Fast Five

I really did not think people needed to be told this, but apparently they do: Movies aren’t real and watching a Fast and Furious movie does not suddenly make you a drift king or a champion street racer. Sheesh.

There has always been some concern over how mainstream media like movies, television and video games affect our behavior. And it turns out that, at least for Montgomery County, Maryland, more people did speed (and were ticketed) on weekends after Fast and Furious releases, according to traffic violation data analyzed by the New York Times in a very excellent story.

The outlet compared three weekends before the movie releases with the three weekends that followed and found that “the speeds people were given tickets for increased almost 20 percent, to an average of 19 miles per hour over the speed limit, from 16 miles per hour.”

Coincidence? Maybe!

Rates of extreme speeding also went up. The percentage of drivers charged with driving 40 mph above the speed limit almost doubled. And! The areas where people were caught speeding were usually within two miles of movie theaters.

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Even more coincidence? Perhaps!

From the story:

We compared the geographic distribution of these extreme speeding violations in the three weekends before versus after movie releases. We found that the vast majority of tickets handed out in the three weekends after movie releases occurred on Route 270, a major highway that runs adjacent to several large movie theaters in the county.

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To make doubly sure that this wasn’t just movies making people drive fast in general, the Times also went back and checked violations for when The Hunger Games movies were playing. They found no increase in speeding.

The Times admits that its tests were limited. They only had data from one county and were unable to determine age groups and how they were related to the violations. But there is no denying that when a Fast and Furious movie, films centered around driving fast and furiously, was playing in theaters, subsequent speeding would also increase.

But perhaps what the Times didn’t account for was why people were speeding: Folks fleeing those theaters because the movies were so terrible.

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I kid. It’s the best movie franchise on the planet. Just don’t think you’re Dominic Toretto at the end of watching them. Nobody owes you a 10-second car. You do not live your life a quarter-mile at a time.