Volkswagen Delivers Powerful Message about Distracted Driving

by Brett-ly on June 24, 2014

legal guide claiming for an accidentVolkswagen’s “Eyes on the Road” spot plays out inside a Hong Kong movie theater. Theatergoers file in and begin watching what first appears to be a commercial or preview from a driver’s perspective heading down a two-lane, tree-lined road. These are “unsuspecting” theatergoers, munching on popcorn, sipping drinks, watching the driver head down the road, while a location-based broadcaster on a laptop somewhere in the back of the theater prepares to send a mass text message to everyone’s smartphones.

And then: A finger clicks a button on the laptop, the text message is sent, and everyone in the theater reaches into their pockets to grab their phones. Now they are peering down at their tiny screens. At the same time, there’s a loud crash on the big screen above, and the theatergoers look up in surprise to see that the driver has wrecked. The windshield is smashed and smoke pours from the hood.

The screen fades out to this:

“Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel.”

The message is delivered in what appears to be the familiar understated font Volkswagen uses in its advertising. “A reminder to keep your eyes on the road.”

Das Auto, indeed.

Shelby Wax for Los Angeles Magazine explains why duck faces don’t belong behind the wheel (“#DrivingSelfies: Instagram’s Most Dangerous Hashtag”). It’s obvious why. As the theatergoers in Volkswagen’s “Eyes on the Road” spot learned—even if it was just an advertising stunt, albeit a creative one—it doesn’t take long for bad things to happen when you’re distracted.

Wax writes: “AAA reported that a driver filming a six second video while driving 60 mph is not paying attention to traffic for the distance of over five-and-a-half basketball court lengths, nearly two soccer fields, or one-and-a-half football fields. That’s a lot of highway.”

In Arizona, where I live and work, it’s illegal for school bus drivers to use cell phones, but that’s it. Unlike many other states that have blanket bans on texting and smartphone use for all drivers, Arizona really lags behind. This is not acceptable. As a Phoenix lawyer who represents people injured in car accidents, I have seen first-hand the impact on a life forever changed because another driver couldn’t resist the urge to text rather than keep his or her eyes on the road.

If you ask me, Volkswagen’s spot is just the kind of advertising we need to see, and if it helps Volkswagen sell more cars, more power to them.

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