In today's media-saturated world, attention is a precious resource. As far as safety is concerned, scarcity of attention plays out in at least two important ways. First, distracted driving is becoming an increasingly dangerous and deadly problem on roads here in Michigan and across the United States.
Second, it has been difficult for safety advocates to spread the message that distracted driving is dangerous because public service announcements are often no match for the endless stream of entertaining shows and videos available to the average teenager. This problem has inspired some safety advocates to come up with truly attention-grabbing PSAs. One particularly visceral video has been making the rounds on YouTube.
The video, which can be seen here, was apparently sponsored by Volkswagen. It begins with teens and young adults filing into a movie theater in Hong Kong. When everyone is seated and the screen lights up, the audience finds itself watching a point-of-view video of someone driving a car. In other words, the audience looks out the windshield and sees what the driver sees.
As the audience watches, a location-based broadcasting device sends what appears to be a text message to every cellphone in the theater at the same time. Most members of the audience instinctively take out their phones to check the message and as they do so, the on-screen car crashes with the sound of squealing brakes and shattering glass.
After a few seconds of silence, a message appears: "Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel. A reminder to keep your eyes on the road."
The experience was probably very memorable for those in the theater. But just as importantly, the YouTube video has already been viewed more than 22.4 million times. An important message - powerfully delivered and conveniently packaged - can break through the daily din and truly influence behavior for the better.
Please feel free to share the video with someone important to you.
Source: Los Angeles Magazine, "#drivingselfies instagrams most dangerous hashtag," Shelby Wax, June 16, 2014