Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Public Service Announcements UK Style

by Annette Dashofy

Have you seen the public service announcement from the UK on the dangers of texting? I wanted to post it here, but YouTube has put a block on it for graphic content. It basically shows three young girls driving while texting and as a result, crashing head-on into another vehicle. In slow motion. Heads are whipped around and smash through windows. There are screams and terror. Then, as the cars settle in a mangled heap, another vehicle collides with them.

Graphic? I suppose so. And yet…

We don’t produce PSAs like that here in the US. It’s okay to produce a movie filled with explosions and chain saw massacres and blood and guts. But create a short film to show kids what really happens in a car crash? No. That’s too much.

This isn’t the only bloody PSA the UK has produced. When I took the Citizens’ Police Academy, they showed one illustrating what happens in a collision when one occupant of a vehicle decides not to buckle up. Also filmed in slow motion, that PSA showed the unrestrained passenger become a human projectile, being flung around inside the car, smashing into the properly seat belted passengers. At the end, the voiceover stated that had all occupants been belted, none would have died. As it were, only one (out of five, I believe) survived.

I always was a stickler for making sure my passengers wore their seatbelts. Now, the car doesn’t move until everyone has buckled up.

And the one on speeding? Let’s just say, I’ve slowed down considerably since viewing that PSA.

So why are we, here in the US, so prudish? Do we not want to expose our youth to such horror? Excuse me. Have you seen the movies they watch?

Besides, I question whether this texting PSA is really all that graphic. Is it difficult to watch? Yes. But I worked on an ambulance for five years. I saw first hand the results of vehicular accidents. I held a crushed skull oozing brain matter in my hands. I held pressure on a femoral artery of a nearly severed leg. Trust me. That PSA is tame. Real, living actors could not recreate the trauma a body sustains in that kind of collision.

I used to say all new teenaged drivers should spend a month riding along on an ambulance. Let them see what can happen. But maybe they simply need to watch a few of these PSAs from the UK.

What do you think?

6 comments:

Joyce said...

I agree. That PSA should be REQUIRED viewing in every high school in the country.

One of the guys I worked with did a Traffic Camp at the high school every year for students who got traffic citations that year. He makes a slide show of photos from real accidents and puts them to whatever music is popular at the time. It's the first time that some of these kids realize that they're not invincible.

It's reprehensible that kids can watch (and emulate!) sleazy shows like Gossip Girl, and watch movies containing graphic sex and violence, but they can't be shown reality. How do we expect them to know that there are consequences to certain behaviors?

Annette said...

Well said, Joyce.

FYI, if you haven't seen it, you can go to YouTube, sign in and confirm you're over 18 and they'll unblock it.

A lot of hurdles to view something that might save some lives.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I agree, Annette. When I went through driver's ed., we had to watch a film with actual police footage of violent accidents on it. No actors. The blood was real. I think the actual name on the documentary was "Blood On The Highway".

Shortly after I graduated high school they banned the film from the classroom, saying it traumatized the kids.

Traumatized the kids. REALLY. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think the kids need a little respect for what they're doing in a vehicle. It's schooltime and every day I have some very young girl riding right on the ass end of my car at 65 MPH, smiling and chatting on her cellphone. How do I know she's smiling? Because she's so damn close to me I can see the color of her frickin' eyes.

She has no malicious intent. She frickin' clueless. She has no idea that she's putting herself and everyone around her in danger.

Okay, I'll climb down from my soapbox here. The above was a Public Service Announcement.

Annette said...

Clueless is exactly the right word, Will. Teens have always had a sense of immortality. About once a year, a sixteen or seventeen year old wraps their car around a tree on one of our back roads because they're driving too fast. Now, add cell phones and texting to the mix... I'm not only scared for THEM, I'm scared for ME, sharing the road with them.

By the way, I remember "Blood on the Highway."

ravenredhead said...

I too remember "Blood On the Highway". I'd also like to say thanks to all the first responders that have to be exposed to the mangled, senseless and life-shattering events they are exposed to every day. These are forever engraved on their souls. Please make everyone you know - wear their seatbelt. You might just save a life!

queenofmean said...

I did see that PSA, too. It was graphic, but all too real. Even when someone they know is seriously injured or killed in a car accident, so many teenagers fail to recognize that it can happen to them. And teenagers aren't the only one. I have a friend who's a cop & he thinks it gives him free license to drive as fast as he wants on the highway (he won't get a ticket b/c the other cop will give him a break). I always say to him 'It doesn't matter what vehicle you're driving. If you wreck going 90 mph, it ain't gonna be pretty.'