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Tuesday, June 3, 2003


Sequel may be too fast and too dangerous
Movie could spur copycats
Police fear young are too influenced by what they see

By Ann Job / Special to The Detroit News


LOS ANGELES -- Law enforcement officials and safety advocates are stepping up complaints to automakers about advertising that pushes speed and power, while they brace for a possible outbreak of illegal street racing inspired by this week's premiere of the movie, "2Fast 2Furious."

The film is the sequel to "The Fast and The Furious," the hit 2001 movie that police officers in some parts of the country say sparked an increase in street racing incidents.

"Young adults are easily influenced by what they see and we're extremely concerned," said Terrence Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association.

"We've experienced street drag racing when there was just a (car) show in town," Jungel said. "This show ("2Fast 2Furious") is going to be in every town. I believe there's going to be some kind of fallout -- I hope I'm dead wrong."

Gary Gibbons, who chairs the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, said he hasn't seen "a lot of activity in Michigan" -- so far. But that could change.

"After seeing The Fast and The Furious' when it came out, I maybe became more aware of those kinds of cars," he said. "And you know, there's a saying that what starts on the West Coast eventually comes here, so maybe there's more to come."

The Washington D.C.-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has a nickname for "The Fast and the Furious" sequel: 2Fast 2Fatal.

"It's obvious the target audience for the movie is teen-agers and young men," said Cathy Chase, the group's director. "They're a dangerous group of drivers" already, according to crash statistics.

The problem isn't just the risk to drivers involved, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Jasper Begay. Others on the road risk injury and death.

Street racing was listed by police as a factor in 135 fatal crashes in 2001, up from 72 in 2000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, San Diego State University's transportation safety institute surveyed the road-ready attitudes of more than 2,300 young drivers in driving school -- most to earn their license for the first time and the rest because they had already been cited with traffic violations.

The study found that, on average, young drivers felt they were speeding only if they were driving at or above 90 mph, that teen traffic violators are less concerned with risky driving behavior, and that more than half of the entire group admitted to being in a car during dangerous acts such as drunk or reckless driving and drag racing.

Institute director Sheila Sarkar called the results "discomforting" and said numerous factors contribute to such flip attitudes behind the wheel, including poor examples of safe driving from friends and parents, video games that emphasize speeding and evading police, and the popularity of movies such as "2Fast 2Furious."

At the same time, there also is growing dismay about ever more automotive advertising that seems to glorify reckless driver behavior.

The Arlington, Va.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is backed by the insurance industry, has written to several car companies about ads the group feels are inappropriate.

"Sometimes, the advertising agencies are a bit out of control," said Institute President Brian O'Neill. "Sometimes, executives at the auto manufacturers (aren't aware of safety issues in the ads)."

In a recent Pontiac commercial, for example, a father is in a car with his two sons, who are playing a video game. The driver is transformed and becomes part of the video game, racing his sons in his Pontiac.

"The game ends and he says, I won,'" said O'Neill, who believes the message to children is that it's OK to race and speed.

Mark-Hans Richer, director of advertising for Pontiac, said O'Neill is missing the point.

"(The ad) is really about the relationship between a father and his two sons," Richer said. The ad shows the father using his thumbs on the car's tap shift in a manner similar to his sons operating their video game.

"It's kind of (the dad) making a statement that I'm cool, too,'" Richer said. "We're certainly not trying to encourage unsafe driving or child endangerment. The sons are in their child seats and have their safety belts on the whole time, and during the ad they haven't moved one iota."

The Insurance Institute isn't the only group writing letters and hoping to see changes.

A few months ago, the California Highway Patrol objected to a proposed Nissan Motor Co. ad featuring a Nissan executive boasting about his speeding violations. Nissan wanted to use a highway patrol officer in the ad.

"(We) must object to any auto maker's marketing plan that uses excessive speed of their vehicles as a selling point," Tom Marshall, spokesman for the highway patrol, said in a letter to Nissan's ad agency. "I personally feel this proposed campaign is irresponsible."

What galled the law enforcement agency was using a Nissan official -- whether real or fictional -- to make light of breaking the law, Marshall said in an interview.

Marshall has yet to receive a response from Nissan or its ad agency. Nissan spokesman Scott Vazin wasn't sure which ad Marshall was referring to. But the automaker tries to strike a balance that shows it sells vehicles with a performance image, but doesn't encourage drivers to behave irresponsibly in them, Vazin said.

But O'Neill said: "This is all where our culture is headed. Young drivers in fast cars is what it's all about." Crash victims have tried to bring change, O'Neill said, "but it never seems to catch on because there's this image that speed is fun."

Detroit News wire services contributed to this report. Ann Job is a California-based free-lance writer.

http://www.detnews.com/2003/autosinsider/0306/03/c01-182227.htm
 

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See if their were more tracks around street racing wouldnt be as common, kids want to push their cars and have fun with it. For some reason it seems that counties dont want drag strips in their areas so they perfer street racing. Give people a place to do it safely and i guarentee they will!
 

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You can thank the insurance industry and all the assh*%# that treat an injury like a winning lottery ticket.
I tried to get a privately-owned piece of land for an off-road park in our area a few years ago and to be honest, the insurance would've been outragious. I even tried to get local government people interested in doing a park but it kept boiling down to knowbody wanted to get involved because they knew that the first person that got hurt would sue.

I totally agree that if we would give kids (an adults) a place to play with their cars, they would use it. But unless that happens, there will be more and more accidents on the street (caused by poor drivers trying to emulate moves seen in the movies and TV)that WILL claim innocent lives.
I don't feel sorry for the idiot that kills himself when he gets in over his head with a car (or bike). I feel sorry for the people they take with them.
 

