Movie Franchise Linked to Dangerous Driving | Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba

Popular Movie Franchise Could Contribute to Rise in Speeding and Reckless Driving

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For years, researchers and sociologists have been trying to link human behavior with the entertainment and media that we consume. Most of us clearly remember the controversy over explicitly violent video games such as Mortal Kombat and the Street Fighter franchise. In addition to video game violence, there has also been concern over risky onscreen behaviors such as promiscuous, unprotected sex, binge drinking, and aggressive driving.

Unfortunately, finding indisputable connections between our entertainment choices and our behavior is rather difficult. Our decision-making processes are shaped by countless variables, including both internal and external influences. Attempts to study these links often utilize attitudes—which are subjective—and actions in a controlled environment—which are often not reflective of real-world behavior. According to a new study, however, there may be a direct link between a popular film franchise and the driving habits of those who see the movies.

Increases in Instances of Illegal Driving

A team of researchers from Harvard University and Duke University examined detailed records of all traffic violations in Montgomery County, Maryland between 2012 and 2017. During this timeframe, nearly 193,000 speeding tickets were issued in the county, and three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise were released nationwide. The film series began nearly twenty years ago, and each movie is several hours’ worth of high-octane, adrenaline-fueled stunt driving.

According to the team, the first weekend of each Fast movie release saw a 20 percent increase in the average speed of ticketed drivers. On any given day, the average speeding ticket cited drivers exceeding the speed limit 16 miles per hour. When a new movie came out, the average jumped up to 19 miles per hour above the limit.

Release weekends also saw a dramatic increase in extreme speeding, with nearly 2 percent of all ticketed drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 miles per hour—compared to less than 1 percent on a normal day. The researchers looked a little deeper and found that the increases in extreme speeding were primarily in the vicinity of movie theaters. The release of other popular films—such as The Hunger Games—had no apparent effect on driving behavior.

It bears mentioning that the analysis has not been peer-reviewed or published in any research journals, and the data comes from just one county. The insight it offers, however, something worth considering when the next two Fast films hit theaters in the next two years.

Speeding and Excessive Speeding Defense

If you have received a citation for speeding or you are facing criminal charges for excessive speeding, contact an experienced Will County traffic violations defense attorney. We will help you explore your available options and ensure that your rights are fully protected throughout the process. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.