The characters in the Netflix series wouldn’t pass their driver’s test

If you watch series, don’t drive. Or at least don’t do it as badly as the protagonists. A study by Rivekids, a manufacturer specializing in road safety, finds that eight out of every ten series contain a traffic violation or some dangerous driving. The study was carried out by analyzing 82 productions from Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime Video, the three principal video streaming platforms. 

 

It might be assumed that police series would distort the findings: in this kind of film, it’s normal to have car chases and people being run over. But the study did not include these productions, or fantasy or period stories. The idea was to “concentrate on contemporary daily driving situations.” Thus infractions were analyzed on productions like Big Bang Theory (which was relatively respectful of traffic norms), Euphoria, Squid Game, Elite and Succession

The most common violation in these series is not wearing a safety belt (which increases by 50% the chance of dying in an accident). The study identified another 17 examples of risky behavior. Among them: being distracted while driving, putting one’s feet on the dashboard, transporting children without a proper chair and, in the case of pedestrians, ignoring the zebra stripes when crossing a street.

 

Of all these platforms, Amazon was the worst: 100% of its series analyzed contained an infraction.

 

In the middle of the road was Netflix: of 44 series studied, 79% contained infractions that would receive a fine.

 

HBO fared only slightly better: of its 16 productions analyzed, 68% contained traffic violations.

This dangerous behavior should not be considered as artistic license, the study observes, because in no case did they contribute anything to or were relevant to the plot. What is not clear –and the study does not seek to resolve this– is the effect on spectators of these televised infractions. It’s hard to believe that this risky behavior will take hold in daily life just because it appears in televisionseries, but neither does it seem to be a good idea to normalize it. In any case, the movies reflect real life. This study demonstrates that there is still a long way to go in making people aware of road safety. Both in fiction and in the  real world.

 

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