Texting and Driving: Public Service Announcement in England Shows it Like it Is

If you were watching the Today Show this morning, you may have seen parts of this public service announcement from England showing a group of teen girls in a car as they get into a horrific crash due to inattentive driving (texting, in this case). It’s shocking, really, compared with similar PSAs in the U.S. It’s graphic and upsetting and not something young children should see.

However… It should be required viewing in all high schools, in my opinion. It should be required viewing for all adults, too, in fact. I see so many people — not just teens — driving while talking on a cell phone, texting, applying mascara. Do they not realize they are driving a couple of tons of fast-moving metal? A potentially lethal weapon?

As a parent I feel so strongly about this. I worry for my son, his friends — all of us — when I see what’s going on on the roads today.

Being sorry later isn’t good enough. We need to get kids’ attention now. Today.

Show your teens this video. Talk with them about inattentive driving. We parents need to step up to the plate here and not only set form guidelines but also teach by example.

Our kids’ lives are at stake.

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12 Responses to “Texting and Driving: Public Service Announcement in England Shows it Like it Is”

  1. Lynn says:

    Whoa, Kathy! That was INTENSE — and so realistic, too! I think I’m going to link to this on my teen blog.

  2. Kathy Sena says:

    Lynn, I’d appreciate any links back to this that you’d care to do on your blog. Thanks. Gotta get the word out about how incredibly DANGEROUS this practice is.
    I have no idea exactly how they made this look so realistic. But you know this PSA would never appear on U.S. TV in full. Too long and too graphic. But I think it’s getting more attention this way, anyway. Today Show, Twitter, blogs…
    A good thing to be talking about.

  3. Michele says:

    This was hard to watch, but great to make people aware of what can happen, this type of activity is so common today. As a teenager, I was in an accident of that caliber due to the teenage driver simply goofing around with the other teenagers in the car and not paying attention. Many people need to see this happen or know someone it has happened to, to take this advice seriously.

  4. joe b says:

    yes. teach by example.
    aka, when you’re txting/talking/applying mascara while driving …
    DON’T GET DISTRACTED. PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD. DON’T OVER-BREAK (because you don’t pay attention or don’t understand physics). DON’T ACT LIKE YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING YOU SHOULDN’T IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT THAT YOU CAN DO IT SAFELY (why else would you be doing it, if you ‘know it could risk your life’?)
    the problem is as a civilization, we use ignorance/absent-mindedness as an acceptable excuse for many things.
    It’s ironic that we are too selfish to implement worthwhile and scalable mass-transit that would give us more free time while commuting, yet as a whole, we are too stupid to TRY to focus.
    I practice txting while driving. People don’t because it’s viewed as taboo, so they try to hide it, or if they don’t become arrogant and complacent with their ‘bad habit’ (of not paying attention - key to this is that the texting ISN”T the problem .. it’s the focus), rationalizing that other people do it and there is no consequence, so why not me? (Until you have that wreck, right?)
    The key is practice, cognitive awareness that what your doing is NOT autonomous and requires attention, and the understanding that what’s happening on the road is more important than whatever it is your texting, whomever it is you’re talking to, or however your fucking makeup looks.
    The push should be on the technology front. Creating better ways interact with devices. The keyboard (and mouse) and antiquated, and while they serve their purpose well … we are limited by their functionality.

  5. Susan Newman says:

    Kathy, I’m forwarding this to my son who is long out of his teen years. I think anyone with a cell phone and/or who uses text messaging needs to be reminded of the dangers.
    Thanks for alerting us.

  6. Kathy Sena says:

    Michelle - I’m sorry to hear you were in a serious accident as a teen. You’re right. Just typical teen horsing around can contribute to inattention and an accident.

  7. Kathy Sena says:

    Joe, you’re right. We need more reliable mass transit. We need better technology. But until then, we need everyone to stop fiddling with stuff and pay attention. What could possibly be so important in your life that you have to text about it while driving?

  8. Kathy Sena says:

    Susan, I’ve heard from many people who are planning to send the link to their adult children. Great idea. Thx for the note!

