Local News

Ad Aimed at Teens Pitches Driving to Live

Posted January 25, 2007 7:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2007 7:45 p.m. EST

The state Thursday kicked off a new television advertising campaign aimed at encouraging teenagers to speak up for slowing down rather than tolerating peers’ reckless driving.

Hundreds of teenagers are involved in deadly car crashes in North Carolina. Nationally, car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teenagers. On average, 300,000 teenagers are injured every year in car crashes in the U.S. and more than 3,500 are killed.

The fact has been far too familiar in the Triangle in recent weeks. A Wakefield High School student died last week, and his school has lost six students in the past year in car crashes.

Two North Johnson High School County teens died last weekend in a crash.

“This encourages young people who are riding with people who are driving recklessly to speak up,” state Attorney General Roy Cooper said. His office is sponsoring the campaign, which is called “You Are the Spokesperson” and is aimed at grabbing the attention of 15-to-21-year-olds.

In one version of the ad, two boys are talking in a moving car.

“You are so lost,” one says.

“No, I'm not, man,” the driver replies as the car weaves and rocks.

As a backseat passenger looks frightened but is silent, an adult who looks and sounds like a bad late-night TV salesman gets into the moving car’s back seat.

“How would you like to save your life from an ugly reckless driving death?” he asks “Don't answer yet. There's more!”

Cooper said he knows it’s a tough sell, but he said he’s hopeful.

“You don't have to die,” the salesman says.

“He's right, we should slow down!” one front-seat teen says to the other.

The ad’s take-home message comes after the salesman makes his pitch to the teens in the car.

“That's awesome! In the real world, there is no spokesperson to prevent reckless driving. There's only you.”