More than four million people have now viewed a video on YouTube that shows the tragic consequences when texting-while-driving causes a crash. Despite that, some safety pros say the video ultimately won’t do much good.
The video, made by the police department of Gwent, Wales, is 30 minutes and shows the crash in graphic detail. Two passengers in the car of a young woman who is texting-while-driving are killed. The video also shows the aftermath for the surviving young woman and her family. (See our previous story.)
The film’s director, Peter Watkins-Hughes, told The New York Times, “Young people were telling us, ‘It needs to be more shocking, it needs to be more violent, it needs to be more truthful.’”
But some experts on safety and risk disagree. Kip Viscusi, who has studied risk for decades says one reason violent videos may not work is that people are already well aware that some activities are dangerous.
Ann McCartt, senior VP for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “Over time, people go back to their everyday behaviors.”
McCartt’s alternative? Strong laws. “What really gets people to change their behaviors is strong laws, strongly enforced,” she said.
Richard Tay, a road safety researcher at the University of Calgary said a violent video must also instruct people on how to change their behavior.
Others are calling for the cell phone industry to handle the problem through technology, such as prompts on phones reminding people not to text and drive, or a feature that allows automatic, “I’m driving now” responses in incoming calls.
This issue mirrors a question often asked by safety pros: Do bloody, graphic videos showing workplace injuries really encourage workers to follow safety rules?
What do you think? Do gory safety videos work? Will this video on texting have a positive effect? Let us know in the Comments Box below, and take our poll on Safety News Alert’s home page.