Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council announced new television and radio PSAs (public service advertisements) for their “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks” campaign, which reminds drivers that distracted driving is never acceptable. According to the most recent NHTSA data, at any given time during daylight hours, an estimated 481,000 drivers are using handheld devices such as smartphones.
“Reading or sending a text while driving isn’t worth risking your life and the lives of those around you,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “By helping drivers curb this habit, we will save nearly 10 lives from being lost to distracted driving each day.”
Ad Council research shows that more than nine in ten Americans believe sending (94%) and reading (91%) texts while driving is dangerous or very dangerous. However, while people know that the behavior is dangerous, many still text and drive regularly.
To address the disconnect between awareness and behavior, the new creative assets, created pro bono by Pereira O’Dell, humorously depict the daily life of one man who just can’t put his phone down. He stumbles through life with his eyes glued to his screen – making blunders along the way – until he gets behind the wheel and responsibly puts his phone aside. This winking creative approach acknowledges the powerful need many people feel to always keep an eye on their phone and concludes with a reminder to “text and whatever, just don’t text and drive.”
“We wanted to demonstrate levity alongside a very serious situation that whether or not you love to be on your phone, the road is no place for that,” said Jason Apaliski, Executive Creative Director at Pereira O’Dell.
The new creative work includes TV, radio and social media assets. Per the Ad Council’s model, the new PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide and run in donated media time and space. To date, the “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks” campaign has received approximately $225 million in donated media value.