This morning I was watching Etv News and a discussion around drag racing was taking place; one of the callers blamed movies, such as The fast and Furious and Gone in 60 seconds as the reason for the increased danger on our streets.
According to ewn.com three people died in a car crash after allegedly speeding down the Voortrekker Road in Pretoria on Sunday evening the 3de of April 2011. Tshwane Mayor, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, said that drag racing is growing in the city and that the only way to deal with it would be to establish a designated area for the sport (sowetanlive). The Tshwane municipality is to engage with Motorsport South Africa in a possible move to legalise the fast-growing sport, but is that what the illegal speed racers want?
Moviegoers have gotten a taste of the dangerous and sometimes deadly sport by watching movies such as Death race and Transporter, but will legal drag racing strips in Gauteng quench these speedsters thirst for adrenaline? These fast paced, action packed movies employ very charismatic and attractive actors to play the speeding maniacs and as such they become role models for many young adults. Some audience members imitate these role models because they convey the image of cool.
Universal studious have taken precautions to prevent copycat incidents, such as posting prominent disclaimers on the films and using actors such as Vin Diesel to encourage safe driving. So what more can these movies do? The fact is viewers can and will imitate scenes from movies if they set there minds to it, regardless of the consequences. Movies could most definitely be a contributing factor to the increased illegal drag racing in South Africa, but so could the home environments of such offenders, their personality types and most definitely pure pressure. To say that The Fast and Furious caused the villainous activity would be far fetched; movies only have as much impact as the perceptiveness of its audience.
In the end to drag race in our streets is a choice, yes it might be the wrong and illegal choice, but the freedom of that choice remains every individuals to make.