Could a gory video make you a better driver?

A British public-service video offers a graphic depiction of a car accident involving teen-agers who text while driving. The video has spread quickly around the Web, but it’s unclear whether the gruesome images will actually change anyone’s behavior. Could a gory video make you a better driver?

  • Alison

    I doubt a gory video would stop many people from texting while driving. There are still plenty of people who drive drunk despite gory videos.

  • Peter Azzi

    Fear, while a powerful, if not overwheming emotion (health care debate), cannot always overcome human’s ablity to push scare tactics off on to others. For example, interviews with soldiers of past wars gerneally relate a theme of ‘”oh, it’ll be the other guy that gets “it,”‘ and that’s in war. Our roads are hardly a war zone (excpetion for road ragers with guns).

  • Helen Rudie

    Anything that makes me pause to think about the way I drive is likely to make me a better driver. For one thing, I recall the AARP classes that help keep seniors safely on the road.

  • Heidi

    The difference with this video is that it is more than just graphic — it shows the emotional consequences of causing an accident because of texting/not paying attention. I have never seen a video incorporate that into its message as effectively. People never see the horror of being in the car or being the person that comes upon the accident. Its always left out for our sensitive American palettes which is why this video is so powerful and controversial — its uncomfortable to watch and that is the point. Car accidents are a big deal. Not paying attention while your driving is a big deal — it should make you uncomfortable because it will change lives forever.

  • Steve

    I haven’t seen any research one way or another, but am reluctant to accept that a gory video would deter bad driving any more effectively than photos of black cancerous lungs deter smoking.

  • kennedy

    I expect this video will be largely ignored or quickly forgotten. However, it will reach some and avert some dangerous behavior. How many lives need to be saved before this is worthwhile? I support the effort.

  • Bill Rodriguez

    I believe if you want to eliminate this problem, you implement my idea to create a “cell phone signal” killer in all cars. The only signal that would be allowed is a 911. Until the car manufacturers do this, you make all cell phones unusable through signal interrupters that pick up the electric interference in cars and prevent all calls but 911 from being made.

    This is an unfortunate result of stupidity in action.

  • Colleen

    A texting driver landed me at HCMC two years ago. I’m fortunate to be alive. I don’t know how effective this PSA would be to deter people from texting and driving, but I know that when I’ve told others about my personal experience, they changed their behavior.

  • Janet

    It already has. In 1971, in driver’s education class, I saw a movie about highway hypnosis. A semi-truck drove into a car because the truck driver had been driving too long. After more than 30 years, I still remember the graphic images and use the techniques from the movie to avoid highway hypnosis.

  • Steve the Cynic

    People seem to have an infinite capacity to ignore inconvenient truths and act stupidly, no matter now the evidence is presented.

  • Laura

    I think that the graphic – and in my opinion appropriate – ad is only part of the picture. I think if we combine that video with a program like the one my nephew signed up for at Brainerd Intnat’l Raceway in which newly licensed drivers must navigate a course while texting, etc. will make these possible consequences more real. It’s normal for teens (and the rest of us, for that matter) to believe that other drivers are stupid or unskilled while we are exceptional or special and therefor we are able to text (or use our ipod, or drink, or ….) safely while driving. With hands on the cell phone and maneuvering through the course, my nephew learned that he did NOT posess special abilities. The ad on top of this personal experience would drive home what can happen after you lose control, making the combo more effective than either tool alone.

  • Cassie

    I think that this video clearly shows why texting and driving is dangerous; however, I think there are still too many people who think it would never happen to them or that they are the “safe” driver. If someone could come up with a video that would convince even the invincible drivers to wear their seat belts and leave their cell phone out of driving, I’d be thrilled.

  • Nanc

    I think it would make a big impact when viewed by highschool age drivers. You don’t even think about something that horrible happening, but if you have SEEN it…’re less likely to be so , so, NON-THNKING while driving.

  • Larry

    It may reach some people, however, unfortunately many teens would not feel it would apply to therm. (There’s a reason they used to draft 19 year old males.)

  • kates

    the WHO says gory images on cigarette packs help deter people from smoking, so might work here…

  • Karen Filloon

    A gory video would probably make me a better driver – for a short period of time. It’s like the period after someone close to you has passed away… say to yourself life is short and you vow to make each day count. Few people actually make that change for the rest of his/her life. Unfortunately, we eventually go back to living life like we had in the past.

  • Tim

    What text message is so important that it takes your attention away from steering a ton of speeding steel and glass?

    The Brits produced an effective PSA. I have screened it in my ethics classes.

  • Cory

    It would make me a better driver for a little while. Everytime I get a speeding ticket I drive safer for about a week. Then I get back into the motions and start speeding again. I think it would be the same with a gory video.

  • Ben B

    Short answer, No…Just like you cant make a smoker see what they are doing by showing statistics or using morbid PSA’s. What really works is to experience it, The British vid only gets kinda close. I think you take a blood soaked,wrecked car (a real one) that someone has died in and let people see, feel and smell what can happen. Trust me, this would leave a lasting impression.

  • Bruce

    I just don’t get it MPR.

    Why you would take such a spin against this video (and today’s New York Times as well). Why you would tag it as if it were pornography…

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate gratuitous violence. I walk out of Schwarzenegger films. Turn off boob tube violence. And have an awareness for manipulation in Hollywood with violence where others do not.

    But here I have to agree with our friends from across the Pond. This is an excellent video. On so many levels. Extraordinary really. I won’t go into it. If you can’t see it then you’re blind. Some one put extraordinary care into this video; it’s no wonder it went viral.

    It needs to be duplicated for other races, age groups and environments (urban for example) so that teens (and adults) everywhere can easily relate to its message.

    Instead of the humiliation of a good-looking man slightly older than the girls coming out to help, perhaps an older man, who might be a 30-year-old’s father could run out to find a baby who could be his granddaughter sideswiped in the passenger seat…. These sort of things would be effective. The guy could be sobbing as he’s pinned, unable to help his daughter who’s the one seriously injured.

    I challenge anyone calling me on the phone from their car. And from now on I will not take these calls period (they often are quite obviously distracted by driving). It’s impolite anyway to give such little attention to the party you’re calling. The knowing receiver of such a call is co-responsible for this behavior.

  • LOKE

    Drivers’ Education in Iowa used lots of gruesome videos during its summer session of training when I was a teenager. The images stay with me to this day. I have always been a defensive, cautious driver, ever aware of the potential for accidents, and I appreciated the clear, horrifying messages of those tapes.

  • Gerald L. Myking

    Most all of us who respond to this question are adults. The target audience is teenagers that have a higher level of morbid curiousity, that is why the ad is popular on the web. It may strike a nerve in some which may be worth showing it. When I was young the most effective teaching tool was comedy mixed with shocking reality.