  9. joe b says:

    Well, for me (and everyone else), getting from A-to-B is my reason for driving. To take it a step further, as fast as safely possible. (This is where statistics would diverge, I think, as a lot of people feel that driving over the speed limit, and not leaving a soccer field of space between cars is necessarily unsafe. I very much disagree, but that’s not the point here.)
    Anyway, it reminds me of when I first started driving. I was worried about being able to turn the blinker on without swerving out of my lane, getting the correct pressure on the brake peddle so that I didn’t jerk to a stop. Hell, the first time on the highway felt like the first time I rode a rollercoaster. Radio? out of the question.
    I’d grown up being in the car, operating the radio while someone drove etc, so why were any of these things an issue?
    Anxiety. Familiarity. Habits. In that order.
    Anxiety plays a huge role. I remember taking my driver’s test. Alone in the car I’d driven for over a year, almost daily, but now with a stranger in the passenger seat. Adrenaline pumping, when I go to put my foot on the brake, my leg is shaking I’m so nervous. He is none the wiser because I keep my cool, but that’s not the point. What if I hadn’t? We’ve all see the results of not keeping your cool: The minor reactions are those you see give up on that parallel parking spot because they’re so embarrassed, and the other end of the spectrum is Road Rage.
    Familiarity is what allows you to form good habits with respect to repetitive behaviors. How many clicks it takes to turn your heater/ac on, or the radio presets you don’t have to look at to push, or the locations of the gear positions on your clutch.
    The solution? Well mine is selfish, because I’ve made it my choice to be so OCD about being in control while driving that I keep myself from being distracted.
    In effect, I’d say raise speed limits, ticket more often for negligent driving - whatever the cause, ticket for driving too slow, ticket for idling the passing lane. Create an environment that REQUIRES more attention, not the other way around.
    For instance, most people will see ‘raise speed limits’ and shout that I’m crazy .. that what we need is LOWER speed limits. To that point: If you lower speed limits, creating longer and more dreary commute times … do you think multi-tasking will magically go down too? Think again, Sherlock.
    The problem is we want our cake and eat it too. We want convenience and we want it yesterday. We ‘need’ our freedom/individuality and driving is one such resource/outlet for that, but we hate commuting and we regulate it because we are afraid.
    So we create technology that we are disproportionately afraid of. We superimpose fear to get a desired outcome. In this case, we think the only way to safer roads is eliminating distraction, when we practice distraction on a daily basis.
    And so when we drive (alone) and become distracted, we rationalize that whatever we’re doing is more important, and we’re confident in a successful outcome because we’re trusting our gut instinct. Your adrenaline rushes, your heartbeat rises, you maybe even become hyper-aware, if you don’t lose your cool. Then as soon as that txt message is over and done with, we sigh a breathe of relief that you’re no longer under the gun, no longer distracted. The taboo is over and you can go back to being a model citizen. Ever notice how when other people are in the car, your ‘bad habits’ that you perform with 100% regularity, suddenly aren’t so simple and habitual? You get the same adrenaline rush (maybe more), same heartbeat .. but instead of focusing on what you’re doing, you’re focusing on your passengers focusing on you not focusing on the road because you’re performing some activity that society has labeled, disproportionately, ‘too unsafe and distracting to perform while driving’
    So my answer? Change the perception: change the outcome. Period.

  10. Kathy Sena says:

    Wow, Joe, thanks for spending so much time sharing your opinion on this. I agree with some of what you say and we’ll have to agree to disagree on some of it. But I appreciate you sharing it all here.

  11. Kathy Sena says:

    Michele, I’m sorry to hear about your accident. I hope a LOT of people will see this video and realize what can happen.

  12. joe b says:

    Wow is right. I didn’t realize it was so long!(This site has a tiny content size!) haha.
    Only took a couple of minutes though :)
    I will admit this: A lot of times I will throw in devil’s advocate-type logic because well, frankly, it’s legit.
    At the same time, I understand there are plenty of people who, for whatever reason, simply cannot multi-task while driving, have visual impairments, etc, which cause them to be less-proficient drivers than others.
    This brings me to another point: I wish it were harder to get a driver’s license. Or rather, that you have to be competent at more than just parallel parking, stop lights/signs, etc. It’d be great if everyone had to go to the driving course where they put you in a roll-proof car with an instructor that teaches you how to control your vehicle once you lose control.
    Isn’t EFFECTIVE PREVENTION *always* more effective than AFTER-EFFECT REGULATION in calculating a solution to a problem?
    That’s how you wind up with fat government, for example. (Unrelated, but just as an aside, ‘fat government’ should be re-keyed. Inefficient vertical silos are bad, but many efficient silos are not.)
    But, I can really only speak for driving in the US, so my experience may be a tad out of context. :)