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AAA hopes to stop texting while driving with graphic PSA

Posted June 29, 2010

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— The AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety has created a graphic public service announcement to educate drivers on the potential consequences of texting while driving.

The 30-second video will start airing on cable TV on Wednesday, days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend – one of the deadliest weekends for traffic crashes, according to AAA Carolinas.

“This video may shock some viewers, and that is the intent – to create a lasting impression that texting while driving is deadly,” said Thomas Crosby, president of the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off driving."

The video depicts a graphic car wreck involving a vehicle driven by a teenage girl who was texting.

Warning: The video might be disturbing to some viewers

The video will air only during evening hours on Time Warner Cable stations in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington areas. It will also be broadcast in the Columbia and Greenville, S.C. markets.

Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina, but some people do it anyway.

North Carolina State University student Archna Sathyakumar said she doesn’t text while driving, but her cousin does.

“When you’re going at such a high speed, I think it’s very unsafe to text and drive,” she said.

Cell phone text message AAA PSA shows dangers of texting and driving

AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Jodi Woolard said the haunting images in the video are designed to stick, especially with teens.

“Once you take your eyes off that road, you're distracted, mentally, emotionally and physically,” she said.

A few stations in North Carolina declined to air the public service announcement due to its’ graphic nature, AAA Carolinas said.

Driver Debbie Swanson said the images of might be hard to look at, but they need to be seen

"I think everybody should see that," she said.

Researchers said it's hard to determine how often texting or cell-phone use leads to accident. They said it is severely under-reported, because drivers often have to volunteer the information.

19 Comments

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  • clayrenee Jul 5, 8:57 a.m.

    This vdeio is old and I have shared it with my children. AAA shouldn't be getting the credit for this video. They are just jumping on the bandwagon. Stop printing trip tiks for your members because reading while drving is also a hazard. What hipocrites they are!!!

  • wildcat Jul 1, 10:40 a.m.

    Good luck on stopping texting. Some people who do, still don't get the message that it can cause accidents and kill people.

  • snowmentality Jun 30, 2:09 p.m.

    AAA Carolinas did not "create" this PSA, as you might have guessed from the fact that the actors and cars are obviously not from the US. It was made by filmmaker Peter Watkins-Hughes in 2009, in collaboration with Newport School in Wales and the police department of Gwent, UK. Here is a link to a story NPR did on this PSA on Sept. 1, 2009: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112417036

    That said, I am glad AAA Carolinas is getting this PSA shown here in NC. It's graphic and terrifying, but people need to be shaken out of their complacency. Everyone thinks they can "multitask" and text/talk while driving, but everyone also thinks they can "handle their liquor" and drive drunk. Studies have shown that driving while texting and talking is just as bad as driving drunk. Put the phone down and drive.

  • chivegas Jun 30, 12:45 p.m.

    Hopefully AAA will put this on their mobile website so I can view it while driving.

    "it's beyond me why they haven't outlawed talking while driving yet...."

    Because this is a free country and talking while driving doesn't hurt anyone. If you're aren't capable of multitasking, then you shouldn't be driving in the first place.

  • keeter Jun 30, 11:56 a.m.

    it's beyond me why they haven't outlawed talking while driving yet....

  • Bill Brasky Jun 30, 11:07 a.m.

    "I was sitting at an intersection the other day, and 11 of the 15 cars that went by had someone on the phone. Was watching carefully just to see how many I could see on the phone. Try it sometime, and you will be shocked."

    I do that as well. I get an average of 1 out of 3 during rush hour, and thats just with phones to their heads.

  • The Anti Hans Jun 30, 10:31 a.m.

    Let's ban smoking in cars too. If I had a nickel for every knob I've seen fiddling with a cigarette and a lighter at 70 mph, I'd be retired ...

  • OpenM1nd Jun 30, 9:48 a.m.

    Practice Safe Text.

  • sinenomine Jun 30, 9:47 a.m.

    nighttrain2010 is right that there are many dangerous things one can do behind the wheel, but texting seems to be at the top of the list (DWI excepted).

    This film was difficult to watch but I doubt it will do much good for the following reasons:

    (1) People are so used to seeing staged scenes of this sort that they are dismissive of them.

    (2) Studies have shown that shock tactics like this film have a distinct positive effect, but it is of very short duration.

    (3) The people at whom the ad is aimed are generally too stupid/selfish to care and think it can't happen to them anyway.

    It is also true that texting is equally dangerous whether the person doing it is eighteen or eighty. Even police and emergency personnel should refrain from it except when absolutely necessary.

    All said and done, if even one innocent life is saved then the ad will have accomplished a net good.

  • nighttrain2010 Jun 30, 9:32 a.m.

    >>I think if you are seen with a phone in your hand or next to your head while behind the wheel you should lose your license for a decade!

    That's the government knows best attitude! What about eating, changing the radio station, talking, (fill in the blank)? The fact is you are driving a 3000 lb piece of steel that only stays on the road because the general public has accepted the concept of staying between the lines while coloring in kindergarten is generally good behavior. There are literally dozens of things that one can do behind the wheel that are distracting and legal. Rather than passing a law to legislate every single one of them out (and I'm sure there will be those like you trying it to push it), how about paying attention, drive defensively, and mind your own business

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