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There is a park in Illinois thats opening or may already be open, that is for the car enthusiast. theres a 1/4 mile track and a road course. They treat it like a country club, with a big clubhouse, pool, tennis. Its private and as I recall the membership fee to join was 25-35k, plus monthly fees. Cool idea though.
 

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like i said, think "country club". The article I read had a bunch of interviews with ferrari and porsche owners eager to join. The park owners had just finally received all their permits and were starting to take applications for members a year ago when i moved to FL. I cant find any links or info on the web though.
 

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Law enforcement officials and safety advocates are stepping up complaints to automakers about advertising that pushes speed and power
Thank Liberals for that.... riiiiight..... advertising your car showing it going around turns and driving fast is tell people to do that? just like what it said about video games.... sure you can play GTA: Vice City and kill people and take cars etc... and it's a great game, but if a person dosn't know the differnce between a game, ad, movie etc.. and reality, then they really shouldn't deserve to live and have all the rights as a normal person that can tell the differnce.
 

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As a bleeding heart liberal i take offense. Its not the liberals but their wives who are doing that crap and i would like to point out the facist mpaa and rating organizations are supported by both parties.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I love this argument from Hollywood liberals.

Movies (and games) aren't responsible for peoples behavior.

Then why do major corporations pay top dollar so their advertisment's can be shown during the Super Bowl?

If what we see doesn't effect our behavior, then advertising on TV should be worthless. :D
 

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And cant you remember that it almost seemed that the ricer population exploded after the fast and furious came out...
 

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BUILDINGCTSAMG said:
As a bleeding heart liberal i take offense. Its not the liberals but their wives who are doing that crap and i would like to point out the facist mpaa and rating organizations are supported by both parties.
Sounds like you should be living in Canada, preferably Ontario=Liberal Heaven!:D

The problem is that kids that get over their heads and street race, never hurt themselves, they kill someone else, just like drinking and driving!

If you want to buy land and do a park, and don't want people to sue you, get them to sign a waivier first? And go about your dreams.:) Those things seem to scare away more than a few lawyers.
 

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I think the movie should be named "2 Dumb, 2 Stupid" I ain't gonna waste my money on this crap called a movie. I rather stick needles in my eyes!! Sorry just had to rant for a moment. I just know I'll be hearing something on TV or Radio about some kid trying to do some of the stupid things in the movie. I saw the commercial for it and saw a car trying to squeeze between 2 Semis. Another stupid stunt!! Someone will try it I know it.Just like what happened a few yrs ago with another movie where one scene had a bunch of guys lie down on the street head-toe and had motorcycles speed by them on both sides. I think some kids tried that and a few of them were killed.
 

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Darwinism at work! If they're that stupid....They need to be removed from the gene pool anyway!
 

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I'm not going to say that doing things like that is STUPID but, anybody that dares to try stunts like that should always be prepared for the possibility that something could go wrong. What's STUPID is doing something like that and believing that it's not dangerous. Stuntmen train and take every precaution and things STILL go wrong and people get hurt or killed. It's just the chance you take when you opt to do something so daring.
It's kind of like these people on the show "Jack-Ass". As long as they're ready to accept the consequences if the "stunt" goes bad, it's up to them.
 

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Katshot said:
It's just the chance you take when you opt to do something so daring.
It's kind of like these people on the show "Jack-Ass". As long as they're ready to accept the consequences if the "stunt" goes bad, it's up to them.

Do you honestly believe that??? DARING? The consequences of something that STUPID are staggering! The truck weighs 80,000 pounds! The possibilitys for disaster are ENDLESS! Do you have any idea how many people could be hurt or killed by the "Daring " act? If you think it OK to do ANYTHING like that....You're a FOOL!


Stupid is the only possible description of something like that!
 

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I have NO problem with street racing.....But it should be done in minimum traffic situations so you don't endanger anyone but you and the guy you're racing.....That stupid hero stuff like going between trucks is what MORONS do!
 

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Mad'lac said:
I think the movie should be named "2 Dumb, 2 Stupid" I ain't gonna waste my money on this crap called a movie. I rather stick needles in my eyes!! Sorry just had to rant for a moment. I just know I'll be hearing something on TV or Radio about some kid trying to do some of the stupid things in the movie. I saw the commercial for it and saw a car trying to squeeze between 2 Semis. Another stupid stunt!! Someone will try it I know it.Just like what happened a few yrs ago with another movie where one scene had a bunch of guys lie down on the street head-toe and had motorcycles speed by them on both sides. I think some kids tried that and a few of them were killed.
Yeah, I didn't mind the first movie, it was fun, but my one criticism was there was only 2 American cars in it, the '70 Charger and the Lightning. I also saw that commercial for the sequel and did you notice it was a Mustang being crushed between the semis! Never a Civic!! ;)
 

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Anything, and I mean ANYTHING you do in a car on the road CAN be dangerous. I was trying to point out that it IS stupid to believe you could do these stunts without danger, maybe even EXTREME danger. And of course, that danger can apply to yourself and anyone around you.
If you remember KC, I was the one that lit-off on Airjigga after his "kill story" first. I think in that thread, I made my position crystal clear on this subject.
BTW, there are FAR more people killed on the roads, either directly or in-directly as a result of street racing, than are killed or even just hurt from trying to emulate movie stunts. Most people realize that movie stunts are not possible to recreate in "real" cars, in "real" life.
 
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