JAMES Corden’s Carpool Karaoke made headlines again recently, after it was revealed on social media that he does not actually drive the car while cruising around, singing along with celebrities.
But the “controversy” is irrelevant, according to a UK traffic officer, who says whether Corden is in control of the vehicle or not, the segment encourages dangerous driving.
During an online live stream on his personal Twitter profile, a clearly frustrated Cheshire Police Sergeant Neil Dewson-Smyth said the popular programme unintentionally promotes distracted driving, as viewers may be encouraged to emulate what they see on TV.
Sergeant Dewson-Smyth, who also runs a “Don’t Stream and Drive” campaign to discourage mobile phone use behind the wheel, was responding to the fallout from mobile phone footage that showed The Late Late Show presenter’s Range Rover being towed on a trailer during the filming of a new Carpool Karaoke episode.
— SgtTCS 📱+🚘=❌ (@SgtTCS) January 24, 2020
He added that any safety provisions made during filming to ensure that Corden, his passengers and other road users are safe during filming don’t matter because it inevitably leads to copycat behaviour.
He noted the “immense” number of videos on YouTube, under the search term “singing while driving” of fans copying Corden’s behaviour.
“What people see on the television isn’t the safety features that are put into place,” said Dewson-Smith. “What people see on the television is two people singing, larking around, fooling around in a car and doing all the things that you shouldn’t be doing [when driving a car].”
He read out a number of responses to the footage from publishers that appear to criticise Corden for seeming to “fake” the episodes, including one post that read, “I feel betrayed: James Corden isn’t driving the car.” Another example said it “calls into question everything that I understood about it”, while another wrote, “This is why I have trust issues.”
The police officer said: “I can’t get my head around the idiocy of it, because what they’re doing is they’re promoting distracted driving, and making distracted driving seem to be something that is popular, that is fun and that we can all do safely. And that’s wrong.
“People are dying through distracted driving on the roads across the roads every single day. Distracted driving is our new drink driving.”
He added: “You should, in theory, be absolutely delighted that he’s not driving.”
According to Ben Wiston, an executive producer on The Late Late Show that features the Carpool Karaoke segment, James Corden does do most of the driving on the show himself, with a trailer only being used “maybe four times in 50 or so Carpools” when stunts or the use of props meant it wasn’t safe for Corden to be on control of the car.
He also jokingly suggested he’s “pretty sure there are bigger issues to worry about” than whether the driving shown on TV is real or faked.
Sergeant Neil Dewson-Smyth said that debate misses the point entirely: “If you’re driving on the roads, focus on the roads and concentrate on your driving. Driving behind the wheel of a car is not the place to start singing karaoke tunes, and dancing and larking around with somebody in the car, when your attention should be on what’s going on around you, and your peripheral vision, and all those kind of things.”
While collisions caused by distracted drivers has been on a gradual decline in the UK, falling by 10.2% since 2013, many motorists are still having accidents as a result of not paying attention. According to the most recent figures from the Department for Transport, 3,070 accidents on British roads in 2018 were caused by the driver having their attention diverted by an in-car distraction, with 93 of those incidents being fatal.
Video credit: zolihonig via Storyful