Amanda Ripley

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Not Your Typical PSA

4th Sep 2009 posted in General

A British PSA illustrating the ramifications of texting while driving has been making waves not in Wales where it was produced, but in the US via YouTube and major news outlets.  This isn’t your average “this-is-your-brain-on-drugs” PSA.  Instead it’s a long (over four minutes) and graphic dramatization of what happens when a teenage girl decides to text message while driving.

We know that people respond much better to stories than they do to statistics. This particular story revolves around a group of happy-go-lucky teenage girls unaware that their actions are about to destroy many lives. Between the blood, disturbing images of screaming passengers, and a possibly dead baby, there’s enough to make anyone squeamish.  Since the PSA is too graphic for the US censors, you won’t be seeing anything like it on our TV screens (even YouTube insists viewers verify their age before viewing the video), but you have to wonder how effective it would be.

Personally the PSA doesn’t seem all that shocking. Perhaps I’m desensitized to violence on TV or maybe it’s no different than the totaled car parked in front of my high school before the prom —a good-in-theory, bad execution kind of thing.  Both the totaled car and this PSA seem too hypothetical and cheesy. According to a recent poll, however, I might be alone— the majority of Americans feel the PSA is both effective and necessary viewing for US audiences.

See it for yourself here (remember, it’s 18 and over only!).