Triad-- Beginning Wednesday, June 30, AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety will broadcast a graphic traffic safety video on cable television to educate motorists of the horrific consequences possible when texting while driving.
WFMY News 2 first told you about the video in August 2009 when it was launched in the United Kingdom and was the buzz on the internet. By December, AAA Carolinas said they hoped to broadcast the PSA in local markets, but had not set a time frame.
The video is being launched right before the July 4th holiday, which is one of the deadliest holiday weekends for traffic crashes, according to AAA.
"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. Those three distractions affect a driver mentally, physically and emotionally all three essential activities needed to focus on safe driving."
Click here to watch the video.
The video will air only during evening hours on Time Warner Cable stations in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington areas. The video, which has been playing in Columbia and Greenville, SC markets, will also begin airing in Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach this week.
"It's one thing to tell people not to text and drive," said Dave Parsons, a board member on the Foundation and president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "By eliciting an emotional response, we hope this video will change deadly distracted driving behavior."
North Carolina has witnessed numerous traffic fatalities this year that can be attributed to this dangerous behavior.
The timing of the video is geared to alert motorists to be especially careful during the busy 4th of July holiday weekend. Avoid using a cell phone while driving to help ensure a safe and successful Independence Day holiday, said Crosby.
Some television stations will air the video as a Public Service Announcement, while others will air it as a paid educational message to viewers. A few stations in North Carolina declined to air the PSA due to its graphic nature.
"Ironically, some television stations that air a fantasy horror movie about Halloween are reluctant to show a simulated, graphic video that depicts real life results from poor driving behavior," said Crosby.
The video tagline "You Drive, You Text, You Die" is part of a continuing AAA Carolinas' campaign to educate motorists on the dangers of distracted driving.
The Foundation has been active in educating the public about distracted driving, using billboards and gas station placards in North and South Carolina to warn drivers of the dangers of distracted driving, particularly talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone while driving.
"Using a cell phone (talking hands-free or hand-held) while driving is very dangerous, as many motorists know from personal experience or from watching drivers using cell phones in nearby cars," said Parsons.
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AAA Carolinas will disseminate the PSA free to any community organization, high school or non-profit group that wishes to use it to promote traffic safety.
WFMY News 2 showed the video to people to get their reaction Monday - is it too much or is it just what drivers need to see?
"My brother got in a wreck while he was texting while driving, so it's really something I think needs to be stopped," said 16 year-old John Sauls. "I guess it gets its point across, but it's really gruesome, though."
"That was really intense," said 16 year-old Auburn Hicks after watching the PSA. "Until something like this happens, until a friend dies or until you're in a horrible car accident, it just doesn't really click."
Hick's friend Kelli Letner said, "I think people are going to look at it and say that's a little over the top, like that's a little dramatic."
WFMY News 2/AAA