Watched AT&T’s 10 minute documentary on texting while driving today; it’s called “It Can Wait”.
Powerful stuff. I lost my best friend to a drunk driver so the act of doing moronic things behind the wheel really hits close to home. Yet, I’m ashamed to say I’ve typed away at my phone multiple times while cruising the freeway. It didn’t feel wrong, I felt in control and felt that I was safe as long as I didn’t take my eyes off the road for too long. Because I’m that good of a driver.
This short movie though really affected me because it showed that texting while driving not only threatened the life of the person doing it (I was OK taking responsibility for my own life), but also endangered the lives of others. One guy hit a cyclist and will never forgive himself for that senseless death he caused.
The movie also shows that the worst thing that could happen to someone texting at the wheel isn’t necessarily dying. A guy survived but his head was so damaged, he lost the ability to perform routine tasks and will be forever dependent on others to do basic things for him.
Finally, the clip shows the last words in the text messages that were sent before the fatal accidents. “Yeah”. “Where u at?” “LOL”. None of them were substantial. None of them were urgent. All of them could have waited.
Other PSAs were done on the same topic. They all used scare techniques to tell people not to text so they don’t die. Here’s a British example; a very shocking, very graphic video.
Did it scare me? Yes. Did it stop me from texting at the wheel? Not really. The ad did not give me a simple reason not to engage in the dangerous behavior. I either got away with it or didn’t. What makes AT&T’s piece so much more compelling and effective is the slogan. Fear and gory images end a conversation while “It can wait” becomes part of it. Fear is avoidance. “It can wait” is personal responsibility. It’s a response one can use to quiet an urge. It’s a sentence we can tell a friend. It’s an invitation to put things in perspective and decide to be safe. It’s empowering.
We need more of that.