UK Campaign Drives Home the Cost of Reckless Driving

Warning: Graphic video

On the heels of TA’s report on the human toll of driving too fast, we bring you this highly disturbing ad from the UK Department for Transport’s THINK! campaign, showing the difference a few miles-per-hour can make when it comes to avoiding a collision. Ideally material like this (Australia has a similar PSA) would be part of a required curriculum for American drivers — not to mention police, prosecutors and lawmakers, who all too often seem just as unwilling to draw connections between the act of reckless driving and its consequences.

But we probably shouldn’t expect to see this brand of reality TV on US airwaves anytime soon. Instead we get crash test dummy cartoons and spots like this new Acura commercial — motorist-centric, sanitized and disconnected from the grim truth of auto-inflicted violence.

In the same vein, though cast in a more suburban context, is this equally disturbing Irish ad, offering a real-world antidote to ubiquitous car-maker "Just you and the open road" propaganda.

Video: anacarol80/YouTube

  • Ian Hlavacek

    Great, that just ruined my day. Twice.

  • Omri

    Wonder how much it would cost to air these British/Irish ads on local US stations.

  • Once it would have been unthinkable to use graphic ad to discourage smoking — and I speak as someone old enough to remember Marlboro Man ads on TV. I can still recite the TV slogans of a half-dozen cigarette brands (I’ll spare you). But today, the city health department runs anti-smoking ads so graphic that, after I’ve seen them once, I close my eyes to them in horror. And I think they’re great. The percentage of smokers in the city’s population has declined since the ads started airing a few years ago. Driver behavior is the next ad taboo, and I hope to live long enough to see it broken. It’ll take some luck, though. I am a member of a high-risk group — I’m a New York City pedestrian.

  • Wow!

    That Irish PSA was grotesquely disturbing.

    Exactly what’s needed!

  • JohnBike

    As part of the big three bail out agreement, they should have to pay for PSA like these in the same manner that the cigarette companies had done back in the 60’s or 70’s. Does anyone else remember the adds, “This is life, this cuts it short.”? Where they by the Add Council? They had an effect on me, I never smoked.

    I’m thinking 10 cents on the dollar, for every one dollar that an add costs, they would have to give 10 cents towards driver safety PSA. For too long now, the auto industry has gotten away from being responsible. Doesn’t the alcohol industry pays for the designated driver PSA?

  • John, that’s a great idea.

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    The ‘take longer to look for [motor] bikes’ PSA was also powerful. “Loud pipes save lives?” How ’bout careful driving saves lives.

  • Erin Sturgis-Pascale

    New Zealand has a similar ad called Spin the Wheel. It’s creepy and powerful.


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