Graphic Public Service Announcement Addresses Texting While Driving

The Today Show recently reported on a powerful new public service announcement (PSA) video geared toward teens. The PSA, produced by Tredegar Comprehensive School and Gwent Police in the United Kingdom, graphically illustrates the possible repercussions of texting while driving.

With stunning special effects and realistic acting, the video has become an Internet sensation. If you know any teenage drivers - or any people who have a problem with texting while driving - please send this URL to them.

The four-minute PSA is actually part of a larger 30-minute drama produced and directed by Peter Watkins-Hughes, an award-winning former BBC producer.

Ironically, while the video is intended for teens, you must verify that you’re an adult in order to watch it on you tube because of its graphic content. It could certainly cause nightmares among younger children.

Gwent Police produced the video in hopes of preventing accidents caused by cell phone users. Texting while driving has become a problem around the world.

“Making and receiving calls and texting whilst driving is still happening in roads not just in Gwent but all over the country,” said Gwent Police Chief Inspector John Pavett.

“Seeing a scenario, like the one [the PSA character] goes through, played out right before your eyes makes you realize how extremely dangerous it can be and what devastating consequences it can have. I hope that after watching this film, motorists will think twice before picking up their mobile phone when behind the wheel and realize that a quick reply to a text message or answering a phone call is never worth putting theirs and other peoples lives at risk.”

As Tom Costello of The Today Show pointed it, it’s the start of a new school year, and many teens are getting behind the wheel for the first time. And nearly all of them have cell phones. It seems like this video has gone viral at the appropriate time.

A recent Virginia Teach study found that the risk of collision jumps 23 times while texting. Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving, and 7 states ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

“We all know texting while driving is dangerous, and I promise you we’re going to do something about it,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently said as he makes preparations for a national summit on texting while driving next month.

AAA recently did a study which found that 95% of drivers understand that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 21% admitted that they had recently texted or emailed while driving.

Hopefully this powerful new PSA will change some of that behavior. According to the Gwent Police Department, the PSA video has already gotten more than a million hits.

This is one video that I’ll be sending to everyone I know (and I recommend that you do the same). If you have a teen driver, don’t let your teen driver’s last words be a text message. Here’s the full video on you tube (note that you‘ll have to confirm your aging by signing into you tube):