Killers on the Road: Driving's Link to Violence
The alleged mass shooting by a driver in Michigan shows how little we know about the effects of long-term driving on humans.
The lone guy in a car, cruising a quiet city at night. Gunshots at a playground, a car dealership, and a parking lot near an interstate on-ramp. The story of the Kalamazoo shootings seems more like a movie than other recent high-profile crimes. This might be related to the alleged shooter’s job as a professional driver: The concept of the taxi-driver-killer makes a kind of intuitive sense to some of us, because we’ve become so used to associating our car-centric culture with violence.
There are logical reasons for this. Research shows that driving changes how we think. In his book Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt summarizes psychological research on what happens to us behind the wheel: Driving renders us anonymous and deprives us of the