Furiously Fast Racing

Street racing's been hot since the days of James Dean, but no movie's done more to boost its popularity than last year's "The Fast and the Furious." The movie, a surprise hit thanks to a mostly under-25 viewership, revitalized Generation Y's newest and most extreme of extreme sports, but also may have led to accidents and deaths. In San Diego County, where the movie had a casting call and several locals' cars made it into the film, 15 people have been killed and 20 have been injured this year. "It's scary," says Cathy Flores, whose son was killed racing in San Diego in 1998. "That movie simply glamorizes illegal street racing." Reacting to the deaths, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved an ordinance making watching live street racing a crime, punishable by up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail (it's already against the law to participate). Universal Studios declined to comment on the issue, but "Fast and the Furious" director Rob Cohen says the sport's no big deal. "There's an assumption that [street racing] is very dangerous," he said in a recent About.com interview. "The statistics tell you otherwise." The issue's a touchy subject for Universal, whose producers just announced that a "Fast and the Furious" sequel is already in the works. Cohen won't be directing the sequel, and Universal advised producer Neal Moritz not to comment. Meanwhile, California officials are hoping that there's not a sequel to this year's death toll.

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