VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s a shocking image: a little girl dying on the road after being hit by a distracted driver.
A made-in-Canada ad campaign is meant to leave you shaken while leaving a lasting reminder to put down your phone while behind the wheel.
Now airing in Quebec, one of the TV spots shows a texting driver who turns to the camera and says, “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I can’t stop myself from texting.”
It then cuts to a bleeding girl on the pavement who says, “I know my parents will be sad, but I can’t stop myself from dying.”
A local distracted driving education group suggests ads like this may be disturbing, but some people need to be shocked into changing dangerous habits behind the wheel.
“There is some value to that. Like any measure that’s taken, not everything works for everybody,” says Karen Bowman, founder of Victoria-based Drop It and Drive.
“Some people are going to be impacted by a statistic that particularly affects them; others need that ‘in your face’ reality of what you’re risking if you choose to engage in this behaviour.”
Drop It and Drive does seminars at schools and companies across Canada, mixing statistics, first-hand experiences from emergency personnel and sometimes even a little humour to convince people of the dangers of distracted driving.
But Bowman says it’s often the more graphic portions of the presentations that leave the biggest impressions.
“Usually they are ones produced outside the country [have the biggest impact] because Canada doesn’t really do a lot of the reality-based videos,” she tells NEWS 1130. “Overwhelmingly, the feedback we get is that people need to see it, they need to understand what they are risking.”
The Quebec ad campaign is the fifth from the province’s auto insurance board since 2011.
Quebec’s transport minister says 99 per cent of people in the province know they shouldn’t text while driving, but a “large proportion” of drivers can’t hold back.