Prevalence of risky driving behaviours on popular television series

Prevalence of risky driving behaviours on popular television series

Can J Surg 2018;61(5):355-356 | PDF

Abigail Tien; Peter Chu, MD, MSc; Lorraine Tremblay, MD, PhD


Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among young adults. Social media and television have been shown to affect the likelihood that young adults will engage in risk-taking behaviour. We watched 216 episodes of five popular television series on Netflix and identified 333 separate driving scenes, of which 271 (81.4%) portrayed at least one risky driving behaviour. Unsafe driving (not wearing a seat belt) was the most common risky driving behaviour noted, occurring in 245 (73.6%) of driving scenes. Distracted driving (36 [18.8%]) and driving while using a cellphone (28 [8.4%]) were also noted. Popular television series model unsafe driving behaviours. Seat belts are infrequently used. As well, drivers are often distracted, looking away from the road to talk or talking on their cellphones. Television producers should be sensitive to modelling unsafe driving behaviours, particularly if the audience consists largely of young people.

Accepted Jan. 22, 2018

Affiliations: From Havergal College, North York, Ont. (Tien); and the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ont. (Chu, Tremblay).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.015517

Correspondence to:L. Tremblay, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, H186-2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto ON M4N 3M5,