January 29, 2002

Driving school says ‘The Fast and the Furious’ video promotes unsafe driving

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey – Responding to the recent video release of “The Fast and the Furious,” a movie which features numerous scenes of high-speed, unsafe driving, Top Driver Inc., a U.S. driver training school, announced a new rating system designed to help parents and teens identify films, which depict unsafe driving.

“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, Top Driver’s CEO. “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 behaviour 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 maneouvers 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.”

Top Driver has decided to help parents and teens identify those situations in which the entertainment industry has carried the “thrill of driving” message too far. “We are instituting a rating system for movies,” says Giordano. “It’s very simple: movies that portray driving responsibly, are given an ‘S’ for ‘Safe Driving’; while those that portray driving irresponsibly or in an unsafe, dangerous manner are given a ‘D’ for ‘Dangerous Driving.’ We want teens and parents to know that when they watch movies like ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ which 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.”

The new rating system and related information will soon be found on Top Driver’s website, www.topdriver.com. Top Driver has 230 locations in the U.S.A. and has trained over 20 million customers.

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