Taking distracted driving seriously

(Samraweet Yohannes)

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of road accidents and deaths in North America. (Samraweet Yohannes)

It seems like there are so many ads about distracted driving.

All I need to do is turn on the TV and during a commercial break, I’m sure to see an ad about using phones while behind the wheel.

I believe they’re all necessary, because there are way too many road accidents in Toronto and nothing seems to be changing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 per cent of collisions that happen are caused by some form of driver inattention. CAA also states that distracted driving is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.

One commercial that will stick with me for the rest of my life shows a teenage boy texting his girlfriend behind the wheel. Suddenly he gets into a car accident, and with a quick jump cut, he’s in the hospital, sitting in a wheelchair with a tube in his throat.

A few months ago this commercial started playing at the cinema too.

Before seeing a 14-A rated movie I was confronted by this hard to watch, yet important, commercial.

At the time I was shocked about the content of the ad, considering the audience that was there. Yet, it was a 14-A rated movie, so I figured it was trying to target the appropriate audience.

But Cineplex must have decided this commercial wasn’t enough, and is now stepping it up with an interactive game designed to raise awareness about distracted driving.

Cineplex has had the popular Timeplay game for a long time now. Usually, the audience is shown movie trivia that reflects the film playing in that auditorium. But when I went to see a movie a few weeks ago, I was surprised to be playing a very different game.

It was a driving game where I was told to look at my phone because it was my steering wheel. Out of nowhere, I crashed and my screen turned black.

When I looked at the huge screen, it displayed a sentence that said I didn’t win because I was using my phone while driving.

It’s extreme, but with so many distracted driving accidents and deaths happening in Toronto, maybe this isn’t such a bad way to get the message out there.

Conventional ad campaigns or having police speak about the consequences of distracted driving, clearly haven’t worked.

Maybe this is one way to get people to finally take distracted driving seriously.

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