A recent study polled 1,000 drivers in regards to what impact they felt computer games, films and TV shows have on teens when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car. Forty per cent of them said that video games made “bad driving look cool.”
Meanwhile, more than 1 in 3 drivers felt that movies and TV shows rarely show the consequences of driving dangerously, with 29% agreeing that teens’ attitudes were negatively influenced by movies such as The Fast and The Furious.
According to pre-17 driving experts Young Driver, such flicks can affect even more experienced drivers, with one in 10 (9%) admitting that seeing a cool car stunt made them think of how great it would be for them to actually try it. That percentage goes up to 22% if its just drivers aged 18-24.
As for parents, when asked if they believed that driving games actually give teens the chance to drive recklessly in a safe environment, only one in 10 (11%) agreed it that it was a good way of “getting it out of their system.”
“Teenage brains are still developing and that continues well into the twenties. The last area to develop is the prefrontal cortex, which is the brain’s ‘control centre’, necessary for tasks such as self-control, decision-making, risk analysis and saying no,” said teen expert Nicola Morgan
“So, at 17 years old, teens do not generally have a fully developed control centre to help them make good decisions and control their emotional urges, including risk-taking. If they have a risk-taking mindset, they may put thrill before safety; and even if they don’t mean to, they may be more driven by excitement than reason.”
Motoring expert Quentin Wilson added: “We don’t know the effects that games like GTA and Need for Speed have on teen attitudes to road safety simply because the research hasn’t been done yet. But at Young Driver we see every day that if you catch pre-teen kids who haven’t yet been corroded by the glorification of bad driving in films, on TV and through gaming, they’re much more receptive to road safety messages.”
Research points to young drivers who had early tuition being half as likely to have an accident within the first six months after passing their driving exam. A sad fact is that one in five drivers in the UK will usually crash in those first few months.