Research Papers

The Effects of Cinematic Portrayals of Aggressive or Risky Driving on the Modelling of Speeding Behaviour

Version 1
Date added June 26, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 3A
Author/Auteur Deanna Singhal
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



Media depictions of dangerous or aggressive driving, and glorifications of such risk-taking, have become increasingly popular. Previous research has suggested that the more normative these events appear, with the portrayal of a hero as the risky driver, and the lack of depiction of negative consequences, learning of aggressive or risky driving can be enhanced. The imitating of such driving behaviour depicted in the media, puts the driver, and others on the road, at risk, creating a public health concern. This study investigates the influence of newly released movies, depicting aggressive or risky driving, on real-world speeding behaviour. Previous research has found an influence of televised depictions of such behaviour (e.g., NASCAR racing), causing collision due to aggressive driving. This study expands on that research by investigating the influence of a different type of media and uses a behavioural measure (i.e., speeding) that is an antecedent to collision. Photo radar speeding data, obtained from the Office of Traffic Safety, in the City of Edmonton, for the time period of Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2015, is linked in time to the release of movies depicting aggressive or risky driving (e.g., Furious 7). A pre, during, and post movie run period of time is defined for each movie. Time series analysis is used to investigate changes in the number of infractions, as well as speed differential (i.e., amount a driver exceeds the posted speed limit), for these time frames. Time of day and location of infraction (i.e., closer to theatres versus more remote), are also considered. Data is currently being analyzed and increases in the number of speeding infractions, and/or the speed differential, are expected when movies, depicting acts of aggressive or risky driving, are released and playing in theatres. This increase is expected to be most noticeable during the first two weeks of the movie run, followed by a downward trend, once the movie is no longer playing in theatres. These differences may reveal time of day and proximity to theatre effects. Though this research approach does not allow for inferences to be made about this type of movie content causing increases in speeding behaviour, it does allow for the investigation of linkages in time between the movie releases and increases in speeding behaviour. This research can play an important role in how we strategize about decreasing the amount of aggressive or risky driving on the road. Given that the movie industry will likely continue to use such depictions of driving in their movies, it is important to consider how we can limit the effects of such media on the modelling of this behaviour.

Deanna Singhal