Video games get blamed for all sorts of things, either by politicians looking to score points or lawyers looking to cash in. There are a few problems with all of these accusations: the causality is never clear-cut (nor ever really proven), and by buying into it, the responsibility for people's actions shifts from the people themselves to some video game or developer -- which isn't a very healthy response to violent crimes or other actions. Games that feature driving are a favorite target, and now a new survey from a British driving school (nah, no detectable bias there) says it "shows an indisputable link between gaming and dangerous driving". The company surveyed 1,000 British 16- to 24-year-olds (which is a bit odd, since except in rare cases, people have to be 17 before they can legally drive, or even learn to drive, in the UK), and a third of them said they "are more likely to drive faster on roads" right after playing driving games, and a quarter saying they take more driving risks. It also says that frequent games -- with what qualifies as frequent never defined -- are twice as likely as non-gamers "to lose their sense of reality on the open road", though those same frequent gamers also pass their driving tests on the first try more often than non-gamers. For a change, the company doesn't call for the games to be banned, it just suggests that gamers wait an hour after playing before driving for real, which sounds like the modern equivalent of the old wives' tale about waiting to swim for a while after you've eaten. Despite the company's claims, there is no indisputable link here, particularly since the claim is based on a survey of people saying they're more or less likely to behave a certain way, which is hardly conclusive evidence. All the survey really does is deflect attention from the underlying problem: people being too stupid or careless to make the distinction between video games and reality. If the antics people are capable of in video games make them think they could do something similar in a real car, there's an underlying problem there that's going to manifest itself at some point, regardless of whether or not they've played video games. That's the problem, not some video game.
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