Auto Service World
News   January 29, 2002   by Auto Service World

Group Says Street Racing Film Unsafe at Any Speed

Responding to the recent video release of “The Fast and the Furious,” a U.S. driver training chain wants a new rating system placed on films.
“The Fast and the Furious,” Universal Studios movie, was introduced last summer to some negative publicity as a result of unsafe driving practices featured in the film. The film focuses on the street racing scene and its highly modified sport compact cars. Its recent video release revives concerns about the impact of the media on teen driving behavior and traffic fatalities, says the group.
“We’re living in an age in which vehicle crashes are the largest single cause of death for young people under 25,” says Sebastian Giordano, CEO, Top Driver Inc., which operates 230 locates in the U.S. “We cannot stand idly by and watch the major film companies project irresponsible, dangerous driving in movies which creates the impression among youth that somehow this kind of behavior is cool.
"While there are dynamic, emotional feelings of freedom, excitement and independence that come from getting a driver’s license or buying your first car, irresponsible and dangerous driving is not cool–it is a threat to public safety. The entertainment industry must stop portraying dangerous driving in a positive light and we must begin holding them accountable for the attitudes they are fostering in our youth.” Young drivers are particularly susceptible to poor driving practices.
“Of all serious crashes involving young people, over 60% do not involve another vehicle,” said Giordano. “Young people are having trouble with the basic operation of their vehicle. Beginning drivers need several years of experience before they can develop the skills necessary to become safe, dependable drivers.
"Movies, such as ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ which glorify unsafe driving, are creating the wrong impression in young people precisely when they are most vulnerable to a fatal crash. The last thing we need to be doing with young people is to convey the idea that it is fun, glamorous or cool to drive recklessly. Anyone attempting to execute the type of dangerous maneuvers depicted in films, like ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ would be increasing their risk of crashing. Teens are especially susceptible because they are less adept at controlling their vehicle.”
The suggested rating system would include an ‘S’ for ‘Safe Driving’; while those that portray driving irresponsibly or in an unsafe, dangerous manner would be given a ‘D’ for ‘Dangerous Driving.’
"We want teens and parents to know that when they watch movies that we rate a ‘D,’ they should be extra careful when viewing the driving sequences. These films feature professional stunt drivers. People should understand that what they are doing on the screen is not cool, it is dangerous and, in fact, could get you or someone else injured or killed.”

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