University of Alberta Press

Book details

Publication date: October 2008
Features: Foreword, index
Keywords: Criminology / Sociology
Subject(s): SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology, Criminology, Sociology, Criminology / Sociology
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

J. Peter Rothe. A widely published scholar, Peter Rothe has a rich background in analysing the social behaviour engaged in risk, safety, and injury. He has directed major qualitative research studies in traffic safety, education, trucking, criminology, health, injury control, counselling, First Nations, and gerontology. Dr. Rothe is presently a Senior Research Associate and Associate Professor with the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research at the University of Alberta.

Leon James.

"'I always considered driving on the roadway to be like the window to society,' [Rothe] said. 'What happens on the roadway magnifies what happens in the community. All the features of living in the community get played out in driving.' Rothe said there is no doubt that vehicular violence continues to increase, but hopes to see more awareness campaigns, education, and research on the topic to try to curb the level of violence. He also recommends that drivers protect themselves by obeying the rules of the road, avoiding confrontation, and staying away from aggressors." Clara Ho, Sun Media, January 30, 2009


"Most people think of guns and knives when talking about weapons, but cars are being used in a number of violent acts says University of Alberta researcher Peter Rothe. Rothe combines six years of research in his analysis of vehicles as weapons in his new book Driven to Kill, which looks at acts of intentional violence. He spent hours going through databases in Canada and the United States and read provincial Supreme Court files, medical examiner files, historical policy reports and media reports during the course of his research. "I was trying to illustrate, in a numerical and statistical form wherever possible, the existence of violence [while] at the same time, try to keep it human by going through the various reports," said Rothe. His book has a number of first-hand tales from victims and victimizers.... The numbers are staggering in a variety of categories, Rothe says. Police have had enough interactions to understand how vehicles are being used as weapons, but it was a real eye opener for him." Quinn Phillips, Folio, February 2, 2009


"But most importantly, with his book Rothe hopes to demonstrate how commonplace automobile violence has become. Everyday occurrences such as road rage and intentional property destruction illustrate, for him, the profound connection between our automotive society and violent acts. 'This isn't just a concept out there. We don't know what goes through the heads of other drivers. This can happen to anyone at any time' Rothe warned. But despite the slew of negative light shed on the automobile and its history by Driven to Kill, Rothe hasn't set out to demonize motor vehicles. In fact, it's the fraught and complex relationship we have with our transportation that has forced him to look deeper to our own relationship with violence as an explanation. 'Social stress underlies so much of how we interact on the roadway, which leads to road rage and other violent acts in the same way that underlying economic stress can lead to car thefts,' Rothe concluded." - Sean Steels, The Gateway, p.5, vol. XCIX no. 38


"From the opening pages of his provocative and meticulous examination of roadway violence, [Rothe] questions the popular assumption of 'vehicle violence as naturally occurring traffic safety accidents or normal events.' He reframes vehicular violence as a major public health issue, with ramifications that go far beyond isolated motor vehicle crashes.... His passion for public safety manifests itself in systematic research and iconoclastic thinking, particularly with regard to the symbolic meanings that motor vehicles have for North Americans. Driven to Kill took five years to write.... Stylistically, the book is a hybrid -- part journalism, part scholarly analysis. By heightening the documentary quality of the book, Rothe hopes to reach as wide an audience as possible. To emphasize the pervasive socio-cultural elements of vehicular violence, his research materials included accounts from print media and the Internet, court case transcripts and medical examiners' files. The stories may be sensationalized by the press, but Rothe's analysis is incisive and his arguments dispassionate. He is determined to raise public awareness and challenge contemporary vehicle ideology.... The road ahead is long. Rothe is a good companion for the journey." Vincent Hanlon, MD, Canadian Medical Association Journal, August 31, 2009


"Rothe doesn't just discuss how people use cars to hit people or property, whether intentionally or not; he also goes to great lengths to talk about how cars feature in other criminal acts like sexual assaults, abductions, gang warfare, acts of terrorism, suicides and murders.... [Driven to Kill] is an interesting read and a timely one too.... [T]here's no time like the present to become more aware of the weapons on the roads and the killers behind the wheels." Scott Hayes, St. Albert Gazette, July 11, 2009


"Full of useful information, the author obviously spent quite a bit of time researching the issue of vehicles as weapons. Anyone involved in traffic safety will tell you the average vehicle is equal to a 2,400 pound torpedo, capable of doing a great amount of damage. Used the wrong way to intentionally harm someone, that torpedo can quickly become a rocket streaking down the highway. Rothe looks at the damage that can be done when a vehicle is out of control, but he also examines other ways a car can be used to commit crimes. I found the book very educational and it did, indeed, expand my knowledge of this topic. The chapters are very well arranged to make it easy to follow. Plus, he adds some interesting stories -although some may be a bit graphic for sensitive readers. I would recommend this book to anyone who deals with traffic on a regular basis, such as police officers. The insights gained could save a life." Luann Morgan [Full review at http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/2009/11/green-books-campaign-driven-to-kill.html


"Rothe said there is no doubt that vehicular violence continues to increase, but hopes to see more awareness campaigns, education, and research on the topic to try to curb the level of violence. He also recommends that drivers protect themselves by obeying the rules of the road, avoiding confrontation, and staying away from aggressors." The Canadian Press, January 30, 2009


"When humanity develops a new technology, it seems one of the first things they do is figure out how to use it as a weapon. Driven to Kill: Vehicles as Weapons chronicles the use of the automobile as a weapon in crime, outlining how automobiles have enabled such crime to occur in the past century. While the car has enabled much societal progress, it was and is not without cost. An utterly fascinating and excellent read, Driven to Kill is a top pick for an addition to community library true crime collections." Midwest Book Review, June 16, 2009


"Combing through databases here and in the U.S. - as well as studying provincial Supreme Court files, medical examiner files, historical policy reports and media reports-Rothe found some disturbing motor vehicle findings, including the fact that a vehicle is the number one place in which sexual assaults occur (25 percent of all reported sexual assaults)." new trail, Spring 2009

ISBNs: 9780888644879 978-0-88864-487-9 Title: driven to kill