Local News

AAA hopes to stop texting while driving with graphic PSA

Posted June 29, 2010 6:47 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2010 7:00 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.