeding, and aggressive driving behavior (he must have threatened other cars who were in his way) 2. driver's mental state such as his alleged taunting of those who were pursuing him ("Catch me if you Can"). 3. the photographers on motorcycles who taunted, chased, blocked, pursued, intimidated, and whatever else bad they did like flashing photos in the eyes of the driver, blocking police from getting there, etc.

Now all 3 of these causes involve road rage in some sense. Can you see this? Just think: the driver knew he had been drinking and how much: yet he did not inform anyone and did not disqualify himself. This attitude is a KIND of rage or anger or disdain for others, don't you think? And further, as you quote me:

How do you explain the chances he took?? Justified to escape the camera flashes????

You answer:

The chances were apparently inexcusable (but when the facts emerge I suspect they will be mitigated in two ways: 1. I believe his speed will be shown to be closer to 70 or 80mph at the time of the accident, judging by the crash damage. Indeed that amount of crash damage could be caused at 50 or 60 mph. 2. The handling characteristics of the car will perhaps be shown to have contributed to the accident)

BTW: nothing in the above implies excusing the phogoraphers who were aggressive, had road rage (chasing a car and causing it to crash!, No the photographers were merely greedy. They were doing a job for which they are well payed.

If they are shown to have contributed to the crash then they will be guilty of manslaughter in French law, but not road rage. They were not responding to a driving incident or perceived incident.

As to the photographers, they make me think of a new phrase (careful--don't knock Dr. Driving too soon....), namely,

PAPARAZZI RAGE

which has two definitions (talking about semantics: this is called "comparative semantics"):

1. The rage that tabloid photographers feel and show when pursuing and chasing down people whose intimate photographs are bought and viewed by 30 million people in the US alone. 2. The rage that these photographed and hunted people feel and show when harassed by the photographers who pursue them, including all sorts of dangerous and aggressive behaviors they're pushed into Leon James (aka Dr. Driving)


More heated debating--continued

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