A 36-year history of fatal road rage in Marion County, Oregon: 1963-1998

J Forensic Sci. 2000 Mar;45(2):397-9.


This paper documents the 36-year history, with five examples, of fatal road rage in Marion County, Oregon. Relevant details (all that were available) from each case are presented. Alcohol intoxication was present in four of our five cases. We include two deaths by gunshot at close range, two deaths as a result of a motor vehicle traffic accident, and one natural death. All subjects were males. Three were Caucasian and two were Hispanic. The three subjects in Cases 1, 2 and 3 were complete strangers to the occupants of the other involved vehicles. The subjects in Cases 4 and 5 (along with the occupants of their own vehicles) were acquaintances of the occupants of the involved vehicle. There appears to be no previous forensic, medical or psychiatric literature on road rage as such. We present an initial psychiatric evaluation of the perpetrators of this type of fatal assault. There are no specific statutes in Oregon, at the state or county levels, regarding road rage. However, the city of Gresham, Oregon, recently enacted an ordinance regarding road rage. We stress the need for further study of this phenomenon, especially through the use of the psychological-psychiatric autopsy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors